A year ago, I interviewed artist Evan Lovejoy at his solo exhibit "Hypnagogia" at Clothesline Gallery. Clothesline has continued to expose Sarasota to the quality of work you could easily find in cities such as NYC, LA or Miami. New galleries keep emerging with refreshing talent. They embrace and represent the unbridled passion within these young artists. Keep your eye on them, folks, and get yourself to these exhibits.
When I heard Lovejoy was one of the artists featured in the grand opening of Fukinsei Art Lab, I was thrilled to revisit his paintings.
Fukinsei Art Lab is a new creative workspace and alternative gallery owned by artist Anna DeAugustine, an oil painter whose current work focuses on the figure and nature.
“I look for artists that challenge our regular way of thinking," she says, "however, at Fukinsei Art Lab, we don’t want to tell you what to think, we hope to provoke it.” Located in the Rosemary District’s Citrus Square, the Art Lab opens its doors to local artists and art appreciators from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., or by appointment (call 941-404-5845). The lab is named for Fukinsei (foo-keen-say-ee), a Japanese concept defined by asymmetry. The missing symmetry is provided by the viewer’s imagination and the work of art is completed through his or her own personal interpretation. The beauty of Fukinsei is that the final act of creation is placed in the viewer’s hands.This new space is the perfect setting to display those brisk, rosy tones that I love in in Lovejoy’s animals. His new pieces continue to provoke the senses into glorious backflips. Pleasing and pretty from the first glance, they mysteriously begin to pave their way into your consciousness. Thoughtful juxtaposition remains between choice in color and subject/story. I asked Lovejoy on this series of his works compared to his exhibit over a year ago.
“I have an intense fascination with the way in which human beings think about animals. Their forms are hijacked, and they become surrogates for our ideas, stories and symbols, despite their inherent isolation from the human species' thought process," he said. "The true animal becomes more and more removed from our consciousness and is replaced by telling something artificial: a chimera of images and ideas gleaned from cartoons, fables, wildlife documentaries, museum dioramas and zoos. My current paintings present the viewer with bodies and backgrounds separated from intentional symbolism or allegory. The animals I paint are misrepresentations of their real-life counterparts; they instead display a form that is complete artifice.”Some amazing women are contributing to this exhibit and the vibrancy in Sarasota’s art scene overall. Ariana Franco is a sculptor, installation artist, performance artist and fashionista. Franco plans an installation of ravens in papier-mâché. Patricia Kaufman and Elisabeth Stevens harness the craft of the wordsmith and are known as “word picture” artists firmly established in the Sarasota art scene. They write and create visual imagery in very different ways. Kaufman paints alongside her words, or perhaps writes along side her paint. Stevens creates poetry and novels that she illustrates in etchings.
While I’ll be downtown covering the Sarasota Film Festival, I’m eager to hustle on over to the open house event and meet this group of artists. Along with viewing spectacular art, gourmet cupcakes and mimosas will be served. Who’s going to say no to that?
The Fukinsei Art Lab celebrates its grand opening with Show No. 1, “Scratchin' the Ichi”
Artists: Evan Lovejoy, Ariana Franco, Patricia Kaufman, Elisabeth Stevens and Anna DeAugustine.
Show open until April 27
Artists’ Champagne Open House: Saturday, April 6, 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Funkinsei Art Lab - 431 N. Orange Avenue, Sarasota FL