Artists at Work in “A Different Frame of Mind”

Janett Pulido at work in the USFCAM gallery studio

Janett Pulido at work in the USFCAM gallery studio

Hello this is Keesha Jimenez reporting back on the progress of A Different Frame of Mind. From June 16 to June 24, 2014, I have the privilege of working with Mike Covello, Ariel Baron-Robbins, Derek Curry and Jennifer Gradecki, David Gabbard, Janett Pulido, and Sam Robinson documenting their progress and asking questions about their process. It is not every day that one is able to enter an artist’s studio and interact with the artist as they create art. I enjoy capturing their progress through the camera lens because it mirrors the dedication that the artists contribute to their final products. Each day they work in USFCAM, I observe them as they contemplate the steps needed to complete the creative process. I ask questions when I feel it is appropriate and won’t unintentionally interrupt the creative flow. I am learning so much from them during this experience.

This exhibition is so unique that it almost surreal, the makeshift studio space is open to the public; anyone can come and watch with me as the artist’s create new works. As viewers enter the studio space, they stand in the middle of the gallery overwhelmed by the amount of work the artists are producing before their eyes. Some are almost afraid to enter until the artists welcome them into their space and talk them about their progress. Mike, Ariel, and Janett mentioned that they were normally used to the solitude of their own studios this show breaks that limitation for the public and the artists. A Different Frame of Mind does not only refer to the break of tradition from the frame, but includes the break between the viewer and an artist’s studio, thought, and process.

Mike Covello in the USFCAM gallery studio

Mike Covello in the USFCAM gallery studio

Weeks before the artists began working on their artwork, USFCAM set up a camera high onto the wall in the West Gallery to capture a time-lapse video of the entire process from the frame selection to the completion of their works. In addiction to the time lapse I captured stills of the artists at work. I followed them around as they began their day and ended shooting approximately five in the afternoon. The way the artists create their work is evidently different when you look at it, but they focus primarily on major decisions that would make or break their work.

Janett mixes colors to large proportions and spreads the color of choice gently to thin the paint carefully and mix the color further. Once the consistency begins to harden, she lets it sit for three to four days (depending on the size) to cure. After it cures, she pulls the paint from the edges, lifting it from the surface that it laid on. The paint looks and feels like rubber, so it is rather flexible to shape into any form Janett desired. She experiments with the placement of the paint onto the frames before making her final decision and gluing it into position with a liquid adhesive. On the wall sits a frame that comes forward with green and yellow enamel paint. The way I would perceive this piece is the window to our personal heavens. The frame sticks out at the top right edge, which suggests the position of the heavenly realm while the colors bring us to the earthly realm. It is the spontaneous impulse that helps Janett complete a work in which begins with the color process. All the artists have to come prepared with a “plan” for the given space as a starting point but there are always changes that can enhance their work.

A great example of this change is Mike’s installation. From the beginning of the process, I watched his artwork transform beautifully. I asked him in the beginning if he knew what he wanted to do for this project and he responded, “Let’s see how this comes out.” Honestly, his spontaneity is a strong aspect to his work, Mike lets his hands do the talking, which is similar to the way I like to work. Working through the creative process he steps back to contemplate if the space had met the requirements well enough to have some consistency based on his choice of composition and color. The application of painter’s tape gives clean-cut lines and a base of his composition with overlapping and placement of his paintings, which he composes on the walls, ground, and pedestal.

Ariel Baron-Robbins in the USFCAM gallery studio

Ariel Baron-Robbins in the USFCAM gallery studio

Ariel has a different connection to her artwork than the other artists I have touched on so far. Using the frames USFCAM supplied to her for the exhibition, she encased her body within the frames at three different locations in the Tampa Bay area. Although I was not able to be present at the locations, when Ariel returned I was able to view a few of the thousands of images she captured. In her studio space, she preferred solitude as she framed herself with her back towards us, but she was quite approachable when people entered her space as they questioned Ariel about her body of work. From the thousands that she shot, she narrowed her best shots to ten. She would print test prints and write little notes next to any issues with the image, and then make the necessary adjustments. From a distance I observed Ariel trying to further narrow her selection a seemingly difficult task at times. All the images she taped to the wall conveyed a different mood. From the four that she finally selected, she saw the change of emotion seeping from the print: excitement and happiness to exhausted and bruised. These emotions made the prints even stronger, which helped Ariel to select the two best prints for the exhibition. Ariel is excited about the show and the response that viewers will have when they see her forty-eight by sixty-four by inch prints. To compliment the two prints Ariel captured a video at the beach, which conveys the calmness of the waves and still reflection of the sun hitting the horizon.

