SARTQ: HERE AND NOW #Sarasota #Art

SARTQ, Sarasota’s local popular artist collective has reemerged. The now redesigned 501c3 network of accomplished Sarasota and Manatee artists invites you to their first 2015 exhibition.

Here and Now (front)

Featuring artists include: Andrew Long, Cassia Kite, Caui Lofgren, Daniel Miller, Elena De La Ville, Javier Rodriguez, Jenny Medved, Laine Nixon, Larry Forgard, Morgan Janssen, Natalya Swanson, Nathan Wilson, Noelle McCleaf, Steven Strenk, Tim Jaeger, Zachary Gilliland, and curated by Danny Olda

SARTQ events and exhibitions are suitable for all ages and accessible to everyone in the community.

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OPENING RECEPTION: August 15, 2015 (6pm – 9pm)
Gallery Hours:  Tuesday-Saturday (11am – 4pm)
Address: 1525 State Street, Sarasota, FL

Machine in the Ghost: A Group Exhibition

October 2014, Kirk Ke Wang Art Space, Tampa

COMPUTER GENERATED CONCEPTS, HUMAN GENERATED ART – New Exhibition is Literally Inspired by Computer Software featuring Nathalie Chikhi, Michael Covello, Shawn Pettersen, Selina Román, Eileen Isagon Skyers and Mikaela Raquel Williams.

Machine in the Ghost is a unique group art exhibition presented by the Kirk Ke Wang Art Space in Seminole Heights, Tampa. Six Florida-based artists work in collaboration with internet programs toward creating new artwork for the exhibition slated to open on Friday October 3.

Curated by Danny Olda, the exhibition aims to examine the increasingly ubiquitous yet enigmatic role of algorithms found in daily life, from data mining to the behavior of companies such as Netflix and Pandora. The exhibition also playfully comments on the “academicizing” of visual art. As artist statements become progressively cerebral and jargon-filled, Machine in the Ghost makes use of artificially created artist statements which come with a familiarity, and even a conceptual quality, that is difficult to dismiss.

Whereas artists typically write a short statement to accompany and explain their artwork, the process has been reversed and somewhat automated for this exhibition. Machine in the Ghost makes use of online artist-statement-generating software. Six artist statements were created by the program using random topics and then distributed to participating artists. The artists, in turn, are creating work based on these generated statements.

Artists Nathalie Chikhi, Michael Covello, Shawn Pettersen, Selina Román, Eileen Isagon Skyers and Mikaela Raquel Williams are currently at work creating art in a variety of mediums and styles interpreting their given statement.

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Sponsored by the Learning Ground Foundation.

WHAT: Machine in the Ghost: A Group Exhibition
WHEN: Friday October 3, 2014 Opening Reception 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday October 11, 2014 – Panel Discussion 7 p.m.
WHERE: Kirk Ke Wang Art Space
5120 N Florida Ave
Tampa, FL 33603

EVENT PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/1521022851465698/

About Kirk Ke Wang Art Space
The Kirk Ke Wang Art Space is a studio and non-profit art venue in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa, Florida. It is one of three studios maintained by visual artist and Eckerd College professor of visual arts Kirk Ke Wang. The space also operates as a non-profit art space in the culturally thriving Tampa neighborhood.

About Danny Olda
Danny Olda is an art critic and editor working in Tampa, Florida. He is currently the editor of the quarterly art journal ART AT BAY as well as the Pinellas County based blog ARTICULATE. His work has also been published in BURNAWAY, Daily Serving, Hi Fructose Magazine, Beautiful/Decay, Creative Loafing and Sarasota Visual Art.

“Via” Culture on Tumblr: Forsaking the Creator for the Curator

The line separating novelty and innovation is a thin one. Whether Tumblr will leave an indelible mark on art remains to be seen. However, there is a trend that is unlikely to recede back into the digital pool of microblogging anytime soon: disappearing authorship.

The line separating novelty and innovation is a thin one.  Whether Tumblr will leave an indelible mark on art remains to be seen.  However, there is a trend that is unlikely to recede back into the digital pool of microblogging anytime soon: disappearing authorship.

