Friday, December 15, 2017
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Robert Rahway Zakanitch's patterned paintings hint at our memories

BY LENNIE BENNETT

Times Art Critic

Pattern and color are on view big time at Scarfone/Hartley Gallery at University of Tampa.

And we mean Big.

Robert Rahway Zakanitch, a painter, is a founder of the pattern and decorative movement, which gained momentum in the 1970s. It celebrates the decorative arts without being decorative art, meaning it takes inspiration from wallpaper patterns, floral arrangements and home accessories and whips them all up into beautiful paintings that read like fragments of memories from special rooms we have known.

Zakanitch's most famous work is the Big Bungalow Suite, created from 1990 to 1993. The Suite is five acrylic-on-canvas panels, each measuring a monumental 11 by 30 feet, and one of them is in this show. It's joined by 20 other (smaller) paintings.

Getting the big one is a coup for the area, and we can thank Dorothy Cowden, the gallery's director, who also directs the visiting artist program in the print studio on campus.

Cowden, with Lois Berghoff, had a distinguished private atelier for many years, and Zakanitch was one of the artists who came to produce a portfolio of limited-edition fine art prints. (One set of his prints is part of the Leepa-Rattner Museum's permanent collection.)

The exhibition of his paintings at University of Tampa is in conjunction with the STUDIO-f program in which he's the visiting artist this year. He'll be on campus through March 2 to produce a series of new screen prints that will also be on display, along with the paintings, when they're finished. Some of them will be sold as part of a fundraiser for the program.

The studio where he'll be working is in the same building as the gallery show, and Cowden invites visitors to stop by and watch him at work. But please be discreet; he isn't there to socialize.

The exhibition of paintings in the campus' Scarfone/Hartley Gallery, 310 N Blvd., Tampa, continues through March 8. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Free.

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

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