Finally, the complexity of Derek and Jennifer’s work is beyond words. They built an app to record information of an artist’s financialization and the investments patrons have to the art’s value. They are stationed in Buffalo, New York; therefore, neither Vincent Kral nor I had the luxury to view their progress except through photos. However, the shots they provided us did not disappoint our expectations. The app includes a candlestick chart of the information they provided for their work. They also built a structure with the frames to house the tablet and the app.

This week was a productive week for the artists in their temporary studio spaces at USFCAM. It was a huge success in getting people into the studio space to relate with artists as they carried on with their work. I am proud to be part of this operation, documenting the whole process from June 16, 2014 to June 23, 2014 and giving the artists my perspective of their work. It was such a wonderful experience to be appreciated by artists who have been working so hard to make art a profession. I hope that USFCAM does another interactive exhibition so patrons of the arts can observe contemporary art on site, and then return the following week to view the completed works.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Artists’ Interpretations of “A Different Frame of Mind”

My name is Keesha Jimenez. I am an undergraduate student seeking a B.A. in Studio Art at the University of South Florida. For my summer internship at the USF Contemporary Art Museum (USFCAM), I am working with Vincent Kral, the Curator of the June 2014 exhibition called A Different Frame of Mind. For this exhibition, seven artists were selected to use recycled frames to create new artworks that will explore ideas and issues of the frame in the context of contemporary art. I will document the process of this unique exhibition by interviewing the artists, taking pictures, and sharing my insights and observations.

A Different Frame of Mind

As an artist myself, I am interested in the concept behind the title for the exhibition because at USF the art studio professors challenge tradition and force their students to think beyond the box. I also appreciate working alongside Mike Covello, Derek Curry and Jennifer Gradecki, David Gabbard, Ariel Baron-Robbins, Janett Pulido, and Sam Robinson to learn from their perspectives and work methods. They are all interesting artists with individual styles challenging tradition through installations, digital print and other mediums. I interviewed these artists individually and I am proud of being part of this exhibition.

For each artist, the phrase: “A Different Frame of Mind” has a personal connection to how each works today. Mike Covello comments that the phrase is “referencing divergence and not fitting in.” But he says it also references “pluralism, which asserts that those aforementioned notions are not necessarily negatives.” Covello has been working on installations since he was an undergraduate at Cornell University. His interest with installations peaked in 2007 when he thought about how his context would surround the environment; however, he evolved in 2012 to work within the exhibition space. I cannot wait to see how he is going to continue this process within the West Gallery of USFCAM alongside the other artists. With limited space, the exhibition presents a challenge for all of them in terms of the size of their final work.

When I asked Derek Curry and Jennifer Gradecki about their perception of the phrase, they explained, “‘a different frame of mind’ evokes the idealist posit that your mind frames the world you see.” They believe, “if you can change the way a person frames the world in their mind, you can change the reality they experience.” Curry and Gradecki’s focus on the finances of the art world in their previous works began with the stock market crash in 2008. As they investigated further with their projects, artists and curators have heavily criticized them because they broke tradition by revealing the finances from the patrons to the artists. This brings an interesting point of view of art: ‘financialization.’ It may be a new term as described by Curry and Gradecki; however, it is the fundamental process of investment for commissions and furthering our practice as artists. We see financialization in art history through the eyes of Vincent van Gogh, who sold but one painting to his brother. After his death, his artwork becomes accessible and very valuable. Henri Matisse or Edgar Degas, for example, show the success as artists after the French Revolution of 1787-1789. While Matisse focused on the bourgeoisie painting genre scenes familiar to them, Degas found beauty in ballet dancers. Their patrons were prominently the rich; however, they gained income to continue. Therefore, the finances of artists are important to focus on, and I applaud Curry and Gradecki to shedding light to this concept although some may disagree.

