Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Tis the Season

In Sarasota, that means a lot of things. It’s when our population more than doubles for the winter, when our roads get congested, our coffers fill, and cultural venues go into high gear. And for the past four years, the entire town gets treated to a first class sculpture exhibition. Substantial pieces adorn the side of highway 41 where it adjoins our Bayfront Park, perhaps one of the most beautiful spots on the West coast of Florida. So if you happen to be in town, don’t miss it. You can always head to O’Learys and indulge in some libations while you take in the scenery.

About a third of this year’s “Season of Sculpture” exhibit consists of new works from returning artists. They are artists whose work I enjoyed last year, but which seem reminiscent this year: The white box has mirrored silver slivers instead of red pieces dangling, the Venetian-like figures are in different groupings and poses. And as is usual with me, if I need to read an explanation to understand the piece, it is lost on me. The most interesting work had to be “La Devine Proportion” by Jean-Francois Buisson, which resembled a cross between a futurist and a post apocalyptic version of Leornardo’s study of the human body, only the warmth of sepia has been replaced by harsh black metal, draped in an intricate fretwork, which looks like puzzle pieces, tattered lace, and mechanistic moss at the same time. The elegance of the figures themselves is interrupted by the occasional bolt, or old piece of metal, an interruption in the organic flow of the human form.

I’ve included a picture of local sculptor Jack Dowd’s installation, “Happy Birthday, Andy” because of its sheer fun. Here Dowd subjects Warhol’s figure to the same treatment the late artist applied to others. I didn’t like or appreciate every piece, but I am grateful I had the opportunity to see an exhibit of such quality. It is there, open and free to the public. Oh, and did I mention the giant tooth or the dancing cars?

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