Identity, divisions, connections shape global and introspective exhibits at Morean

07 Jan 2020, Posted by Robin McGowan in Press Releases

St. Petersburg, FL – (January 2, 2020) The Morean Arts Center, Morean Glass Studio and Morean Center for Clay have announced their gallery exhibits and activities for the St. Pete Arts Alliance Second Saturday Artwalk for Saturday, January 11, 2020 from 5 to 9 pm.

The Morean Arts Center at 719 Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg will host a global photographic art exhibit curated by New York City based visual artist Dominick Lombardi titled “I Am.” The artists who share their vision of identity through the lens of living and working in environments as disparate as California and the Netherlands and journeys as varied as driving trucks and studying cybersecurity grapple with the ineffectiveness of pre-judgement. In presenting images that transcend boundaries and belief systems the exhibit proposes to reveal what can be possible in the growing dispersion of the human race.

The exploration of identity continues in the next gallery where the boundary-pushing large-scale paintings and interactive sculpture of Kirk Ke Wang will be presented in “Landscape of Human Skins.”  The art features materials collected from immigrants and diverse social groups. Born in Shanghai, the artist often deals with dichotomies of opposites in his life while converging social consciousness and child’s play in his subject matter. Wang holds two MFAs and is a tenured professor at Eckerd College.

The identity of being female is the focus of Perri Neri: Past Tense; Present in the Morean Art Center’s third gallery. The artist who has been exploring gender dichotomies of experience throughout much of her life’s work describes her newest direction as an evolution of voice. Where her earlier large-scale figurative paintings have been more subtle and nuanced perhaps even tentative, “This work is more like a scream. It is a very direct message,” said Neri. She is “finding ways of thinking about what it means to exist without progress. It starts with a moment, a laugh, a scream, an election … and using the whole of art history as the proverbial cliff, I jump,” said Neri.

The thoughtful works continue in the final gallery where “LACK: Artists in Residence Exhibition” is featured.  Current artists in the residency program at the Morean Center for Clay use the ubiquitous LACK shelving system from IKEA as a jumping off point and inspiration for their work. Catherine Mills of New Orleans, Claire McCauley, of Chicago, Danny Dobrow of Minnesota, Katie Fee of South Carolina, Jonah Fleeger of Indiana, Yeonsoo Kim of Haenam, South Korea and St. Petersburg’s own Matthew Schiemann showcase the use clay in expressions and influences that range from lyrical story-telling and ancient forms to contemporary mixed media and art that defies clay traditions.

The Morean Glass Studios at 714 1st Ave. North will be open for an opportunity to make glass hearts or paperweights. Space is limited for guests who pre-register to be guided by glass artisans in making their own designs. Registration fees are $85 per person with a discount for Morean Arts Center members. All Second Saturday participants can observe the pros and aspiring “makers” as they work the glass. There is also a special Second Saturdays “Seconds” shelf in the retail shop. Visitors who purchase items ranging from sweet little glass kiss drops to one-of-a-kind glass sculptures and are age-eligible will enjoy $1 discount on the beers of their choosing at the adjacent Overflow Brewing company on 1st Ave. North in St. Petersburg.

The Morean Center for Clay at 420 22nd Street South in St. Petersburg is the largest operating clay studio in the Southeast. Dating to 1926 the architecture of the building which originally served as the Seaboard Freight Depot makes this stop a favorite on the Second Saturday tour. Boasting over 50 professional ceramic artist working studios visitors can see work and artist demonstrations ranging from functional pottery to sculpture, and from porcelain to wood-fired ceramics. Functional pieces, clay jewelry and sculpture will be available for purchase from the working artists. Visitors can also enjoy complimentary snacks, refreshments, and chair massages offered on a first-come, first-served basis. They can also support the Artists in Residence with a donation to enjoy adult lemonade in a cup made by one of the artists. Visitors can also plan to see the anagama kiln built in 2002 under the tutelage of Don Reitz firing new work created by the nation’s top wood fire artists who are in town for the Annual Florida Heat Wood Fire 2020 workshops.

The front gallery will feature “The Great Divide.” Internationally renowned-ceramist Bruce Dehnert of the Peters Art Valley Craft Center in New Jersey conceived of and juried the show. The 42 pieces in the exhibit exploring the dynamic of current geopolitical, environmental and personal relationships were selected from nearly 200 submissions and reflect artist voices from as far afield as China and South Korea.

The Center Gallery, curated by Artist-in-Residence Danny Dobrow, at the Morean Center for Clay will feature “Stalls” a contemporary installation of local boundary testing artists. Each of the five invited artists were challenged to transform a narrow white stall. Celebrated local art community favorites Cynthia MasonSebastian CoolidgeCasey McDonoughAshley Lester and Danny Dobrow were challenged to transform spaces divided by petition walls. The diversity of execution reflects their distinct visions and audiences are invited to explore the commonalities of response to the constraints of a stall.

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