As I asked the others, David Gabbard agreed with Curry and Gradecki. He believed with “a different frame of mind,” “you are stepping out of the norm and into something different.” Without being an individual, we cannot continue the path to greatness. When Gabbard attended USF as an undergraduate, he wanted to challenge the meaning of a frame. He pointed out as he questioned the frame, “Take a drawing that you made when you were a child. Your parents are so proud of that drawing that they choose to frame it. In the child’s point of view, they feel appreciated and praised for the drawing. The parent reinforces the praise by framing and hanging the drawing. If the child produces more drawings then it becomes a weird dynamic, where does the parent frame every drawing? How does one drawing become more important than the other? This is just one example of how the frame can symbolize importance.” This raises an important question about the frame itself. Why is the frame important in a sense that we have to enclose ourselves to one perception? With this exhibition, the artists are able to represent a greater sense of self and understanding outside of tradition. This opens the doors to interpretation, too. As many artists before him, Gabbard recollects childhood memories through his artwork and places them in front of the viewer. To the artist, it is a moment of relief to reveal something private and cause viewers to relate to situations with minimal words. It is almost therapeutic, releasing tension from the past and sticking that emotion elsewhere, so we can move forward. Without that release, as artists, we would be driven insane.

I asked Ariel Baron-Robbins the same question about “a different frame of mind,” and she responded that the phrase “brings me back to the body/mind problem, the difference between how you think and feel inside of your body and how you are perceived outside of your body by others.” She focused on this idea through performances as a USF graduate student in 2009. Robert Morris and Ana Mendieta heavily inspired Baron-Robbins because of their relationship of the figure and environment. She says, “Mendieta inspires me in the way that she free-form plays with her environments, creating temporary sculpture or pieces, very impromptu looking, especially in the Silueta series, and then documents these actions with her camera. Morris inspires me with his entire body of work and its differences. He also scales things to be human-sized, which is something I try to do as well.” Baron-Robbins interacts with nature as her source of inspiration, which in her previous work included architecture, whereas in her current work involves bodies of water.

When posed the same question, Sam Robinson thought to have “a different frame of mind,” we have to understand that the “frame plays a role in the construct of formal art-viewing that seems to have historically become less and less important. To frame something is to draw a hard line around what is to be looked at, but does little to cage contemporary artists’ tendencies toward materiality, dimension and sensory play.” I have made this point earlier, and I agree with her. In her artwork, Robinson controls the viewer’s response with scent. “The fascination started with a TEDTalk titled The Science of Scent,” she explained, “in which biophysicist Luca Turin presented his theory that humans detect extraordinarily minute differences in molecular vibration, rather than molecular structure, when differentiating scents. In the talk, Turin revealed some perfumist/chemist manuscripts and some hints as to his contracts in the commercial world. In the same way that color is used thoughtfully to encourage appetite in the grocery store or morale in a sea of cubicles, scent is used to incite memories in relation with a product, and to reward the sniffer at the time of purchase. The fragrance industry fits into the corporate model of consumer conditioning on a molecular level,” she says. The concept drove her to experiment with particular scents: for example, rotten flesh and sweet-scented perfumes. Therefore, these scents allow the audience to respond accordingly and that pleases her as a result. To her, these experiments within her artwork involve the audience to practice a mind-over-matter exercise in self-reflection. This concept is a step forward into contemporary art, removing the frame from its traditional meaning and pushing it to an interactive art form.

In Janett Pulido’s perspective, “a different frame of mind” meant, “having a different perspective of a particular idea or concept prior to one’s initial thought to that particular idea or concept.” Artists from history have focused their artwork on representing a window that extends their eye. Given the circumstances of historical events, for example, Francisco de Goya’s Third of May 1808, represents the window of war and surrender in the Streets of Spain. As he witnessed this scene of horror, he depicts emotion through that window frame so the viewers can interpret fear through their eyes. As we move forward as contemporary artists, we move further away from that window and control the response to our works. As artists, we have to surpass our masters and assess all the possibilities to approach beyond the limits of those boundaries many artists established before us. Pulido uses her personal experiences to distinguish herself as a Mexican American raised in a Roman Catholic household. She says, “My Mesoamerican culture brought about types of rituals that seemed to contradict the Roman Catholic dogmas I have been taught in the past. It is for this reason that I always feel I am in constant limbo.” Although it was difficult for her, she learned to accept these contradictions and incorporate them into her works. She also establishes the Schrodinger’s Cat theory because it correlates with the impact of possibilities that can happen in limbo. Pulido explained in the Schrodinger’s Cat theory, “the scientist does not know if the cat is alive or dead until the box is open. This puts the cat in between both realms hence, being in limbo.” Therefore, she responds to the Schrodinger’s Cat theory through her sculptural paintings and allows the viewers to be in the position of the scientist.

You have heard from all the artists on their interpretation of what “A Different Frame Of Mind” meant to them and how they bring forth that perception into their work. I look forward to sharing further insights into their creative processes and the development of their works. The final exhibition will be installed and open to the public on June 27, 2014.

