January Arts Roundup: Poetically environmental art, an exhibition all about cats, and more

If you’re looking to get more in-touch with nature and the spiritual and cyclic aspects of the world around us as part of your 2022 New Year’s resolutions, consider stopping by BASICO, a major new solo show of Mexican artist Bosco Sodi’s works, which opens Friday, Jan. 14, at the USF Contemporary Art Museum. The show runs through March 5.
You may recognize Sodi’s name because he has been involved with art projects in the Tampa Bay Area in the past, including his collaboration with Graphicstudio on Another Brick in the Wall in 2019. That project was inspired by the artist’s installation and performance of Muro at the CAM in which a 6.5-foot-high by 26-foot-long wall made of ceramic bricks was deconstructed by visitors. His recent commission in the Sparkman Wharf office lobby features his spring-green painting All the Mornings of the World.
BASICO, curated by CAM’s Curator-at-Large Christian Viveros-Fauné will be an all-inclusive display of Sodi’s works, from his “Sun Paintings” made from chili pepper burlap sacks to his signature large-scale clay spheres. The unifying thread of his works is the connection between the Earth’s processes, materials, and embracing the accidental along the way.
In concert with Sodi’s exhibition are many special events, including a workshop on Feb. 2 to hand-make clay spheres that will house heirloom corn seeds. Anyone from the community can attend the artist’s workshop (designed with socially distanced spacing), which will be held at USF College of the Art’s Ceramic Studio outside between FAH and FAS between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The clay spheres made here will then become part of the performance Tabula Rasa (Tampa), which will be held at Meacham Urban Farm on Feb. 12, from 9 a.m. to noon. Here, the seedpods will be placed ceremoniously around the farm for visitors to find and take home.
“We want to get community involved with this workshop and get their hands dirty making these works before they are installed among the Meacham Urban Farms’ crops. All of this harkens back to indigenous farming practices in Mexico and the Mexican labor that is so important to our food production in the U.S. This project highlights that connection and labor that takes place that’s often unseen,” says Sarah Howard, Curator of Public Art and Social Practice at USF CAM. “As the climate and conditions of our world become more dire, this shows people how local cultivation will become important.”
Visitors will also be treated to a farm tour as well as a planting demo during the event.
“I think this exhibition is great because it gives us a chance to feature Sodi’s work in a greater way, giving people a deeper understanding of his work and the different mediums he uses while also giving us an opportunity to highlight Meacham Urban Farms and the work they are doing with sustainable and organic farming,” Howard says.
To learn more, visit the BASICO exhibition
Find out more about the seedpod workshop
Read more about the Tabula Rasa (Tampa) performance. 
Other local art events happening in January
Cats aren’t man’s best friend, probably because they are known as man’s “owner.” As an ode to the furry little beast, Atelier de SoSi is hosting St. Pete’s first-ever art exhibition all about cats. The “Feline” exhibition, featuring everything from paintings, sculptures, prints and other mediums, will be open Jan. 7-19. As a bonus, a percentage of the sales of these kitty-inspired pieces will be donated to the St. Pete Sunshine Kitty Catfe to help cats find their forever homes.
Strong, beautiful, and built purposefully, true works of architecture have the power to wow and awe even the most discerning aesthetic taste buds. Opening Jan. 8 at the Artlofts Artist Studios in St. Pete, “Venustas” is a group exhibition highlighting architecture and design through photography, featuring artists like Gabe Loewenberg, Kristi Capone, and Brandy Stark.
Looking at architecture in a different way, artist Rebekah Lazaridis is taking some of the hot spots of St. Pete and translating them into an iconic postcard style in her solo exhibition “Circa: New works by Rebekah Lazaridis” at Mize Gallery. The exhibition opens Jan. 7.
Calls to artists and cultural organizations
If you’re an artist looking for a larger canvas to work with, the Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor City Campus is looking for a new mural in 2022 at part of their Grounds4Art Project. The deadline to apply is Jan. 17. Interested artists can check out the request for qualifications
Applications will soon be available to Tampa-local cultural organizations for the Art Council of Hillsborough County’s Cultural Development Grants of up to $25,000 for all types of cultural disciplines like architecture, craft, creative writing, dance, new media, traditional arts, and more. The applications will be open Jan. 17-Feb. 18. 

Read more articles by Caitlin Albritton.

Caitlin Albritton is a freelance writer based in Tampa with a BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and a MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. When she's not looking at art throughout town, she can be found making it. You can keep up with her visual art on Instagram @caitlinalbritton or on her website. Visit her recent line of inlay “wearable paintings.”