Tampa Bay September arts roundup: Jill Slaymaker at Michael Murphy Gallery, HCC fall arts preview

It’s always nice to have connections.

Thanks to long-time Tampa gallery owner Michael Murphy’s connections in the art world, a career retrospective of a New York City-based photographer whose work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City is coming to Tampa Bay.

“Alchemy and Other Magical Thinking,” an exhibit of paintings and drawings spanning the four-decade career of Manhattan-based artist Jill Slaymaker, is at Michael Murphy Gallery from September 8th through October 6th. 

Murphy says it started with a conversation with Woody Slaymaker, a Chicago gallery and art business owner he has known for more than 25 years.

“He said, ‘You know my sister is a pretty good artist in New York,’” Murphy recalls.

At first, the idea was for Woody Slaymaker to bring down a few of his sister’s works after visiting her in New York. Plans grew to a full-blown career-spanning retrospective.

"In Manhattan We Dream of Nature," part of the career retrospective of Jill Slaymaker at Michael Murphy Gallery.“I have nearly 100 pieces of work that show her progression, her different stages,” Murphy says. “So it is a museum-caliber show and she is a museum-caliber artist.”

In addition to the Whitney and MoMA, Slaymaker’s work is in the collection of the Davis Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, Spain; arts centers, colleges and businesses in New York; and universities across the country. She has had 14 solo shows and her work has been featured in exhibitions in Eurpoe, Australia, India and the Phillippines.

Murphy says Slaymaker is respected and well-known in the art world, but not as well-known to the casual art aficionado.

“I feel lucky to be the first gallery outside of that world to do this,” he says. "Her work is very interesting. The progression is interesting. The imagery is very accessible….You can look at them from a purely visual standpoint and there are just some beautiful paintings. Her art works on two levels. You can interpret what you see for meaning or you can hang the painting in your house simply because you say, 'I love this painting. It makes me feel good to walk in and look at it after a long day.’ You don’t have to have any intellectual purpose behind your connection to it.”

During a dynamic career, Slaymaker’s work goes through several stylistic changes. Her landscape paintings“from the early 1990s “explore the relationship between nature and modern man, with symbols from science and technology layered over serene landscapes and skies,” an exhibit description says. Art historian Robert Rosenblum described Slaymaker’s work from that timeframe as part of the Neo-Sublime and Neo-Romantic landscape movements. 

Her  “Vanity and Insanity” includes more than 50 self-portraits in a variety of media. Murphy says Slaymaker’s self-portraits from different times of her life will be a separate and distinct part of the Tampa exhibition.

In the early 2000s, Slaymaker returned to Romantic landscapes, with the addition of figures, often a lone girl or woman. 

“I am intrigued by the vastness of nature, and complex worlds that exist within each other,” Slaymaker says in a press statement. “My work often depicts otherworldly environments, inhabited by a lone figure a bit lost in a chaotic world.”

As her stylistic reinventions continued, cartoonish art, an interest since childhood, led to narrative figure paintings. A recent series of paintings featuring orange trees was inspired by a trip to Rome. She fell ill on the trip and recovered while painting under a 900-year-old orange tree that still bears fruit. Much of her work now includes oranges as symbols of rejuvenation and hope.

“Alchemy and Other Magical Thinking” opens with a public reception featuring the artist at 6 p.m. on Friday, September 8th, at Michael Murphy Gallery, 2701 S MacDill Ave., in south Tampa. A special children’s free mixed media workshop featuring the artist will be held on Saturday, Sept. 9th, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Parents are invited as well, to enjoy the show and refreshments.

“Alchemy and Other Magical Thinking” will be on display Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., from September 8th through October 6th.

For more information, go to Alchemy and Other Magical Thinking.

HCC fall exhibition schedule

Hillsborough Community College's fall art gallery lineup offers acclaimed Tampa-based artist Ya La’ford at the Ybor City campus and contemporary fiber artists at Dale Mabry. 

La’ford’s “HENGE- unearthing ancestral memory” is currently on exhibit at Gallery114@HCC in the Ybor campus’ Performing Arts Building through November 2nd.

The exhibit “invites viewers to reconsider symbols from ancient civilizations as
keys for navigating the shapes and patterns of modern life,” a press release from HCC says.  Ya La’ford’s “HENGE- unearthing ancestral memory” is on exhibit at Gallery114@HCC in the Performing Arts Building at Hillsborough Community College's Ybor City campus through November 2nd.