Posted in Student View, USFCAM Exhibitions, USFCAM News | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

83Degrees Explores the USFCAM Art in Health Program

The USF Art in Health program, a collaborative project that unites the USFCAM museum USF Health, was featured in a recent article in 83Degrees. The program, modeled after similar initiatives at Harvard University and University of Miami, was founded in 2012 and since hosted 86 students from disciplines including medicine, public health, pharmacy, physical therapy, social work and speech-language pathology.

Collage, drawing and visual observation exercises

Art in Health seeks to encourage health students, ranging from doctors to nurses and therapists, to improve their observational skills. USF College of Public Health faculty member Aurora Sanchez Anguiano, Ph.D., says that “observation is the key in all of the health sciences” and that the program encourages students to stop and think before coming to conclusions, a vital skill for future health practitioners.

Megan Voeller, Associate Curator of Education at USF CAM and program director of Art in Health, uses the Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) discussion method with the students to “improve critical thinking, listening, communication and visual observation.”

“It’s also about mindfulness and the ability to reflect and focus,” says Voeller. In addition to a museum-based workshop using VTS, the program includes workshops in studio art and movement.

Feedback suggests that the program strikes a chord with students. Julia Zhang, a current medical student and Art in Health workshop attendee, said that her participation in the program allowed her to “look at things from a different perspective.”

You can read the full story here: USF Leverages Arts, Sciences To Provide Better Healthcare

More About USF Art in Health

Body awareness, movement observation and practice

In partnership with USF Health, the USF Contemporary Art Museum offers a series of workshops designed to improve the observation skills of USF graduate and professional students in health disciplines. Join other USF students for intensive, inter-professional arts-based training in observation, critical thinking and communication. Research shows that training health practitioners in art skills improves visual awareness. Each workshop includes a series of arts activities and a concluding discussion led by a USF Health faculty member. Visiting faculty members for Spring 2014 include Dr. Frazier Stevenson, Morsani College of Medicine (Studio Art workshop) and Dr. Aurora Sanchez-Anguiano, College of Public Health (Museum workshop).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pedro Reyes Legislative Theatre Performance Amendment to the Amendment: (Under)stand Your Ground Sought Common Ground

Attendees of the Pedro Reyes Amendment to the Amendment: (Under)stand Your Ground made revisions to the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution

Attendees of the Pedro Reyes Amendment to the Amendment: (Under)stand Your Ground made revisions to the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution

Thank You!!
Thanks to everyone who was involved in USFCAM’s project with Pedro Reyes on January 23, 2014!

The performance was truly a collaborative effort that included USF College of the Arts faculty and students. The USF percussion ensemble and jazz combos played Reyes’ unique instruments, crafted from firearms confiscated and disabled by the Mexican Army, which are on view at USFCAM in the exhibition CAM@25: Social Engagement through March 8. Everyone who attended the sold-out event was invited to participate in the performance, which was created by Reyes in partnership with USF Theatre professor Dora Arreola, and USF and Community Stepping Stones students, to encourage dialogue and address issues related to the Second Amendment.

As the audience entered the black box theatre, USF and Community Stepping Stones students directed the 100-plus audience members to sit in seats arranged in circles of eight on what is usually considered the stage, inverting the traditional audience/performer paradigm. Inspired by Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, this structure transformed the audience from spectators into “spect-actors” and collaborators in the performance. USF and Community Stepping Stones students performed a sketch, developed in a series of workshops with Reyes and Arreola, inviting the audience to engage in a democratic exercise to amend and update the Second Amendment in an effort to reduce gun violence.

For reference:

The Second Amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The participants included a broad spectrum of community members, USF faculty and students. The discussions were lively and energetic, with participants sharing their beliefs and experiences with guns in respectful and productive ways, and while opinions were varied, there was still much common ground to work from in each of the participating groups.

After 30 minutes of discussion, the students facilitators invited one representative from each group to present their proposed revisions of the Second Amendment. Most groups felt the concept of the well-regulated militia was out-dated and needed to be revised or removed entirely. Many groups presented specific proposals including education, minimum age requirements and background checks, as well as raising issues about the power of the NRA and mental health issues in their revisions. One group decided the amendment should not be changed, but the majority included some form of regulation of firearms in their revised amendments.

Example Revised Amendment:

“A well regulated military being necessary for the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be prohibited but shall be regulated to protect the security of the people from the will of the individual.”