Galleries tend to stick to a strict ritual of crediting an artist: wall texts and labels, 200 word bios, artists’ statements, press releases.  However, these are all functions that are virtually meaningless in Tumblr.

I realize I’m far from the first person to point this out.  In fact, of the many words written about art and Tumblr this loss of authorship is consistently a primary concern.  I wonder, though: is this ‘loss of authorship’ perhaps actually a transfer of authorship? Is curating the new creating?

This tendency to separate the art from the artist is primarily due to the way Tumblr mediates the way we view images.  Tumblr is used for text-heavy posts the way marijuana is used for medicinal purposes: I suppose it happens sometimes.   Really, the vast majority of posts are simply images.  The posts from various tumblogs pile up on a user’s “dashboard” as an endless procession of images.  It’s easy to see how the artist behind a piece could get lost in the infinite scroll.

For example, in his essay for Hyperallergic Ben Valentine writes, “This quick and easy dissemination of content is great, but it creates an issue: sustained attention on a single work is hard to come by, therefore deemphasizing authorship.”

Beyond being buried in a mass of images, an artist’s credit is lost further by the way Tumblr favors bloggers over the blogged.  In Tumblr’s art world, the sought after skill isn’t so much rooted in creating art as it is in finding art.  This is especially conspicuous in reblogged images where an artist’s credit is often missing but a bloggers “via” credit is rarely left out.  Thus, Valentine goes on to warn that for some, “Given these reasons, it would make sense for artists to be wary of putting their work on Tumblr.”

However, rather than avoiding the site, some artists are changing the way they work with it.  For example, artist Carlos Sáez’ tumblog project Cloaque, a self-described “digital landfill”, is essentially an exercise based in creative curation.  On Cloaque, the content itself is not as exceptional as the way it has been collected.  Further, while Cloaque is rare among tumblogs, it’s the beginning of an arts trend.

After all, favoring the blogger over the blogged isn’t the creation of Tumblr but a reflection of its users. Tumblr artists are often of a generation that works from within the internet, rather than adding to it from without.

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The Art at Bay tumblog

The idea of the artist as a mediator of images has existed and been accepted since the days of Andy Warhol.  Thus it’s surprising that its praxis on Tumblr can be so troubling to some.  As popular as appropriation is, exceptionally few are comfortable with the prospect of actually having their work appropriated.

The Tumblr shift from artist-as-author toward artist-as-editor will most certainly stick around within a social media context.  What is of special interest, though, is how this would eventually translate within a gallery setting.  How willing will we be to ease our conceptual grip on the idea of the artist-genius, to start wrangling the mountains of information instead of adding to it, and relinquishing owner over images?

Written by Danny Olda, Editor of Art at Bay

Seeing Things at Roger Chamieh’s Apophenia by Danny Olda

These are not grand existential statements. As people may have once been anxious over soul and salvation, today are likewise of car accidents, peanut allergies, smile lines and crow’s feet …

These are not grand existential statements. As people may have once been anxious over soul and salvation, today are likewise of car accidents, peanut allergies, smile lines and crow’s feet – a helpless body. Fittingly, the sculptures of Roger Chamieh’s current solo exhibit nearly appear to sag and be pinched, to wheeze and groan.

Broken, APOPHENIA : Recent Works from Roger Chamieh, Photos by Danny Olda

Despite their imposing size (only four pieces fit inside the Tempus Projects’ gallery) certain fragility colors each piece. For example, the show’s centerpiece projects this idea directly in its title, Broken. The sculpture, using a dining table as a departure point, lies slumped over on one end. The table is missing two of its legs as if it’s a double amputee propping itself up. A giant phonograph horn-like funnel penetrates the table. An antique speaker at its base under the table produces what Chamieh’s website describes as “layered guttural and thoracic sounds”. Indeed, the sculpture sounds as if it’s groaning from the metallic pit deep in its throat.

