Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Features and More

Print exhibition at Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, far more than women's work

ST. PETERSBURG

It may be a small show, but it's an important one. "Contemporary Prints by American Women" at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, consists of 30 works that use a variety of print methods to stunning results, blending craft with artistic vision. It's about half of a collection given by patrons Martha and Jim Sweeny so we also have the expectation of another such exhibition in the future.

The title needs to be addressed. I doubt there will ever be a show containing the term "American Men" in the same context so the implication some could take away in this case is that female gender is used as a marginalizing description. But historically, women artists have been marginalized, usually taken less seriously. Fortunately, that has changed over the last century, as we see here with names that bear weight and star power, women who earned the right to be considered simply as artists when their work is discussed.

As in any good print show, we see how the medium can fool the eye. Sylvia Mangold's The Locust Trees looks like a poetic pen and ink drawing; Elaine de Kooning's lithograph, Jardin de Luxembourg, could be a painting; and Vija Celmin's screen print, Ocean With Cross, seems at first to be a photograph.

Domesticity has a subtle presence but in unconventional ways.

Botanical-type images include Georgia Marsh's Rumi Riffs and Joan Mitchell's Flower I, for example. But Mitchell's aggressive abstract expressionist style muscles aside preconceptions about flower paintings by women, and Marsh grounds the ephemeral images of leaves with a geometric grid. As with many of the prints here, this one bears close study to appreciate the intricacy of the composition and print layers.

Needles and thread are traditionally women's tools, and they are deployed here. Marie Yoho Dorsey's delicate embroidery on Starry Night isn't used to pretty-up the print (thought it does) but in service to her map that illustrates the ancient creation myth of the Japanese archipelago's formation. Leslie Dill also hand-sews a lithograph printed on silk and muslin for a haunting double image not meant to comfort. And Faith Ringgold's Under a Blood Red Sky resembles her famous narrative quilts that deal with racism.

The Pattern and Decoration movement of the 1970s and 1980s is represented by one of its pre-eminent practitioners, Joyce Kozloff, and her Homage to Robert Adam. Adam was an 18th century British architect and interior designer who installed elaborate wall and ceiling treatments in the baronial homes he built. In Homage, Kozloff uses equally elaborate design with etched patterns overlaid with more patterns set into cast paper frames that emulate the wood moldings Adam used. It avoids mere beauty with its intellect.

Louise Nevelson also uses cast paper but, in contrast to Kozloff's exuberance, Sky Gate I is an austere and cerebral meditation on form with the artist's signature monochromatic palette.

Abstraction plays a big part in many of the works, though few would be considered purely abstract. Pat Steir's Peacock Waterfall is a recognizable rendering of that force of nature but is more about stunning, saturating colors allowed to follow gravity's pull downward. The riotous bundle of forms in Nicola Lopez's three-dimensional Urban Transformation #3 resolves itself into an explosive construction site filled with pipes, hoses, plastic netting and shards flying beyond the borders of the print. It's a gritty take on Red Grooms' witty pop art constructions.

Of all media, I think prints are the most misunderstood because of the many techniques used to make them. So I encourage you to attend a gallery talk at 3 p.m. on Nov. 18 about this show by Erika Greenberg-Schneider, an internationally admired master printer who has worked with some of the great contemporary artists and whose atelier, Bleu Acier, is in Tampa.

Jim Sweeny, who with his wife, Martha, donated these works, will talk at 6 p.m. on Oct. 4 about their experiences as collectors, which should also be interesting. We don't often have the opportunity to meet the people whose generosity is evident on gallery walls and hear them explain the hows and whys of their collecting choices.

Both are free with admission.

Lennie Bennett can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8293.

Comments
The Phantom never dies, orchestra doings this week

The Phantom never dies, orchestra doings this week

PHANTOM REDUX: LOVE NEVER DIESTurns out, the Phantom survived that angry mob. We know that because the antihero of Andrew Lloyd Webberís 1986 musical The Phantom of the Opera re-emerges in the 2010 sequel, Love Never Dies.It opens in 1907 New York, w...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Top things to do this week: Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Top things to do this week: Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

NEW HOPE: Star Wars partiesWith the opening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the force of fan excitement is strong, so of course there are Star Wars parties this weekend. The giant movie complex Riverview 14 GDX is having celebration with characters from...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Even post-Weinstein, 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' is extremely popular

Even post-Weinstein, 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' is extremely popular

Gifts are wrapped, halls are decked and people are on Twitter calling Baby, It’s Cold Outside a "sexual predator anthem." It’s a holiday tradition for the social media age. Pointing out the creepiness of the song — or "rapeyness," ...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Holiday help in Pasco County for Dec. 15

Farm Share giveaway set for Dec. 15Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano, Sheriff Chris Nocco, Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Property Appraiser Gary Joiner will host the 23rd annual Farm Share Holid...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Hometown Pasco for Dec. 15

Hometown Pasco for Dec. 15

We want your news!Hometown Pasco is devoted to everyday life in our county, whether itís snapshots from your family reunion, recreational sporting event, news from your last club meeting or just a few lines thanking someone for a job well done. You ...
Published: 12/13/17
5 things to do under $5: Gasparilla Bowl beach day, Hanukkah on Ice, boat parades

5 things to do under $5: Gasparilla Bowl beach day, Hanukkah on Ice, boat parades

1 Battle at the Beach: The Gasparilla Bowl is coming to Tropicana Field on Dec. 21, but before that the bands, cheerleaders and dance teams from Florida International University and Temple University will have a day of beach-related games and competi...
Published: 12/13/17
Hometown Hernando for Dec. 15

Hometown Hernando for Dec. 15

We want your news!Hometown Hernando is devoted to everyday life in our county, whether itís snapshots from your family reunion, recreational sporting event, news from your last club meeting or just a few lines thanking someone for a job well done. Y...
Published: 12/13/17
6 gift ideas for grandparents and grandchildren to spend more time together

6 gift ideas for grandparents and grandchildren to spend more time together

A grandparent can be a tough person to buy a Christmas gift for. Likewise, many grandparents are stumped on what to get the kids besides some cash. Why not make your Christmas gift something you both want more of: more time together making memories. ...
Published: 12/13/17
Five trendy gift ideas for the cook in your life

Five trendy gift ideas for the cook in your life

Giving the gift of cooking isnít really something you can mess up. Whether gifting a gadget or paying for a class, you can encourage a budding culinary enthusiast or give a seasoned veteran a new toy to play with. Here are five ideas for holiday gi...
Published: 12/13/17
Four ideas for edible gifts you can find throughout Tampa Bay

Four ideas for edible gifts you can find throughout Tampa Bay

Carlynn Crosby, Times correspondent Florida Pure Sea Salt Harvested from Tampa Bay’s waters, these handcrafted salts come in flavors like maple bacon, Sriracha, lemongrass, habanero or black truffle. They retail for $15 a jar online, at flor...
Published: 12/13/17