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USF Contemporary Art Museum to open new exhibit

TAMPA — The USF Contemporary Art Museum, part of the Institute for Research in Art in the USF College of The Arts, will present “The Lyrical Moment: Modern and Contemporary Abstraction” by Helen Frankenthaler and Heather Gwen Martin. 

The exhibit will run from June 17 through July 30 at USF Contemporary Art Museum, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CAM101, Tampa.

Taking as a starting point a substantial award by the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, the USF Contemporary Art Museum has organized an exhibition that features elegant, hand-processed prints by pioneering artist Helen Frankenthaler and digitally informed, pop-inflected canvases and gouaches by Los Angeles painter Heather Gwen Martin. Born of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation’s substantial gift of prints as part of their Frankenthaler Prints Initiative for university-affiliated museums, the exhibition brings together outstanding works on paper by a modern master with lyrical paintings by an accomplished contemporary artist whose colorful efforts invoke computational algorithms and 21st century screen culture.

Frankenthaler, whose career spanned six decades, has long been recognized as one of the great American artists of the 20th century. She was eminent among the second generation of postwar American abstract painters and is widely credited for playing a pivotal role in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Color Field painting. Through her invention of the soak-stain technique, she expanded the possibilities of abstract painting, while at times referencing figuration and landscape in unique ways. She produced a body of work whose impact on contemporary art has been profound and continues to grow.

Frankenthaler experimented throughout her long career. In addition to producing unique paintings on canvas and paper, she worked in a wide range of media, including ceramics, sculpture, tapestry, and especially printmaking. Hers was a significant voice in the mid-century “print renaissance” among American abstract painters.

The gift to USFCAM of 10 print editions and eight working proofs from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation offers a simultaneously focused and broad window on her practice across a variety of print techniques and collaborations spanning the decades of her long career.

For more than a decade, L.A.-based artist Heather Gwen Martin has been creating paintings that walk a tightrope between improvisation and deliberation, dissolution, and structure. While a full-time student at the University of California San Diego — where she studied with Pattern and Decoration pioneer Kim McConnell — Martin worked as a colorist for DC comics, adding color onto scenes and characters using computer technology. The experience had an unintended but profound effect on her painting.

Today, Martin’s canvases resemble splash pages for certain copyrighted film or screen-based entertainments. Nonetheless her vividly colored abstractions remain 100% handmade, containing no high-tech aides or digital fillers. Denuded of figures, captions and word balloons, her sprightly landscapes distill reflection and sensation into loops of sinuous line and flat areas of color. While some canvases superficially resemble the livelier aspects of swipe-and-like looking — rounded emoji-like shapes and abrupt transitions between bright areas of color — they impress sensorially, like the taste of underripe fruit or a sharp intake of cold breath.

“The Lyrical Moment” is curated by Christian Viveros-Fauné, CAM curator-at-large; and organized by the USF Contemporary Art Museum. The exhibition is sponsored in part by the Gobioff Foundation; and the state of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; and made possible by the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation’s generous gift to the USF Art Collection.


freeFall Theatre to present cabaret shows

ST. PETERSBURG — After successful one-night musical events featuring the talents of Eleri Ward and Ann Morrison, Michael Raabe, resident musical director, will finish out freeFall’s current season with two exciting cabarets featuring local favorites that have played Broadway and beyond.

Coco and Homo will take the stage Friday, June 10, 7 p.m., at freeFall Theatre, 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Tickets are $35 for non-subscribers. Tandem Series tickets are included in a freeFall subscription.

Tampa’s two most lovable miscreants are back and bringing their Best of the Bay-winning brand of cabaret anarchy to freeFall. An acid trip of interactive games, campy anthems, and frolicking drinking songs, don’t miss the act that is “diva slapping the Tampa Bay entertainment scene into submission.” 

Coco and Homo are the creations of Zachary Hines and Colleen Cherry. Both performers are noted for exciting performances on both sides of the bay including “Psycho Beach Party,” “Shockheaded Peter” and their wildly popular interactive art party “Much Ado.”

Larry Alexander will present “Sinatra, My Way” Thursday, Aug. 11, 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 for non-subscribers. Tandem Series tickets are included in a freeFall subscription.

The golden voice of freeFall audience favorite Larry Alexander interprets the beloved Sinatra songbook. Backed by a jazz trio, Alexander shares stories about Sinatra and their six degrees of separation. He croons through the unparalleled career of Ol’ Blue Eyes. 

Alexander has traveled the world as an actor and singer working with the likes of Carolee Carmello and Liza Minnelli. freeFall audiences will remember him from his performances in “Cabaret,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Sondheim on Sondheim.”

Subscriptions and single tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at freefalltheatre.com or by calling 727-498-5205. 


Local author announces events

During Pride month, local author Deb Carson will be presenting her multimedia presentation or speaking at several Pinellas venues. 

Carson will present “Becoming Flo,” a five-minute book reading as part of “Can’t Ban Books,” on Friday, June 10, 7 to 9 p.m., at Punky’s Restaurant, 3063 Central Ave., Grand Central, St. Petersburg. 

The event will benefit the Cultured Books Literacy Foundation Inc.

“The Flo Show,” a multimedia book talk and presentation, will take place Wednesday, June 15, 6:30 p.m., at Palm Harbor Museum, 2043 Curlew Road, Palm Harbor. 

Participants may attend in person or via Zoom. To register for either option, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/palm-harbor-museum-presents-deb-carson-with-becoming-flo-on-site-and-zoom-tickets-342108143667.

“The Flo Show” also will be presented Thursday, June 23, 6 p.m., at the St. Petersburg Library, South Branch, 230 Roy Hanna Drive, St. Petersburg; and on Tuesday, June 28, 5:30 p.m., at Florida CraftArt

501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.


Clearwater Arts Alliance to host art walk

CLEARWATER — A special downtown public art walk featuring art created from trash collected in last fall’s The Big Clean-Up will take place Saturday, June 11, 10 a.m. 

Participants meet their guide at the Ring Canopy Sculpture in front of the Old City Hall at 112 S. Osceola Ave. Free parking is available in the Old City Hall parking lot. 

Enjoy and learn about Clearwater’s vibrant public art scene including sculptures, murals, art wrapped signal boxes, pavement and storm drain art, plus see all the trash-art creations that are gathered into the Cleveland Street corridor for this special exhibition closing event.

The walk will end with a reception and light refreshments at ClearSky.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 the day of the tour. Register early at www.eventbrite.com/e/downtown-clearwater-art-walk-tickets-137875799227.

For information about the organization, visit www.clearwaterartsalliance.org or email [email protected].


Artlofts to open new exhibit

ST. PETERSBURG — An opening reception for “Summer Breeze,” a new exhibit by various artists, will take place Saturday, June 11, 5 to 9 p.m., at Artlofts Gallery, 10 Fifth St. N., St. Petersburg.

The artists of Artlofts will show works depicting their interpretation of the summer breeze theme. Works will include paintings, photography, fiber, sculpture and mixed media. Attendees also will have an opportunity to visit with Artlofts artists in their working studios. 

The exhibit will continue through June 30. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

For information, call Rebecca at 727-449-5146.

To submit arts and entertainment news, email [email protected]. Submissions also may be faxed to 727-397-5900, dropped off at the office or mailed to Tampa Bay Newspapers, 9911 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, FL 33772. Please include contact information on all submissions. Announcements are printed as space allows.

Angelia S. Rico

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