“Concepts such as connection, excavation, reverence, and memory are woven together for an immersive and multi-sensory installation,” the description continues. “Inspired by forms such as neolithic henges, kivas, and other ancient architectural monuments, these new works by La’ford investigate ancestral messages and reimagines them for contemporary audiences.”

A reception and artist talk is scheduled from 5 p.m. to  8 p.m. on October 18th, during the second Ybor Arts Tour.

From November 27th through December 7th, Howard W. Blake High School’s 25th annual Senior Master Certification Exhibition, which features a selection of work by the school’s graduating students, will be on display at Gallery114.

At the Dale Mabry campus, “Toucy/Feely: Form, Function & Contemporary Fiber,” is on display at Gallery221@HCC through October 12th. The exhibit is curated by HCC collections manager Alyssa Miller and features the work of contemporary fiber artists  Jessica Caldas, Saumitra Chandratreya and Emiliano Settecasi. It’s an interactive exhibit that allows visitors to touch and handle some of the artwork.

“Art touches you, and sometimes you get to touch it back,” an exhibition description from HCC says. “Challenging conventional gallery manners, Touchy/Feely encourages visitors to assume the role of participant by handling and manipulating several of the works on view.”

The exhibition explores themes such as labor, motherhood, relationships, conscious choice and joy. An artist reception is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 7th, with an artist talk at 6 p.m. 

Later in the fall, “Leftovers: Lisa McCarthy and Georgia Vahue” is on exhibit at Gallery221 from October 23rd through November 30th, with a closing reception on November 30th. McCarthy has an MFA from the University of South Florida and is a founder of Factory Mark Gallery in Framingham, MA. Vahue is an arts educator, curator and former executive director of the Ruskin Firehouse Cultural Center.

Also at the Dale Mabry campus, “In Their Own Words: Selections from the HCC Permanent Art Collection” is on display at Gallery3@HCC through February 29th, 2024. 

The exhibit features the work of artists Suzanne Camp Crosby, Aneka Ingold, Aimee Jones, Akiko Kotani, Tom Kramer, Tracy Midulla, Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, Frank Rampolla, Babs Reingold, Omar Richardson, Emiliano Settecasi and Ruby C. Williams. In oral history interviews accompanying the exhibit, some of the artists discuss their work and their connection to the Tampa Bay region. 

For more information, go to HCC Art Galleries.

Elizabeth Indianos retrospective at Tarpon Springs Cultural Center

“Elizabeth Indianos Introspective: Public/Private,” an exhibit tracing the 50-year career of the multidisciplinary Tarpon Springs-based artist, is on display at the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center through November 30th. The career retrospective showcases Indianos’ work as a visual artist, playwright and designer of public art. 

A focal point of the exhibit is "This Blessed Plot, This Earth," a historical mural at the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center that Indianos painted in 2020.

The free exhibition is open to the public from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays (except Thanksgiving) through November 30th at the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center, 101 S. Pinellas Ave. Ticketed events related to the exhibit include an artist talk on October 8th and a Q&A session with Indianos and guest curator Lynn Whitelaw on November 12th. Those events are $17 for members and $20 for the general public.

For more information, go to Tarpon Arts Elizabeth Indianos Introspective.

Vibes of the Bay returns

Vibes of the Bay, a one-day music festival celebrating Tampa Bay’s local musical talent, returns September 30th after a three-year hiatus.

This year’s festival is scheduled for September, 30th at the Crowbar, 1812 N. 17th St. in Tampa. Presented by music technology and services company Symphonic Distribution, Vibes of the Bay will feature more than 20 local musical artists. In addition to the music, there will be a vendor market curated by Indie Flea, one of Tampa’s premier markets, live painting, food and more. 

This is the seventh Vibes of the Bay festival. Each year, Symphonic Distribution dedicates the event to a nonprofit organization. This year’s nonprofit is St. Petersburg-based Arts Conservatory for Teens, which nurtures youth's strengths through music, art and leadership training.  

The event is free with RSVP or $10 at the door.

For more information, go to Vibes of the Bay.

Exhibits, events at Tempus Projects, Ybor Kress Building 

A group exhibit featuring artists Franco Censabella, Hector Hernandez, Abbey Miller, Julissa Quinonez and Valerie Zuniga runs from September 14th to October 12th on the third floor of the Ybor Kress Building, 1624 E. Seventh Ave. An opening reception is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, September 21st.

