Arts Briefs for Sept. 14, 2012

Bird Street Players to close out FridayFest

FridayFest draws music lovers of all ages to the Van Wezel on the bayfront. Photo by Norman Schimmel

Originating in Tampa, the Bird Street Players will return to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Friday, Sept. 14, with a wide range of music, from reggae to funk, from rap to soul, from blues to rock.

The Bird Street Players frequent the music scenes of New Orleans, Key West and Orlando, a Van Wezel news release says, and they play festivals all over the country.

FridayFest is a free community event. Each FridayFest runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. People are welcome to bring their blankets or lawn chairs, take in the music and the sunset, enjoy food and beverages from local vendors and participate in raffles. Guided by master of ceremonies Cliff Roles, FridayFest takes place rain or shine. In the event of inclement weather, the festival moves indoors to the main hall of the Van Wezel.

Bringing in food and drinks from outside FridayFest is prohibited; coolers and weapons of any kind also are prohibited.

The Van Wezel is located at 777 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For more information, call 941-953-3368 or visit

Gallup gallery to present ‘Abstraction’ 

‘Yellow Rotary’ by Macyn Bolt is among the works that will be featured in the new exhibit at Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art on Palm Avenue.

Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art gallery will present “Abstraction: A Study in Diversity,” Sept. 21 through Nov. 17,.

The exhibit will feature paintings and works on paper by Luisa Basnuevo, Macyn Bolt, Tom Grabosky, Michael Kessler, Melissa Meyer, Joan Moment, Juri Morioka, Robert Poindexter, Helen Shulman, Tremain Smith, Peter Stevens and Valerie Stuart.

The gallery has offered the following snapshots about the artists and their work:

• Tremain Smith’s paintings are mappings of a spiritual nature. “My goal as an artist is to paint compelling works of art that create access to the spiritual world,” she says.

Smith’s works are included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and in corporate and private collections across the country.

• Michael Kessler makes nature-based paintings that merge geometric elements with biomorphism. His works are characterized by large fields of diaphanous color that are activated by organic linear structures that have been visually and physically woven into a grid that consists of thick slabs of paint.

• Macyn Bolt’s works explore his interest in combining the “stuff of representation” that he finds among various and random print and Internet sources. His work has been exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C., The Newark Museum of Art in New Jersey and The Grand Rapids Art Museum in Michigan.

‘Town’ by Helen Shulman

• Helen Shulman’s paintings are built on muslin affixed to panel. “Because of the way the muslin reacts with the acrylic gel, there is a hint of imagery before I even begin painting,” Shulman explains. “The first paint layer generally creates a fairly realistic picture, reminiscent of scenes taken from nature. It will be wiped or sanded down and subsequent layers of oil washes, which may be enhanced with encaustic, will be added, sanded and wiped until the painting has matured and the story has become clear.”

• Tom Grabosky lived and worked in Boston for nearly 30 years. In 1967, he began a series of large-scale pencil drawings that captured the attention of collector John D. Merriam. For the next 27 years, Grabosky worked under the patronage of Merriam, creating a series of 156 drawings, all of which are in the permanent collection of the Wiggen Gallery of the Boston Public Library. These wildly imaginative drawings have been featured in many gallery and museum shows throughout New England.

• Melissa Meyer is best known for large abstract canvases characterized by lyrical explorations of rich, boldly interacting color. Her paintings and works on paper are included in many public and private collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

• Born in Tokyo and now living in New York City, Juri Morioka says she approaches the canvas directly, without any preceding sketches or studies. “I paint in the manner of Zen, moving my brushes along with my mind’s rhythm, relying solely on instinct and intuition. Outside of conscious thought, I search for harmony and form in the play of color and shapes, and a composition gradually emerges.”

• Robert Poindexter paints non-figurative abstract compositions that are of a medium to large format. He sees these images firmly rooted in the work of several earlier painters and hopes they also contain lyrical aspects, possibly conjuring feelings of Southern blues and jazz.

Valerie Stuart feels that color “has the capacity to convey emotion and is deeply connected to human feeling, sentiment, and sense of place. By creating abstract color fields with a strong emphasis on the emotional qualities of color, I attempt to allude to undefined, yet commonly felt human feelings.”

For more information about the exhibit, call 941-366-2454 or visit The gallery is at 1288 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota.