Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach

Detail of The Ghost of G Sharp Seven by Camille Rose Garcia

Detail of The Ghost of G Sharp Seven by Camille Rose Garcia

I have never had a reason to travel to Virginia Beach. If I didn’t have an instagram account following one art stream that lead to another link then to another, I may have never started following the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and would not have discovered that the 10 year retrospective of the magazine Hi-Fructose was on the east coast. The general focus of the magazine is on a narrow band of contemporary art born out of a mix of surrealism and pop-culture, with the influence of comic book illustration and tattoo art, but realized with a refined, highly technical degree of craftsmanship and presentation. The subject matter varies but almost always plays along the fringes of surrealism with imagery focusing most heavily on a loose version of portraiture.

Detail of Trapped by Beth Cavener

Detail of Trapped by Beth Cavener

In general, wonder, draftsmanship, and craft precede high concept although the art is not void of cultural criticism or narrative. I think that the art itself is more accessible to a greater group of people than most contemporary art due to the fact that it is rendered realistically.

Sun and the Moon by Jeff Soto

Sun and the Moon by Jeff Soto

As with the first time visiting the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL, I was stunned at how amazing the originals were after seeing reproductions for years. There is a good variety of both 2-D and 3-D work, and so many good pieces that there isn’t a particular standout in the group. The show is open until December 31st, 2016. If you didn’t have a reason to visit Virginia Beach you do now.

The waterfront at Virginia Beach

The waterfront at Virginia Beach- great place for walking and bicycling.

At the top of Mt. Trash more. A park on top of the old garbage dump. Virginia Beach.

At the top of Mt. Trashmore – A park on top of the old garbage dump. Virginia Beach.

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Exploris Design-Build “Exploration” #2

Students putting the steel frame together

Students tying the metal frame together

Here we are a year later teaching another school “exploration” at Exploris Elementary School. After building models and working with plaster for a few weeks we took our class outside and built a sculpture in the school yard. We assembled a frame that was then coated with concrete. Thanks to the students for all the hard work, Ann Whitehurst and all the other volunteers for helping, and to the Exploris School for letting the students get dirty doing this hands-on exercise.

Troweling on colored concrete over the metal frame.

Troweling the colored concrete over the metal frame.

Concrete starting to cure.

The concrete sculpture starting to cure.

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Design-Build “Exploration”

Our final project was the Exploris sign!

Our final project was the Exploris sign! Wood, concrete and steel.

This spring I taught a design-build short course, called an “Exploration”, at Exploris Elementary for 4th and 5th graders. We learned the basics of working with wood, steel, and concrete, how to make scale models, and then build full-scale. Because we were limited to 6 classes at 2 hours each we had to get a lot of work done and work at a manageable scale. For our final project we made “sign art” for the elementary school. The sign used all the materials we had experience with and gave the students an opportunity to create something meaningful for their school.

Preliminary bird shelter project, where we focused on wood and steel

Preliminary bird shelter project, where we focused on wood and steel

Special thanks to Christian Krakow, Dylan Bounfrisco, and Ann Whitehurst for assisting with the class and to Alphin Design Build and H&H Kirkpatrick Hauling for donating the scrap materials.

Students nailing the wall together

Students nailing a wall together

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Hanging Rock State Park

On "House Rock" at Hanging Rock State Park

On “House Rock” at Hanging Rock State Park

In late March we visited Hanging Rock State Park for the first time. It’s located North of Winston Salem in the most easterly mountains in North Carolina, the Sauratowns. There are some good day hiking trails, including the path to Hanging Rock, waterfalls, as well as other trails along creeks, and up to another overlook at House Rock. We stayed in a cabin for two nights, but there are also campsites available. It’s one of those true natural hiking places where you have to remind yourself that there are no safety measures at the top to stop you from just walking off the ledge.

Among the Rhododendrons

Among the Rhododendrons

Decent cabin with grill which worked just fine for our family.

Decent cabin with grill which worked just fine for our family.

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New bottle openers at the VAE this month

"Eden spotlight" - welds on steel plate

“Eden spotlight” – welds on steel plate

I’ve got a few large “bottle openers” like the one above, amongst others, at the Visual Art Exchange for the month of August. Opening is this first Friday.

"bacon meat" large bottle openers - 1/4" plate steel

“bacon meat” large bottle openers – 1/4″ plate steel

"swiss cheese" bottle openers, copper plated

“swiss cheese” bottle openers, copper plated

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Shepard Fairey back in Charleston, SC

 

"Power and Glory" mural - Shepard Fairey

“Power and Glory” mural – Shepard Fairey

Charleston native Shepard Fairey has painted a series of murals around the city as part of his joint show with Jasper Johns at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art on the College of Charleston Campus.  When I was in Charleston a few weeks ago the gallery was closed, but I did get these pictures of some of the murals around town.

Power and Glory storefront installation

Power and Glory storefront installation

College Lodge Mural

College Lodge Mural

Parking lot mural

Parking lot mural

Here’s a recent video about Shepard’s work that accompanies the exhibition.

mural detail

mural detail

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Silver Springs, Florida

Entry to Silver Springs, near Ocala, Florida

Entry to Silver Springs, near Ocala, Florida

The original tourist attraction in Florida was Silver Springs. Boasting one of the world’s largest freshwater aquifers, Silver Springs was a tourist attraction from back in the mid 1800’s. In the 1870’s the park started offering glass-bottomed boat tours, which allowed occupants to view clear to the bottom of the wildlife and plant abundant waters. These tours are still offered today.

View through the glass bottom of the tour boats

View through the glass bottom of the tour boats

The park is a quiet, welcome retreat after visiting Disney World, and although at one time during the 70’s and 80’s a water park was built to attract more tourism, the current eco-tourism focus of the spring, river, and trails make for a relaxing visit.

This specific type of palm lays out in the sun

Sleeping palm

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