The event took place just one week after a fatal shooting in a Tampa Bay area movie theatre resulted from an argument between two patrons over texting (story, story) and within months of a failed effort to revise and repeal Stand Your Ground laws in the Florida Legislature (story). Providing a safe space to engage in challenging dialogue about critical social issues, Amendment to the Amendment: (Under)stand Your Ground succeeded in starting a conversation we hope continues.

Video to Come
Stay tuned for video of the revised amendments which will be posted here and on our IRAUSF youtube channel in the future.


To learn more about Pedro’s work , check out the media coverage:
Media: Amendment to the Amendment: (Under)stand Your Ground
NPR Story: “Artist Transforms Guns To Make Music — Literally
WUSF Radio University Beat: Gun Music
FOX News pre-performance report
Tampa Bay Times: Artist Turns Guns Into Music with a Message


Posted in USFCAM Events, USFCAM News | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

CAM@25: Social Engagement in the News

Janaina Tschape, still from Blood, Sea, 2004, four-channel video installation. The work was shot at Weeki Wachee Springs.

Janaina Tschape, still from Blood, Sea, 2004, four-channel video installation. The work was shot at Weeki Wachee Springs.

CAM is getting a lot of ink for our current exhibition CAM@25: Social Engagement. This exhibition features some of our most talked about work from our past 25 years. Even the New York Times has mentioned the show in their “Gun Report” segment, which sadly includes the victims of gun violence each day. Here is a list of stories we’ve found covering the show with an outtake from each article:

CAM@25: A Social Function | Creative Loafing | January 15, 2014

“The University of South Florida’s Contemporary Art Museum is an arts institution in touch with the sights and sounds of today’s society, presenting works that turn perceived realities on their ear via meticulously appointed shows and prestigious showcases of international artists…Run by the USF Institute of Research in Art, the free (yes, free) museum is open six days a week, Monday-Saturday. It is (or should be) a point of regional pride, an antidote to all the facepalm-inducing crime stories, political snafus and trashy foibles more commonly associated with Tampa Bay.”

University Beat: Gun Music | WUSF Radio | January 22, 2014

“…You’ve heard the phrase “turning swords into plowshares.” Artist Pedro Reyes embraces that concept by taking firearms that had been confiscated and rendered useless by the Mexican army and turning them into musical instruments.”

Concert, Art Exhibition: Guns Turned Into Musical Instruments | WUSF online

“”…Same as a shovel plants a tree, a musical instrument is also something that is alive,” Reyes says. “Every time you use it, you generate a new sound, a new event and people can gather around the music and I believe that just instruments are kind of the diametrically opposite to what a gun is – like, the guns are the rule of fear and music is the rule of trust.””

Artist Transforms Guns To Make Music – Literally | NPR | January 25, 2014

“…Dominic Walker and Teague Bechtel, both guitarists in the university’s graduate jazz program, are playing what look like steel guitars fashioned from 9 mm semiautomatic handguns. “That was pretty surprising the first time that we went and saw them,” Bechtel says. Laughing, Walker adds, “We just make sure the safety’s on.”

USF Contemporary Art Museum celebrates with ‘Social Engagement’ | Tampa Bay Times | January 29, 2014

“…The subtitle of this show, “Social Engagement,” is a vast and inclusive term. The art chosen for the show gives us many entry points for such engagement, from the simple pleasure of watching something vibrant visually to deeper ruminations about the social problems of our time.”

The Gun Report | NYTimes.com | January 29, 2014

“…Reyes said he wants people to think about the availability of guns in the United States, and the impact they have in Mexico. The project began six years ago in Culiacán, which collected 1,527 guns that Reyes melted to create art.”

More about CAM@25: Social Engagement
The USF Contemporary Art Museum celebrates its 25th anniversary with CAM@25: Social Engagement to highlight its history of bringing artists, and the practice of making contemporary art, to the Tampa Bay community. This selection of installations serves to mark CAM’s extensive history of exhibitions, commissions and collaborations with artists whose practices and projects embrace an ethos of responsible social meaning, purpose and motivation in the public sphere. Artists include Los Carpinteros (Cuba/Spain), Pedro Reyes (Mexico), and Janaina Tschäpe (Brazil/Germany).

