Curation Begets Creation at Art Center Sarasota



Opening last week, three new exhibits at Art Center Sarasota invite audiences into the galleries for three wildly different experiences. Explore the mammoth installation art of visiting artist Abhidnya Ghuge, which dominates the entirety of Gallery 3 with one continuous piece, and dive into the world of figurative art in Gallery 2’s Intimate Observation: Looking Past the Future, but don’t leave without stopping by Gallery 1, where the latest exhibit from Art Center Sarasota curator Nathan Skiles offers a look into ephemeral landscapes and possibly a glimpse at the inner workings of the curator himself.

Entitled Last Stop Before Utopia: The Liminal and Ephemeral Landscape, all of the works selected come from Skiles’ own personal collection, giving the exhibit something of a voyeuristic feel. Eschewing traditional landscapes, each of the pieces tackles what Skiles calls temporal spaces—ephemeral landscapes determined by more than geography. A piece by former Ringling College student Miles Goscha, which appears almost indeterminate, Skiles reveals to be created by taking images from ISIS beheadings and removing all of the horrific aspects. What’s left is nearly indistinguishable. “This is really phenomenal work,” says Skiles. “Something’s haunting about the image because it seems to lack a subject, and it’s that lacking which is the subject.” A photograph by Andrew Atkinson, taken in the middle of a snowstorm in Iceland, captures a more pleasant version of a temporal space, as the sky and land merge into one fantastical question.

But Skiles’ arrangement blurs the lines between curation and creation. Featuring the work of 17 artists, all are displayed on the single far wall of Gallery 1, almost challenging the viewer to enter the space. But in a departure from traditional curation, wherein each piece is given room to breathe and stand on its own, Last Stop presents all 20 pieces at once, as something more akin to the curator’s collage. “I cannot recuse myself from the exhibition,” admits Skiles. “But the jury’s still out whether or not it’s revealed much about me.”

Curated by Art Center Sarasota Curator Dustin Juengel, Intimate Observation: Looking Past the Future highlights the figurative work of five separate artists in Gallery 2. Featuring drawing and painting, the exhibit demonstrates differing modes and manners for capturing the figure, allowing each to stand by itself but also work in conversation. From illustrative to photorealism, large-scale to small-scale, Intimate Observation brings technique to the forefront.

Slow Turbulence, Ghuge’s site-specific installation in Gallery 3, presents as a massive pinkish-purplish form wending around the space, seemingly growing out of the room like some great organic protuberance. The result of a chicken-wire frame and 6,195 paper plates, Ghuge builds the frame and carves a wood block to print her henna-inspired designs on each dyed plate, but from there it becomes a community effort, with volunteers helping to fold and attach the plates to the frame. Art Center Sarasota saw 13 volunteer installation assistants come out for 12-hour days to put the whole thing together.

All shows run through Dec. 1 at Art Center Sarasota.

Pictured: "Last Stop Before Utopia," curated by Nathan Skiles. Photo by Phil Lederer.

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