A group exhibit featuring Kaylin Price and Erin Titus runs from September 28th to October 26th at Drift, the independent curator's space in the second-floor gallery space of the Kress Building. An opening reception is scheduled for September 28th, with a member’s hour from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The reception is open to the public from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“Ten Days in Bodrum,” a solo exhibition by Andrés Ramírez, is at the Tempus Volta gallery space in the Kress from September 28th to November 16th. An opening reception is scheduled for September 28th. There’s a member’s hour from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The reception is then open to the public from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s Second Saturday ArtWalk

The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s Second Saturday ArtWalk on September 9th features a slew of artist appearances and exhibition openings.

Colorado-based artist Alan Moore will appear at Craftsman House Gallery, 2955 Central Ave., to showcase the colorful folk art he creates from upcycled and repurposed bottle caps and beer cans. Moore’s artwork includes fish, guitars, bicycles, lobsters, pelicans, octopuses and special items available during ArtWalk. 

Following an opening reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, September 8th, Woodfield Fine Art, 2323 Central Ave., will continue its “Emerging Artists Showcase” during ArtWalk. The exhibit features new work from six local emerging artists: Sylvia Shanahan, Marie Rice, Jill Corless, Carol Crumrine, Paul Barrera and Douglas Thonen.

Studio 521 @4 Gats Gallery hosts guest artist, Pablo Hurtado. Beginning with abstract lines, Hurtado creates figurative abstraction paintings that are colorful and cartoonish. 

From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Woodson African American Museum of Florida, 2240 Ninth Ave S., will have an opening reception for the new exhibit “Florida Highwaymen: The Next Generation – The Legacy Continues,” featuring the paintings of second-generation Highwayman Ray McLendon, son of Roy McLendon. The opening reception will feature vendors, food trucks and music in the museum’s  Legacy Garden.

Soft Water Gallery, 515 22nd St S., will open its new exhibit “Carrie Jadus: Open to Interpretation.”

The exhibit revisits Jadus’ large-scale Rorschach series, which started as a response to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Jadus created the new series as a metaphor for the way in which personal experiences and social conditioning can cause two people to view the same situation very differently,” an exhibit description says. “What will you see?”

For more information and the full schedule, go to Second Saturday ArtWalk. 

Arts Alive! Free Museum Day! in St. Petersburg
Select museums and galleries in St. Petersburg will offer Pinellas County residents free admission on Saturday, September 23rd as the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance presents “Arts Alive! Free Museum Day!”  

The Dali Museum (with the exception of Dali Alive 360), the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art and Imagine Museum are participating.

The event is produced by the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, the City of St. Petersburg and participating cultural organizations and based on the model of the currently paused national Smithsonian’s Free Museum Day.

For more information, go to Arts Alive Free Museum Day.

Tampa Bay Latin International Film Festival

The Tampa Bay Latin International Film Festival is 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, September 16th, in the Auditorium at Creative Pinellas, 12211 Walsingham Rd., in Largo.

The festival will include two 40 to 50-minute segments of four to eight short films and a 40-minute intermission. The intermission will allow time for discussion and dialogue on the films. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, go to Tampa Bay Latin International Film Festival.

Jo-An Thomas “Garden of Delights” at Pinellas Ale Works

“Garden of Delights,” an exhibit featuring the work of St. Petersburg artist and Chinese brush painting teacher Jo-An Thomas, is at the Pinellas Ale Works gallery through October 13th. An opening reception is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, September 8th.

"Winter Moon," by Jo-An Thomas, is part of the exhibit "Garden of Delights" at Pinellas Ale Works.The event is the latest exhibit Funky as a Monkey Art Studio has put on at Pinellas Ale Works, 1962 First Ave. S., in St. Petersburg.

Artists interested in displaying their work at Pinellas Ale Works should email [email protected] or [email protected].
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Read more articles by Christopher Curry.

Chris Curry has been a writer for the 83 Degrees Media team since 2017. Chris also served as the development editor for a time before assuming the role of managing editor in May 2022. Chris lives in Clearwater. His professional career includes more than 15 years as a newspaper reporter, primarily in Ocala and Gainesville, before moving back home to the Tampa Bay Area. He enjoys the local music scene, the warm winters and Tampa Bay's abundance of outdoor festivals and events. When he's not working or spending time with family, he can frequently be found hoofing the trails at one of Pinellas County's nature parks.