Justified + Ancient at Mara Art Gallery

Arts & Culture

Photo courtesy of Jackie Cutrone of the Halo Arts Project.

On Thursday, October 27th, the Mara Art Studio and Gallery held the premiere preview event for their latest exhibit, Justified + Ancient, a decidedly modern take on ancient artifacts. The exhibit, which has its grand opening on Friday night and will be fully open to the public from November 1st-17th, features the pairings of 16 ancient artifacts with visual representations of them from 16 different modern artists, all based in Sarasota and Manatee counties. “We have selected 16 pieces from the collection, courtesy of an anonymous artifact collector in Siesta Key. We’re pairing them with contemporary artists to reimagine and redesign that artifact with their own representation,” says Jackie Cutrone, President and CEO of the Halo Arts Project, the public, charitable arts organization that seeks to provide financial resources and programming resources to visual artists in the region – and is presenting the exhibit in conjunction with the Mara Art Studio and Gallery.

“The artifacts range in age from 3000 BC to the 19th century. Painters will paint, sculptors will sculpt, a poet will write a poem about the oldest writing tool, a cuneiform, which we have in the exhibit,” says Cutrone. “It’s one on one – each artist has their artifact next to their work. They’ll all be present for the grand opening.” Additionally, the exhibit is more akin to a performing art exhibit than a traditional static art show. “Not only is the artwork working the crowd, the artifact is working the crowd. These artifacts can mean something different to everyone. I think that it's important that the artifacts are here, telling their story right next to the artists telling their stories thousands of years later.”

For Mara Torres Gonzalez, modern contemporary artist and owner of Mara Art Studio and Gallery, the exhibit gave her the opportunity to explore modern femininity in relation to her artifact, an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus. “It was beyond interesting working with a BC era artifact made by an artisan to come up with this contemporary interpretation of an old piece of art. I was struck by the different sides of the sarcophagus – the male side was three dimensional and well detailed and the female side was two dimensional and much less detailed,” says Gonzalez. “I explored what I thought the female side should look like – I came up with a 74 inch tall painting of a female, with hips and curves, not drawn to some “perfect” standard. It’s one in a series of 16 pieces I made.”

Mara Art Studio and Gallery, 1421 5th St Suite A, Sarasota.

Photo courtesy of Jackie Cutrone of the Halo Arts Project.

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