Art that Satisfies

The second installment of southXeast: contemporary southeastern art opened at the Schmidt Center Gallery to a packed crowd on Feb. 8 and students, faculty and staff alike have been enjoying the gallery’s cutting-edge art since its opening night.

Fourteen emerging contemporary artists from seven different southeastern states offer enough unique expression to engage onlookers and satisfy our hunger for substance.

Contemporary appetites often crave deeper perspectives. Recently at the University Galleries these perspectives have been deeply satisfied, as the show’s curator Rod Faulds kicks it up a notch or two. Originally presented in 2005, southXeast is having its second run after a successful initial showing. With the addition of new artists, this run caters to a menu of diversified younger artists with an outstanding variety of seasoning and flavor. The exhibit is so big, in fact, it spans both Boca campus galleries and is currently on display in the Ritter Art Gallery and the Schmidt Center Gallery.

The show presents 14 artists from seven southeastern states. Faulds, also the University Galleries director, worked hands-on with the artists to design and coordinate site-specific programming for all of the unique and detailed installations. According to Faulds, these 14 artists are the “it” of the southeast, being selected out of 300 professional artists from top galleries and museums from all over the nation.

As an art critic I’ve come to appreciate that there is art you don’t have to understand, and art you get instantly. What merges both into a tingling sensation depends on the formal qualities that resonate as you engage in the art. This show has such a range of styles and conceptual overtones; it serves up a good circulation of ideas and repertoire.

SouthXeast is a must see but also a must do. Half the art is interactive; the other half is imaginative and provocative. It’s the perfect combination for anyone with an appetite for substance.

Behind the inspirationIrene Moon, a Florida artist and one of the most intriguing people featured in the show, works with bugs. She is an entomologist, who shares a peculiar fascination for insects with her audience. Her videos are most appreciated for their content on depicting beauty from an insect’s perspective, as she choreographs a fashion show of various insects, part-Barbie and part-moth, butterflies, and other various things.

Tennessee native Jason Briggs has by far the most twisted palette for form, as he admits to wanting “to touch the skin of women in pictures from magazines that entertain men.” His sculpture (pictured at right) is a mixture of clay twisted and folded into sensual forms, jam-packed with crevices and creases. The smooth textures and pinkish likeness resemble human flesh, gifted with pocks and pores, like amorphous body parts highlighted with plucked human hair.

Bonnie Seeman, a professor at the University of Miami, shares a common interest with Moon and Briggs. She is a ceramicist and creates functional works embellishing the beauty and fragility close to human insides. She also is fond of combining insects that are strategically placed around her work.

If you were wondering why teal-green trapezoids have been popping up around the Boca campus, they are a component of Avantika Bawa’s work. The Indian artist received her BFA in India and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and is currently an instructor at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. Bawa is clever to merge a path marked by her teal-trapezoids from the Ritter Art Gallery to the Schmidt Center Gallery. Bawa is known for her site-specific projects that play on space as she designs and builds abstract forms that integrate perspectives within an environment.