A new contemporary art gallery caters to Sarasota artists with inventive approaches.
In 2012, Marianne Chapel and her husband, Bill, packed up everything they owned. The important possessions found a new home in a storage unit. The rest, they sold at a yard sale.
For the next three years, they traveled the world, living in a new country every few months. It was an adventure and an exercise in change of scenery, but when she returned in 2015, Marianne Chapel says she had a newfound appreciation for Sarasota.
“I was so happy to be back,” she says. “I wondered why I had ever left. Being gone, I had a sense of displacement. So when I returned, I really embraced the idea of making Sarasota home. I wanted to plant roots here.”
This Friday, those roots will take shape with the opening of “Organic Geometry,” the inaugural exhibition at Chapel’s new contemporary art gallery, mchapel projects.
The artist and Ringling College illustration instructor says the idea was inspired by her time abroad, where she saw an abundance of contemporary, artist-run galleries.
“We have an amazing scene as it is,” she says. “I see so many young, cutting-edge artists, and I wanted to provide another outlet for them and for artists who take an innovative approach to their process, materials, display or concept.”
Tucked away in the industrial complex on Princeton Street, near the intersection of U.S. 301 and 12th Street, the gallery doubles as her personal studio, and it offers seclusion and a sense of freedom to experiment. The debut exhibition, “Organic Chemistry,” features Chapel’s abstract paintings, as well as art by Cynthia Mason, Laine Nixon and Jill Taffet.
The work, including Nixon’s acrylic and canvas “Zuhandens,” Mason’s sculptural reliefs and Taffet’s abstract new media, share roots in geometry and evolve with each artist’s approach.
Chapel’s series, “Construction / Reconstruction” tackles issues of growth in Sarasota. Her approach involves literally constructing, demolishing and reconstructing her work. Her paintings feature layers that have been chipped away with razor blades, and time-lapse videos show her melting her wax sculptures into nothing.
Chapel plans to host regular exhibitions. Following each opening will be several days of scheduled viewing hours.
“I’m excited to see more experimental art from this community,” she says. “There’s a lot of talent here. I want others to enjoy it, too.”