TALK ARTY TO ME: ARTISTS’ TALKS
The insight one gets when an artist discusses their work is invaluable not only with regard for understanding their particular work, but often much broader conversations are opened. Consider these two important talks Thursday.
Hank Willis Thomas will be discussing his "Branded/Unbranded" exhibition at the Ringling Museum in the Chao Lecture Hall Thursday at 5:30. The exhibit features advertisements throughout the ages with the text removed, so while it’s fun to guess what products the ads are for, it’s also interesting to study what they’re saying visually without context. Thomas will speak to the link between advertising and commodity-driven culture. Free, but ticket required; call (941) 358-3180. 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
Mark Thomas Gibson will lead a discussion about his work as a follow up to the "Utopias" exhibition that just closed at Gallery 221 on the Hillsborough Community College Dale Mabry Campus. Gibson’s work takes a hard look at society’s potential for self destruction by using a comic book approach to present critical narratives. There’s a reception from 5-7:30 p.m., with the talk beginning at 6 p.m. Learning Resources Center (DLRC) auditorium, Room 106, 4001 W Tampa Bay Blvd., Tampa. Free. hccfl.edu/gallery221.
FLOWER POWER: ART IN BLOOM
The Museum of Fine Arts’ annual Art in Bloom event that pairs incredible floral designs with works of art from the museum’s collection happens 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday. A few of the galleries have been changed around to reflect a floral theme, and it’s fun to see how the floral designers interpret the works of art. It’s included with museum admission, and will feature a few special events, like tonight’s Flowers After Hours and "What Can I Bring" luncheon. Find all the details at mfastpete.org.
ILLUMINATED ART: LIGHTHEADED
There are only a few more days to check out LightHeaded: New Directions in Fine Craft Lighting at Florida CraftArt (501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg), and it is too good a show to miss. It closes Saturday with a reception 5:30-7:30 p.m. Curators Catherine Woods and Mary Anna Murphy gathered a wide selection of lighting fixtures from artists hailing from all over the world, and the scope of the work is as varied as the places they come from.
I’ve always been attracted to and in awe of lighting fixtures, ever since my parents got a magic plant lamp in the early 1980s that turned on and off by touching the leaves. So I was particularly enchanted with Venice artist Ray Locke’s pieces that incorporate geodes, crystals and gemstones and are controlled by touch. The exhibition has serious street cred with Liz Bellovin and Beth Costello’s Artisan Subway Series, mini subway train cars that have colorful and flashing lights inside that evoke moving through tunnels, and they’re tagged with graffiti from actual street artists. A number of pieces are shining examples of where functionality and design meet, as with Danish designer Birgit Ostergaard, who creates sculptural lighting from a special fabric that looks like clouds or rocks. Peter Antor of Chicago creates architectural lamps from a variety of woods where the light emanates from the tiniest of holes, like constellations. And local artist Mark Noll’s carved water droplets on corian lightboxes look so real, you can almost hear the patter of a soft rain.