Press Release pdf | Exhibition brochure pdf

Pedro Reyes, Imagine [2012] installed at USFCAM. photo: Peter Foe

Pedro Reyes, Imagine [2012] installed at USFCAM. photo: Peter Foe

Posted in USFCAM Events, USFCAM News | Leave a comment

Reviews of USFCAM “SubRosa: The Language of Resistance” Exhibition

Zanele Muholi, Katlego Mashiloane and Nasipho Lavuta, Ext. 2, Lakeside, Johannesburg, from the series Being, 2007, Lambda print, 30” x 30.” Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York.

Zanele Muholi, Katlego Mashiloane and Nasipho Lavuta, Ext. 2, Lakeside, Johannesburg, from the series Being, 2007, Lambda print, 30” x 30.” Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York.

SubRosa: The Language of Resistance is still on view at USFCAM. Be sure to check out the exhibition before it’s gone December 7th! Here’s a bit from the press on the USFCAM exhibition: Creative Loafing | Review: “SubRosa Reaches the Age of Dissent” Art corespondent Julie Garisto reviews SubRosa for Creative Loafing

Throughout SubRosa, absurdity mixes with tragedy, demystifying the injustices so that the viewer doesn’t feel completely overcome. Best of all, you come away with a more nuanced view of the plights of others and the artists portraying them. Capping off a successful series of tours, talks and even a Pecha Kucha, two of SubRosa’s final events will take place next week — a screening of the documentary Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry, on Wed., Nov. 13, at Tampa Theatre, and a curator’s tour at noon on Thurs., Nov. 14. Admission to USF CAM is free, and art lovers should be thankful for that. SubRosa, like the human lives it addresses, is priceless. More>>

Art Districts Magazine | Interview with Curator Noel Smith Art Districts online interviews SubRosa’s curator, Noel Smith, about why she wanted to bring this show here to Tampa.

Ashley Knight – Why does your selection mainly include artists from peripheral countries? Noel Smith – I really did not think in terms of “peripheral” and “nonperipheral” when I was choosing the works for the show, although I can see why you might ask that. Rather, I was looking for very accomplished artists who, for one reason or another, feel that they must approach their art from a “subrosa” perspective; I was looking for activist artists who have important things to say about political, societal and cultural aspects of their countries that they do not agree with, who encounter resistance, but who nevertheless speak their minds. The germ of the idea, as I indicated in question No. 2, began with art from Cuba and China, so I think that we followed that line. Certainly there are many artists from Western core countries that work with similar ideas and there are, I am sure, more and powerful shows to be done that would be much different from “SubRosa.” More>>

SubRosa: The Language of Resistance August 26 – December 7, 2013  USF Contemporary Art Museum

SubRosa: The Language of Resistance
August 26 – December 7, 2013
USF Contemporary Art Museum

Posted in News, Show Openings | Tagged , | 2 Comments

WEDU “Arts Plus” Features USFCAM’s SubRosa Exhibition

[ by Steffanie Munguia | Sophomore Biology Major and Honor Student ]

Margaret Miller and Noel Smith discuss the SubRosa exhibition at USFCAM

Margaret Miller and Noel Smith discuss the SubRosa exhibition at USFCAM | Click image to view video

Have you visited the current exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum, SubRosa: The Language of Resistance? If not, you still have time to check it out. The show runs till December 7th, 2013.

The exhibition has created local buzz, prompting a feature on WEDU’s “Arts Plus.” The crew from WEDU visited the exhibition and compiled a short video including an interview with Noel Smith and Margaret Miller with highlights from SubRosa. Whether you plan to come in and see the exhibition or not, be sure to watch this great clip!

SubRosa highlights works of dissident artists from six countries: Iran, China, Palestine, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, and Cuba. Though separated by thousands of miles, each of the featured artists share a common theme, using art to express opposition to political oppression.

Along with the cultural diversity represented in SubRosa, there is also great diversity in the mediums chosen by the artists. Ramon Esono Ebale (Equatorial Guinea) is a self-taught graphic novelist, while Cuban artists Jose Toirac and Meira Marrero’s works include a series of sculptures.

Watch the full broadcast here: http://video.wedu.org/video/2365104560/

Posted in Student View | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Art and Ice | Week of Welcome at USFCAM!

[ by Steffanie Munguia | Sophomore Biology Major ]

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As the new academic year began at the University of South Florida, USFCAM hosted a Week of Welcome event to kick off the art season! Luckily for students, classes were not the only exciting thing they had to look forward to. The USF Contemporary Art Museum opened up their newest exhibition, Subrosa: The Language of Resistance, on the first day of classes.

