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The media are the message

photo
Cliche by Gabriel Bennett, plaster

By BRANDY STARK

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 28, 2001


A former New York gallery owner puts together a juried exhibit featuring works using different materials from artists around the country.

A woman in a low-cut dress stands casually by the door holding a bomb in her right hand, but no one panics. The woman is the life-sized statue Attitude, created by artist Jeff Whipple for the eighth annual National Open Juried Exhibition currently at Artists Unlimited Inc.

Miami resident Bernice Steinbaum, formerly a gallery owner in SoHo in New York City, juried the show, which had entries from across the United States. Her desire to create a compilation of artistic media is evident through the prizes she awarded.

Lisa Anne Hall won Best of Show for her work Dressing for the Funeral. This piece creates a strong message with a simple arrangement. A black, full-bodied slip hangs from the wall. Upon it, the artist has repeatedly sewn the words "This is not happening" in black cotton thread. The viewer must stand close to discern the words.

David Bartlett's black and white photograph Guangxi, China -- Figure in Road was awarded first place. Capturing the wide expanse of trees, fields and hills of China, it shows a village, dwarfed by the surrounding landscape. From the village winds a road, and on it walks a man, his diminutive figure nearly lost.
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Foregone Celebration by Anya Kivarkis; sterling silver, wood and sand.

Second-place winner Iona Datcu uses photography and oil paints to create multiple layers of symbolism. Love You Too is a photograph of a woman, holding a small statue of a child. The words "I love you THIS much" are inscribed in the statue's base. The trinket's portrayal of innocent love is contradicted by the newspaper ads for dating services, diet programs, television shows and personal ads the artist has attached to the picture.

Carol Prusa placed third. Her series of works, titled Seven Cuts, is created using egg tempera. The canvases hold simple images ranging from single lines to "x" shapes on backgrounds of browns and grays. Together, they are reminiscent of primitive cave drawings.

Honorable mention was awarded to M. LeMieux Vafaei for the beadwork doll Fetish-Vanity and to Susie Stamm Andrews for her porcelain piece Amazon.

"Of all the shows we have had in the past 18 months, this is the most amazing. Among the 16 artists featured, it holds an astounding range of quality and diversity," said Sara Romeo, executive director of Artists Unlimited Inc.

PREVIEW

Eighth annual National Open Juried Exhibition, at Artists Unlimited Inc., 223 North 12th St., Tampa.

Through July 30 (extended to include the Tampa Gallery Hop). Gallery hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat. Call (813) 229-5958.

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