Apoxia, APOPHENIA : Recent Works from Roger Chamieh, Photos by Danny Olda

A theme that appears in two of the exhibit’s sculptures is breathing or rather, difficulty breathing. One piece’s title, Anoxia, refers to an extreme depletion of oxygen. The other, Daddy’s Girl, similarly makes use of a gas mask installed on the gallery wall. Rather than some sort of filter, though, the mask is fitted with a set of chrome lungs. Inside the mask, where the eyes would be, plays a single channel video similar to a home movie. The piece, perhaps, betrays a parental anxiety, a fear of the multifarious threats to one’s child.

Daddy’s Little Girl, APOPHENIA : Recent Works from Roger Chamieh, Photos by Danny Olda

Really, the entire exhibit does not seem to investigate some grand (and pretentious) existential view of death. Rather, the gallery is filled with a lingering near paranoic fear of dying peculiar to modern life. This isn’t a primal fear of survival, but one of a 5-ounce bottle of liquid on a plane or the newest carcinogen. Chamieh’s sculptures struggle for breath as if hyperventilating, suffocating under a crushing anxiey. Apophenia, the title of the exhibit, is the tendency to find meaning in patterns in which they do not exist. Much like a hypocondriac building pestilence from trivialities, or even an art critic finding meaning in an art exhibit.

APOPHENIA : Recent Works from Roger Chamieh, Photos by Danny Olda
APOPHENIA : Recent Works from Roger Chamieh
November 16 – December 4, 2012
TEMPUS PROJECTS, Tampa, FL


Danny Olda is a Tampa based artist and publisher of
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Olda Reviews: Melting Metaphors and the RNC

Sometimes the most contentious relationships can be the most productive ones. Artists’ and politicians’ mutual suspicion (and at times outright disdain) of each other often serves as fodder for both groups: artwork for the former and budget cuts for the latter.

by Danny Olda

Sometimes the most contentious relationships can be the most productive ones. Artists’ and politicians’ mutual suspicion (and at times outright disdain) of each other often serves as fodder for both groups: artwork for the former and budget cuts for the latter. Although this scuffle between art and professional politics has been playing out internationally over the course of decades something special is unfolding in Tampa Bay at the moment. With the Republican National Convention set to descend on the area within the next couple weeks, a sort of case study of the interplay between art and politics will present itself.

Predictably, there will be an abundance of politically themed exhibits. Naturally, Tampa’s downtown museums will be serving up limp proxy events that convention delegates are sure to find just splendid. Corresponding offerings from Cafe Hey within the convention zone as well as the CL Space and West Tampa Center for the Arts just outside it promise to be more engaging exhibits. Further outside the convention area, throughout Tampa Bay, numerous other shows intend to vie for the increased sets of eyes and political interest. The profusion of political art exhibits may make it appear that the RNC only offers the Tampa Bay art scene a curating no-brainer. However, the art hints at something different.

danny olda, RNC
Promo photo for West Tampa Center for the Arts’ upcoming exhibit “Common Sense”

One piece, a “temporary” sculpture, will be installed in Tampa’s Lykes Gaslight Square on August 27th. The sculpture from artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese is made up of the words “Middle Class” carved from a block of ice that is intended to melt quickly in the Florida summer sun. While the sentiment is a tad obvious in terms of contemporary art, the sculpture’s relationship to its intended audience is a bit more subtle. Gaslight Square is within the convention zone. That means the sculpture will almost exclusively be seen by convention delegates rather than the local art crowd. This is just one of many current pieces that appear to be directed at the RNC instead of art scene usuals.

Rather than speaking to an audience, it seems the work’s intention is to speak for one. In a way, these political works of art (if executed well) act as mediators – we allow the art to plead on our behalf. Art has the capacity for succinctness and emotional impact that can rarely be spoken or written. Informing a politician that the middle class is disappearing is very different from allowing a politician to witness it literally waste away.

However, this sense of “pleading” has a quietly sad quality also. The ample political art aimed at the RNC can feel like a desperate struggle to emotionally pique individuals that have sway over our day-to-day lives. This kind of personal authenticity is usually only reserved for last-ditch efforts because it’s so difficult to ignore. In this way the querulous relationship between politics and art produces the quietest protest downtown Tampa will see, but the most difficult to disregard.


Danny Olda is our Tampa Correspondent and publisher of
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