Allyn Gallup Contemporary Hosts Final Exhibition on Palm

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Currently on display at Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art on Palm Avenue, Un/Natural Abstractions brings the beautiful with the bittersweet. Bruce Marsh, the Ruskin artist and arguable star of the show, dominates the back wall with a pair of large-scale paintings showing a new evolution for the recognized land- and seascape master, while Leslie Lerner sculptures sit by the window, complementing two paintings from Syd Solomon that the gallery has never shown before. On the opposing wall, beside the ephemeral creations of Mike Solomon, new multimedia work from Tom Judd brings an air of whimsy to the whole affair, and Amer Kobaslija’s studio portraits demonstrate the power of small works.

Curated by Mark Ormond and with an artist reception next Friday, the exhibition smacks of all the things that made Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art a beacon, and will be the final show before the gallery closes its doors at the end of June and vacates the space.

Running through June 15, the decision to end the gallery’s Palm Avenue run with an exhibition of Marsh’s work was a calculated one, according to Sheila Moore, gallery operator and wife of the late Allyn Gallup. When Gallup suddenly passed in November of 2014, he and Ormond had been in the process of hanging a Marsh retrospective, which ended up being something of a farewell show for the gallerist. “So this is a circle,” says Moore. And this time the coincidence was a happy one, with Marsh ready to exhibit new work showing a new direction.

A master of the natural world, from sea to sky to rolling fields, Marsh has always kept the human element at bay in his paintings, barely out of sight and just off-canvas, though often present in its own way. His latest work, however, puts the human element front and center, with the artist showing equal acumen at capturing the human figure as any other natural form. Entitled The Dancers and based off a photo taken by Marsh two years ago, the flagship piece takes the viewer to the top floor of the Whitney Museum of American Art, where a dance company undergoes a public rehearsal.

But while these paintings may be the last to grace the walls at the Palm Avenue location, Moore does plan to re-open Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art at another location, past 10th Street and in the neighborhood of Sarasota Architectural Salvage and the like. A smaller gallery focused on fewer artists, but with more shows, the exact model had not yet been determined, but Moore has time.

“I’m taking a pause,” she says—one she hasn’t had since taking charge of the gallery five years ago. But she has a daughter and granddaughter in Oregon that she’d like to see more of, and several personal ties to Paris that she would like to renew. So she’ll travel a bit, be with her family, and, come December or so, embark on her latest artistic adventure. “I want something new and fresh and different,” she says. “Time for a change.”

Currently on display at Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art, Un/Natural Abstractions runs through June 15. An artist reception will beheld on Friday, June 7.

Pictured: "Morning Gold" by Syd Solomon has never before been displayed at Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art.

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