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Gallery member artists get best of both worlds

Ten months out of the year, the Progress Energy Art Gallery in downtown New Port Richey exhibits works by a variety of fine artists, some of them members of the gallery, some of them not.

The months of June and July, however, are reserved for the 15 member artists who support the gallery all year, both through the memberships fees and, sometimes, by doing volunteer work. Each artist can submit up to five pieces for the exhibit, and at least 14 of the members have entered their work.

The goal is to show the public what the member artists can do.

The exhibit opens at 6 p.m. today with a reception for the members in the show: Ralph Annan, Eva Berman, Michelle Astuto Collins, Christopher Costabile, Greg Colvin, Matthew Ellrod, Sergio Flores, Ron Guerin, Suzanne Holland, Eve Perez-Leon, Paul Showen, Jerri Solicito, Patrick Stickney and Angelique Weger, as well as other guests.

One of the most unusual exhibits is by 26-year-old Costabile, a musician, poet, writer and installation artist from Palm Harbor. His entry is an audio-visual piece, the first in the gallery since its opening.

Costabile's first installation, Naive Astronomy, was in November, and consisted of several melodic guitar tracks that played in random cycles on several stereo systems. The artist said the random nature of the music is similar to the random nature of celestial events.

His work Soothsayer also features multiple stereo systems playing music that Costabile composed and performed himself, each track with a different duration. Each time the discs repeat, they form new combinations of sounds.

As the music plays, a projector plays stock footage of canyon scenery from Lake Powell, in Utah, at various speeds, forward, then backward, so that the musical combinations coincide with different points of the video.

One of Costabile's most intriguing works is The Medium is the Message, or A Protest Against Sight and Sound by Three Angry Senses. Art is usually expressed through sight and/or sound, Costabile believes, so this work embodies "the three neglected senses: touch, taste and smell."

He chose negatives — two displeasing surfaces, two rancid tastes and two offensive odors — as "a protest against the centuries-long neglect of these three senses to convey artistic expression."

He thoughtfully wraps the rancid tastes and offensive odors in black electrical tape so as not to offend, even though he hopes the installation will "leave an impression of the experiencer."

The rest of the show is the more traditional painting, sculpture, photography and various media, though each artist has a unique vision.

If you go

What: First Friday Artists' Reception and show

Where: Progress Energy Art Gallery, 6231 Grand Blvd., New Port Richey

When: Reception is 6 to 9 p.m. today; exhibit continues through July 31. Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Admission: Free

Gallery member artists get best of both worlds 06/05/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 5, 2008 7:02pm]
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