Sunday, December 17, 2017
Arts

Faces are the attraction at Safety Harbor art exhibit

SAFETY HARBOR

A face, mounted on a wall, gazes back at a viewer at Syd Entel Galleries and Susan Benjamin Glass.

It's not a traditionally beautiful face. There's no facial symmetry. The eyes are beady; the gaze is a bit forlorn.

Yet, the piece is so endearing, you just want to give it a big hug.

"I love the awkward facial features, the big nose, the surreal mouth popping out," gallery owner Susan Benjamin said. "I can't help but smile when I look at it."

The primitive, dry pigment painting by international award-winning artist Terri Hallman is part of the gallery's new spring show, FACES.

The collection includes glass, paintings and jewelry by top-notch artists that portray the human face in a variety of dramatic, emotional and playful ways.

The show opens Saturday with a 6 to 8 p.m. reception with master glass artist Lynda Carlson. FACES runs through April 2.

Carlson and her husband, Kurt, have collaborated to create stunning, yet amusing glass heads — "queenies" — that don glass crowns, similar to vases. He does the hot work, and she etches and paints the pieces with intricate detail.

The show's glass assemblage also features curly headed sculptures with bulging eyes and fish lips by renowned abstract artist James Wilbat and colorful South African tribal doll heads by Gavin Heath. Works by Kenny Pieper, Susan Gott, Katherine and William Bernstein also are incorporated.

Paintings — acrylics, oils and pastels — are by Craig Alan, Hallman, Helen Zarin, Charles Dwyer, Hessam Abrishami, Jamali and Michael Vollbracht.

Jewelry is by artist Pat LaFaye.

An oversized, happy-looking wooden "face chair" is by Alan Siegel.

Benjamin said she derives a lot of pleasure from curating themed shows involving a multiplicity of artists and styles. Past-themed collections have included dresses, patriotic art and landscapes.

"With these types of shows, I'm allowed to be more creative. The shows tend to be more interesting because they are so diverse," she said.

Alan's "Populous" series renders aerial views of pop culture icons like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. Painted on light backgrounds, the portraits are actually configurations of tiny, pixel-like people, wearing black and casting late afternoon shadows on the canvas.

The Pakistan-born Jamali is a contemporary artist and founder of an artistic movement called "mystical expressionism." He is known to incorporate the Sufi practice of dancing on his artwork while in a meditative state.

"You can actually see footprints in some of his paintings," Benjamin said.

Reach Terri Bryce Reeves at [email protected]

 
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