The exhibition focuses on work that presents an alternate reality with a cast of characters that includes poets, magicians, and masked storytellers.
From Cuban-born artist Anthony Ardavin, we experience the dreamy world of the surrealist. Influenced by Magritte and Dali, Ardavin’s work is whimsical and narrative – each painting tells a story which, like dreams, are open to interpretation. Ardavin draws from his own life experience as an immigrant to convey ideas that are ephemeral and psychological.
Canadian Jeff Mann creates magical masks with parts salvaged from automobiles. In this context, the masks are the storytellers. In using car parts, Mann is making a statement about the ubiquity of cars and their impact on our lives and environment. Through the process of transfiguration, he finds a higher purpose for these car parts as a works of art.
Artists Kenny Jensen and Jon Seals exhibit new mixed media works that explore and express their concerns for environmental and social conditions effecting Florida’s Gulf Coast and beyond.
Kenny, A Florida native who spent much of his childhood outdoors, maintains a deep connection to the state’s unique natural environment. Jensen actively collects, categorizes, and re-contextualizes found organic objects and phenomena, which in turn serve as inspiration or raw material for mixed media applications. His current work contemplates social issues like tribalism, xenophobia, and climate change apathy/denial by drawing comparisons between human behavior and natural processes found in insect and plant life.
In 2018 Jon began using natural materials sourced from the rural Appalachian area where his family is rooted in Kentucky, which included soil, tobacco, and coal. These works were created in response to social, economic, and ecological issues in that region. This past summer his attention shifted to the Tampa Bay area where he has lived nearly two decades and began collecting soil, mineral, and water samples from regional Florida beaches including St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay, and Sarasota. Through this process of collecting and making art with natural and man-made materials, he investigates issues related to coastal Florida environments.
Together these visual poets re-imagine natural materials in fresh ways with hope that viewers engage the world around them with renewed reverence and care.
Opening with live music! SUGAR CANE will be performing in front of Urban Arts Gallery at the opening of TRACE ELEMENTS on October 12 as part of the St Pete Art Alliance Jazz on the ArtWAlk!
Although situated only ninety miles south of Key West, Cuba is a world away. In March of 2019, I visited this world. I walked the streets, haggled with taxi cabs, talked to the people, searched for bottled water among empty shelves, and took photographs along the way. In this exhibit, I try to capture the beauty, decay and resilient life of a once-great city with all of its complexities and contradictions.
- Michael Huston
This group show features an eclectic mix of figurative work. The collection includes work by Amber Lia-Kloppel who draws inspiration from Dutch genre painters featuring scenes of ordinary life. Artist Magaly Ohika is a story teller at heart and paints with a sense of innocence and joy. Franklin Sinanan produces work that is spontaneous and expressionistic.
Urban Arts Gallery is a new fine art gallery located on bustling Central Avenue in the Grand Central District. The gallery will bring new, compelling art and photography to St. Petersburg from around the country, and around the globe. The gallery will focus on representational art – art that incorporates recognizable images of people, places and things – although at times the images may stretch our imagination and only hint at something real. What is important to Urban Arts is that the art tells a story.
Heather Goodwind, photo by Jingzi Zhao