Art Ovation, Ringling College Engineer Eight-Story-Tall Tribute to Leslie Lerner

Todays News

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY MAY 8, 2019

Art Ovation Hotel and the Ringling College of Art and Design continue their artistic partnership this season with a summer-long exhibition dedicated to acclaimed artist and former RCAD instructor Leslie Lerner, Honoring a Teacher: A Tribute to Leslie Lerner. Currently on display and spanning all eight stories of the Art Ovation, the tribute show features work from Lerner in the lobby, and showcases his local legacy and impact through the art of six of his former students, highlighted on each floor of the hotel. “The breadth of this work is a testament to him as a teacher,” says Art Ovation Cultural Curator Lisa DiFranza.

Starting on the ground floor, viewers can enjoy the work of the man himself, with large-scale paintings dominating the hotel walls and putting Lerner’s multi-faceted artistic exploration on display in grand fashion. Ranging from the whimsical and bizarre (with science fiction tendencies) to the starkly human and emotive, selections such as the “My Life in France” series of paintings reveal in piecemeal a rich inner narrative, like glimpses into an unseen fairy tale of Lerner’s own devising. A handful of his sculptures accompany the two-dimensional work, appearing as artifacts conjured from this strange world and further drawing the viewer in.

Around the corner but still on the ground floor, find a selection of work from Tim Jaeger, one of the six Lerner students contributing work to the tribute show, but the curious must catch the elevator to see the rest.

On the rooftop, find a trio of digital prints from Julie Kanapaux, geometric and inspired by illustrated books revealing the inner workings of machines and such. The only artist with two floors to her name, the seventh floor also holds a selection of Kanapaux’s work, this time seeing the artist working in watercolor, acrylic and ink on a variety of surfaces, and embracing her own exploration. “It’s something Lerner inspired in his students,” says DiFranza.

One floor down, artist Michael Crabb takes the stage, with an early series of abstract work (titled the “Paris in Fall” series, in perhaps an homage to Lerner’s own naming conventions) and smattering of his more recent work. “There’s a lot of playing with spatial relationships,” says DiFranza, noting that as another hallmark of Lerner’s impact on his students. Continuing the descent to the ground floor, viewers will find the whimsical photography of Shawn Petterson, the vibrant and layered paintings of Claudia Ryan and the multi-media work of Nancy Turner.

Now on display, Honoring A Teacher: A Tribute to Leslie Lerner runs through October 2. Inquire with Art Ovation Hotel regarding guided tours with DiFranza.

Pictured: "Imagined City" by Leslie Lerner, usually hangs in the conference room of Ringling College President Dr. Larry S. Thompson, but has been loaned to the Art Ovation Hotel for display. Image courtesy of Jennifer Mumford at Ringling College.

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