The Goods: Weekend News (04.06.12)

Sarasota Visual Art’s round up of information, upcoming exhibitions, and events. John Henry, John Van Alstine, Caroline Ramersdorfer, Don Porcaro, Leslie Fry, Joe Segal, John Mack, Michelle Fader, Michael Eade, Paul Mathisen, Craig Rubadoux

Olda Reviews: Like Water, Plain Yet Potent

Michelle Fader’s clear technical skill shows her to be an adept photographer. More importantly, though, her promise in image and meaning manipulation shows her promise as an artist.

Interview with Hermitage Fellow, artist Michael Eade

A current Hermitage fellow, Michael Eade, a contemporary watercolour landscape painter from New York City, recently visited Sarasota for a residency.

[Sponsored] Featured Artist – Paul Mathisen

Mathisen bases all of what he does in paint on the idea of beauty, perfect in all of its imperfections. He likes to think he is not reinventing the wheel, but stepping on the shoulders of past masters and transcending the art form to something that is his own.

“Pinturas Primavera” – Craig Rubadoux at Dabbert Gallery

April 6 – A one man show at Dabbert Gallery featuring works on paper and canvas. Rubadoux’s paintings are intensely personal glimpses into particular emotions, and he frequently speaks of his work as a journal. Greatly affected by his environment and a love of nature, Rubadoux’s painting style is colorful and fluid.

“LAND, SEA & 3D” at Allyn Gallup Contemporary

April 10 – The exhibit features landscapes and seascapes by Jean Blackburn, James Couper, Heidi Edwards, Bruce Marsh, John Hardy and A. D. Peters, and sculpture by John Henry, John Van Alstine, Caroline Ramersdorfer, Don Porcaro, Leslie Fry, Joe Segal and John Mack

Olda Reviews: Like Water, Plain Yet Potent

Perhaps the most encompassing thing that can be said about Michelle Fader’s work is that it’s definitely pleasant to look at. This is intended to be both a compliment and a criticism.

by Danny Olda

Flush the toilet, wash down a pill, take a bath, drive through the rain, swig a bottle of Dasani, drown. Despite its ubiquitous nature (or perhaps because of it) water makes for incredibly potent symbolism – a potency that is not lost on artist Michelle Fader. As a theme, water flows through Michelle Fader’s solo exhibit, Toward Evening, at the USF Centre Gallery.

Toward Evening showcases a number of untitled photographed portraits by Michelle Fader with her polished and professional style. Perhaps the most encompassing thing that can be said about Fader’s work is that it’s definitely pleasant to look at. This is intended to be both a compliment and a criticism.

Olda

In the best photos of the exhibit Fader takes full advantage of the water imagery and its multiplicity of possible readings. A few of the photographs depict a woman lying on her back in water up to her face. They each vary in color and subject but portray the same basic scene. These photos appear to make a clear reference to John Everett Millais’ Ophelia – a young woman committing suicide. The young woman in one of the photos looks particularly worried, though, (as contrasted with the tranquil Ophelia) and harshly lit as if by a search light.

However, the more peaceful subjects, rather than committing suicide, could be involved in a water birth, or simply bathing. This simple scene, shot in subtly different ways, personally recalled charged situations of birthing, bathing, and dying which in turn carry charged meanings. Speaking of water, Fader mentions in her artist statement that “the work represents the element’s innate ability to be both a creator and destroyer of life, and acts as a metaphor for the duality that can occur deep within the subconscious”. The best photos in this exhibit execute this wonderfully. These particular pieces are pleasant not only look at but also to read and deconstruct.

However, some of the photos are nearly too pleasant. The art world has been enamored with the ugly and gritty for some time now – this is not the spectrum end that I’m suggesting Fader travel to. She needn’t shed her glossy style for relevancy – think of the uber-production of Cindy Sherman’s newer work. What the hyper-refined photos of Sherman share with the grainy and grungy work of Diane Arbus is an underlying unpleasantness. This ‘unpleasantness’ counters a feeling of complacency – without which some of Fader’s work veers from fine art to fashion photography.

It should be mentioned that, as a personal rule, I don’t review student work in a student gallery. However, I thought you might appreciate the tip-off on Fader now – if this is her starting point she’s definitely an artist worth watching. Fader’s clear technical skill shows her to be an adept photographer. More importantly, though, her promise in image and meaning manipulation shows her promise as an artist.


Danny Olda is our Tampa Correspondent and publisher of
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