Second Saturday Gallery Openings, Glass Demonstrations, and the opportunity to make a glass heart at the Morean

29 Jan 2020, Posted by Robin McGowan in Press Releases, Uncategorized
Human Totem

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, February 8, 2020 from 5 to 9 pm.

The Morean Arts Center at 719 Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg is inviting community photographers to participate in “I Am” the global photographic art exhibit curated by New York City based visual artist Dominick Lombardi. The exhibit features 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.

Community photographers invited to join the exhibition!  During the Second Saturday celebration, community photographers are encouraged to join the gallery exhibit where the Morean Photo Director Beth Reynolds will be serving as photo album curator. Photographers should plan to submit their photographs printed at 8.5 x 11 inch size with a card or label that identifies the name of the photographer, where the photographer is from, the name of the person in the portrait (or self-portrait), where the person in the portrait is from and their occupation and passion or hobby.

Or, that evening cell phone photographers can plan to print their photo for the album for a $5 donation to the Morean Arts Center. The photo album will be archived and shared with Lombardi for future exhibitions. Creative inspiration may be found in the online exhibit catalog –…-catalog-V2.pdf

The exploration of identity continues in the next gallery where the boundary-pushing large-scale paintings and interactive sculpture of Kirk Ke Wang are presented in “Landscape of Human Skins.”  The colorful and fanciful art canvases and gallery dominating totem are contrary to the disasters that are represented in the artist’s work. Born in Shanghai, the artist explores 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. Neri has been exploring women’s roles and their experiences throughout much of her life’s work and describes how she focuses on how a human form moves through an emotional space and how it relates to another human form. Where her earlier large-scale figurative paintings have been more subtle and nuanced, “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 reflective mood is lightened a bit 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 are able to wander through the hot shop to 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.

A bundle of elaborate tendrils studded with totems, shards of pottery and found objects will hang from the rafters in the Center Gallery at The Morean Center for Clay as Cuban born artist and acclaimed ceramist Aimee Perez opens her “Intus” exhibit. Artist-in-Residence Danny Dobrow curates the Center Gallery and uses the space to feature boundary testing ceramic artists. “Intus” meaning inside, within or from within, and the seeds of Perez’s experiences as an immigrant in Miami, years of living in Mexico, and study under the tutelage of sculptor Jose Sacal are embedded in her work. Perez is known for using various types of clays and surface treatments. She has also used clay as a jumping off point for her sculptural work adding encaustic, wax, metals, glass and found objects to add layers to a piece. “Intus” features human forms that serve as archetypes. Through the exploration of contemporary, religious and biblical themes Perez explores spiritual truth and the paradoxical truths of suffering and redemption, grief and comfort.

The front gallery will feature national ceramist icons, Sarah Pike, Jason Brigs, Zemer Peled, Giselle Hicks, and Kyle Carpenter who hosted January workshops at the Florida Heat Surface Show at the Morean Center for Clay. The exhibit showcases mastery of craft in clay forms, glazing, slips, underglaze, decals, scraffito and Mishima.

Located at 420 22nd Street South in St. Petersburg, the Morean Center for Clay 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, or support the Artists-in-Residence program with a donation to enjoy adult lemonade in a cup made by one of the artists.


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