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Exhibit Preview: A Few Great, Big Pictures

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Craig Rubadoux' "Boy with Rabbit"

Craig Rubadoux' "Boy with Rabbit"

Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art  will present "A Few Great, Big Pictures,” from May 16-July 28. This exhibit will showcase large-scale works by Luisa Basnuevo, Dolores Coe, Leslie Lerner, Craig Rubadoux, Syd Solomon and Mike Solomon. All are in the habit of thinking big.

Luisa Basnuevo was born in Cuba and came to the United States by way of Spain. Her paintings explode with bold brushwork and a powerful, personal symbolic vocabulary. Basnuevo's paintings are included in public and corporate collections throughout Florida, including those of the Miami Art Museum, the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland and The Ringling in Sarasota.

Dolores Coe is a painter, digital media artist, and former Ringling College professor who maintains a home and studio on the Little Manatee River south of Tampa. Her intrigue with the mind’s power to distill experience into stories is a constant undercurrent in her artwork. Coe entices the viewer into a journey through fantastical landscapes, crowded with fragments of American roadside imagery. The result is an implied road-movie through familiar landscapes transformed into magical, dreamlike realms. In the artist's words, "I construct imagined spaces inhabited by iconic and culturally familiar elements, spun into new contexts and discovered narratives."

Leslie Lerner, who died in 2005 at the age of 55, was a beloved painting instructor at Ringling College of Art and Design for 15 years and a twop-time recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Achievement Award. He was a prolific artist with a wanderer's restless spirit. In his later works, Lerner's images depict recurring characters on enigmatic pilgrimages: “The Man with the Wooden Arm” and “The Lost Boy” explore panoramic landscapes reflecting the vistas of Lerner’s own global and spiritual travels. Lerner’s last body of work,"My Life in America," explores "oil, wealth, and foreign policy, which takes the form of a donkey. His work is in a host of museum, private and corporate collections, including Arkansas Arts Center, the Corcoran Museum of Art, the Norton Museum of Art, Oakland Museum and the Progressive Corporation.

Craig Rubadoux primarily works on paper and canvas. His 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 focuses on line, color, and spatial relationships. While the subject matter varies, it embodies the artist's personal conception of the world and his feelings and responses to that world. His art is included in many public and private collections, including the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale; the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg; and The Ringling in Sarasota.

Syd Solomon was a critically acclaimed abstract expressionist. His non-representational paintings revealed a fascination with nature — raw, gestural images incorporating geometric forms, vibrant colors and strong blacks. His work was always authentic and never precious.  The celebrated abstract expressionist helped turn Sarasota into a nationally known artists’ colony in the 1950s. He and his wife, Annie, held open house for a bevy of artists, writers, architects and activists, including John D. MacDonald, Elia Kazan, Budd Schulberg, Betty Friedan and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. The artist often drew inspiration for his work from the seascapes at his homes in Sarasota and the Hamptons. In 1962, his painting "Silent World" became the first purchase from a living artist by The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Solomon died in Sarasota in 2004 at the age of 86. His vibrant abstract paintings hang in New York City's Guggenheim and Whitney museums, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., and Israel's Tel Aviv Museum and other international institutions.

Mike Solomon, the son of Syd Solomon, was raised in the art world of the 1960s. Solomon fils launched his own artistic career at the age of 15, after winning a national printmaking award. “Whether it’s genes or environment no one can say,” notes Gallup. “But he’s definitely got it in him.” As an artist, he applies the same attention to detail creating his abstract constructions. Such works comprise many layers of transparent tints; each layer remains visible as he adds more layers on top. Solomon created the series of constructions showcased in this exhibit in 2012. Some works employ multiple layers of rice paper imbued with watercolor and embedded in epoxy; others feature layers of acrylic on wood panel.

So, why large-scale? “Sometimes bigger is better,” says gallery director, Allyn Gallup. “A large-scale artwork can anchor a living space and make a bold statement about who you are and what matters to you." He adds that, "Too often, people make the mistake of thinking small. They underestimate the size of the paintings that will work in their residences — or shy away from statements they feel are too strong. The truth is, strong art is a reflection of your strength. Miniatures can be powerful. But there's no denying the fact that artists pour their hearts into large-scale works. They stretch their creative muscles and show the world, 'Here's what I can do.' When they succeed, the result is art you'll love for a lifetime.”

"A Few Great, Big Pictures” runs from May 16-July 28 at Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art, 1288 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. There is no opening reception. For more information, call 941-366-2454 or visit www.allyngallup.com.

 

ART PREVIEW: A Few Great, Big Pictures. May 16-July 28, at Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art, 1288 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. 366-2454.
Last modified: May 14, 2014
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