Sunday, February 18, 2018
News Roundup

Safety Harbor gallery offers show by 15 female artists

SAFETY HARBOR — When Susan Benjamin, owner of Syd Entel Galleries and Susan Benjamin Glass, put together a gallery show she called "Art Dresses" in 2010, she was amazed at how well it was received by female patrons.

Now she's launching another show geared toward gals.

It's called Fifteen Women Strong and features the works of five painters, five glass artists and five jewelry artisans — women who not only bring home the bacon, but can paint it, cast it in glass, or solder it onto an earring.

"My mission was to choose successful female artists and show how strong they were in their different fields," said Benjamin.

The compilation of their works results in one of her brightest and most colorful gallery showings to date.

There's painter Marie Claude Boucher, sister of Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher. She's said to be one of Canada's top artists, and one look at her chunky, primitive style will tell you why.

Her joyful country homes come with red roofs, white picket fences and vivid blue skies.

"I went bananas when these came in," said Benjamin. "They are just so happy."

Prices for the pieces range from $1,800 to $3,600.

Glass artist Susan Gott is the only local artist in the show.

Gott's sculptures feature inlaid motifs such as faces, ancient mythological and spiritual symbols, spirals, circles and elements of nature. Painted in a variety of patinas, they are equally as beautiful from the back as the front.

"I've always been in awe of her and how she creates these large, heavy, difficult and complicated sculptures that require so much strength. I'm amazed she could make these on her own as a female," said Benjamin, noting that glass creation is a male-dominated craft.

While Gott's pedestal glass sculptures range in price from $1,500 to $3,000, she sells smaller pieces for $185.

Be sure to take a look at the jewelry by Kristen Lora. Her small sculpture earrings and necklaces are both unique and entertaining: Toy animals riding hoops. Paint brush earrings. A lady in a jail cell.

"She's my favorite jewelry artist because she's a little kooky," Benjamin said.

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