Two days later, nearly two hundred students flocked to preview the new exhibition. The two-hour event was a huge success, with students of all different backgrounds coming to enjoy the art – and of course, the snow cones and ice pops. Subrosa features pieces from contemporary artists around the world who, through their individual mediums, have communicated a singular message of strength and opposition against repression and the cultural status quo.

“I didn’t expect comic panels to be in CAM,” said Caitlin Lochner, a senior Creative Writing major. “It was interesting to see the different mediums used to express resistance to oppression.”

Attendees also got to participate in a scavenger hunt through the museum while taking a little closer look at the artwork.

Subrosa: The Language of Resistance will remain on display at the USF Contemporary Art Museum through December 7th. For more information about the featured artists and future events at USFCAM, please visit the USFCAM website

1167160_10151816155677943_1924669028_o
Photos courtesy of USF College of the Arts

Posted in Show Openings, Student View | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Exhibition Reception Friday at USFCAM | SubRosa: The Language of Resistance

SUbRosaEvents

SubRosa: The Language of Resistance is now open to the public at the USF Contemporary Art Museum. Our official opening reception is Friday, August 30th, and we hope to see you there!

The exhibition, curated by Noel Smith, examines the art and language of artists in response to social, political, and environmental repression. Although the political agency of art is regularly debated, there is a growing group of artists today who make work with political agency and relevancy in mind. Covering continents and cultures, these artists share a desire to question dominant political systems and the prevalent status quo, sometimes covertly and dangerously. More broadly, SubRosa, titled for the Latin phrase meaning secrecy, poses several questions about the role of art in political life.

You’re probably familiar with at least one of the artists who have work in the exhibition. But we wanted to share a bit about an artist you may not be immediately familiar with, Iranian artist Barbad Golshiri. Golshiri will soon have a solo exhibition entitled Curriculum Mortis at Thomas Erben Gallery in New York. Thanks to your local university museum, you don’t have to buy a plane ticket to see work from happening contemporary artists!

Barbad Golshiri

Barbad Golshiri is a contemporary artist who was born in 1982 in Tehran, Iran. He continues to work and live in Tehran, even as his work is considered controversial in the place he calls home.

"Tombstone for Borges' Assassinated Translator"  (Ahmad Mir-Alaei) 2012

“Tombstone for Borges’ Assassinated Translator”
(Ahmad Mir-Alaei), 2012
Engraving on stone, ~ 60 x ~ 81 x ~ 10 cm

Thomas Erben in collaboration with Aaran Gallery, is excited to present Curriculum Mortis, a sculptural installation of a cemetery, by Iranian multimedia artist Barbad Golshiri, his second solo exhibition with the gallery after Nothing Is Left to Tell in 2010. As one of the most prominent figures on the Iranian contemporary scene, over the past ten years Golshiri has produced esthetically and conceptually provocative art, in an impressive balancing act between political urgency and repressive conditions.

Considering the urgent presence of the body, with all its most primal and visceral functions, death has played an important if understated part throughout Golshiri’s art. In Curriculum Mortis, it becomes the main theme through which all other aspects are filtered, as physical bodies are replaced with tombstones, turning the gallery into a graveyard. How do we deal with the loss of those close to us, when they are killed under unclear circumstances, in a society where no authority can be trusted? Golshiri approaches each death individually, creating grave markers so closely attuned as to become physical manifestations of the people they commemorate. Tombstone for Borges’ Assassinated Translator, for example, incorporates engravings referring to the stories translated by Ahmad Mir-Alaei, a well-known translator who disappeared and was later found dead, allegedly from cardiac arrest. By creating these tombstones, Golshiri gives voice to those whose words have forcibly been taken from us, and gives them a renewed physical presence in the world, refusing to forget.

As Dad as Possible, as Dad as Beckett 2000 – 2013 Iron, ashes 200.3 x 100.2 x 28.3 cm

As Dad as Possible, as Dad as Beckett
2000 – 2013
Iron, ashes
200.3 x 100.2 x 28.3 cm

Not all graves commemorate victims of oppression; as is true for Golshiri’s production as a whole, this series of tombs reverberate with subtext, and the artist’s own personal history is as deeply entwined in the work as the histories of the dead. There is the grave of Samuel Beckett, whom Golshiri has translated into Persian; a stone with the epitaph “[There is] no God”; a Tombstone of Jan van Eyck; and finally Golshiri’s own tombstone. Walking through this makeshift graveyard, we are moving through a mindscape of the artist; each grave presents a portal into worlds beyond the present one, where transformation is possible and all can – finally – be different.

Barbad Golshiri’s solo exhibition in New York Curriculum Mortis
Thomas Erben Gallery in collaboration with Aaran Gallery
runs September 7 – October 26, 2013

The Distribution of the Sacred System 2010 Installation and aktion Silk screen print on canvas, 180 x 69 cm, unlimited editions Iron pulley: ∅ 150 cm, length: approx. 240 cm

The Distribution of the Sacred System
2010
Installation and aktion
Silk screen print on canvas, 180 x 69 cm, unlimited editions
Iron pulley: ∅ 150 cm, length: approx. 240 cm

You can see work from Barbad Golrishi at the USF Contemporary Art Museum right now!

"SubRosa: The Language of Resistance" Installation at USFCAM |  August 26 – December 7, 2013

“SubRosa: The Language of Resistance” | August 26 – December 7, 2013 at USFCAM
Artists: Ai Weiwei (China), José Toirac and Meira Marrero (Cuba), Barbad Golshiri (Iran), Ramón Esono Ebalé (Equatorial Guinea), Khaled Jarrar (Palestine), and Zanele Muholi (South Africa)

SubRosa Colloquium: Friday, August 26th 6:00-7:00pm
Exhibition Reception: Friday, August 26th 7:00-9:00pm
Exhibition Dates: Friday, August 26 – December 7, 2013
Location: USF Contemporary Art Museum
For more info: usfcam.usf.edu

Posted in Artist News, Show Openings | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Allan McCollum’s “Petrified Lightning” to be Included in Brazilian Biennial

Allan McCollum's Petrified Lightning from Central Florida project, developed for an exhibition at USFCAM and MOSI, will be showing at the Mercosul Visual Arts Biennial (Brazil)

Allan McCollum’s Petrified Lightning from Central Florida project, developed for exhibitions at USFCAM and MOSI, will be showing at the Mercosul Visual Arts Biennial in Brazil in September 2013

Artist Allan McCollum has been included in the Mercosul Visual Arts Biennial in Brazil for a project that was first shown here at the USFCAM. The project, Petrified Lightning from Central Florida (1997-1998), was commissioned as part of the Hillsborough County’s Public Art Program and opened at USFCAM in Fall of 1998. Our exhibition was accompanied by a simultaneous exhibit and presentation on the project at the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI).

How to Turn Lightning Into Art in a Central Florida Summer
While the official title may be disputed, some still consider Tampa the lightning capital of the world. But how can an artist capture the essence of lightning?

“It’s hard to imagine how memory and meaning could exist without language — both are always only available through some sort of representation. I imagine that objects having meaning — artworks, keepsakes, people, stones — could not exist for us without their “literature.” How could a bolt of lightning, lasting only for the tiniest fraction of a second, be understood otherwise? Events this brief will always evade our synapses — and their existence will always only exist after the fact, amongst one’s representations. Perhaps a true picture of how an artwork has meaning could be constructed if the literature supporting the artwork was put on display at the same time, along with it. The Petrified Lightning project was created to explore this idea — an exhibition to enact the “event” as always already absent, with the residue and the meaning always already appearing in its place.” — Allan McCollum

Here’s an excerpt from McCollum’s website about how he was able to harness the creative power of lightning. Warning, do not try this at home!

Allan McCollum shoots rockets into the air to create a lightning strike

Allan McCollum shoots rockets into the air to create a lightning strike

“…To produce the Petrified Lightning project, Allan McCollum collaborated with both a geologist and an electrical engineer from the University of Florida’s International Lightning Research Facility at Camp Blanding, near the small town of Starke, Florida. With the help of the team at the center, McCollum spent the summer of 1997 triggering lightning strikes by launching small rockets with hair-thin copper wires trailing behind them directly into storm clouds as they passed overhead. The triggered lightning bolts were directed down the wires into various containers prepared by the artist that were filled with Central Florida minerals donated by a local sand mining operation. The bolts instantly liquefy a column of sand with temperatures up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which immediately re-congeals into a column of naturally created glass that exactly duplicates the path of the lightning bolt. These are then dug out by the artist in manner similar to the way a paleontologist might remove a fragile fossil from its matrix. These rootlike glass structures are called fulgurites, or sometimes, petrified lightning….”

Learn more, and see photos from the project Petrified Lightning from Central Florida.

Petrified Lightning from Central Florida (1997-1998) will be on view in Brazil from September 13 to November 10, 2013. We are very proud to have contributed to this partnership between cultural institutions in Tampa and other art venues around the world.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment