A 'Winter Show' of Experimental Art; San Marco Gallery Exhibits the Work of Regional Artists

Article excerpt

Byline: TANYA PEREZ-BRENNAN, The Times-Union

Standing outside the entrance to the Spiller Vincenty Gallery in San Marco, you might be struck by the look in the eyes of a boy in a painting staring back at you.

This is a boy with a haunting gaze, almost daring you to come in the gallery, enticing you to see its Winter Show, which you can catch tonight at the gallery's holiday party from 7-10 p.m. The show opened Nov. 4 and runs through Saturday, Jan. 3.

This exhibit showcases new work by five regional artists, two of whom are from Jacksonville. These are all fairly well-known mid-career practitioners: Tony Rodrigues, Thomas Hager, Hal Hackendale, Troy Wandzel and Alan Caomin Xie.

What makes the show unique is that all of the work is new and experimental.

"It's all breakthrough work," said gallery co-owner, Marilyn Vincenty. "I just think the work is fresh. All these guys are experimenting and exploring all the time."

Some of the most compelling work can be seen in the still image paintings done by Xie.

"He takes classical images and then distorts them," said gallery manager Tony Versus.

Xie has two pieces with images of the Greek goddess Medusa. One painting, done in pink, looks like two Medusa heads converging or in motion, with lines cut across.

The method Xie uses is extremely innovative. He paints an image, Versus said, then uses a special pre-cut tape and applies it over the image, and paints a second time to touchup any details. It looks as if the artist took a ruler and literally drew lines onto the canvas. The result is an almost two-dimensional sensation, which seems to give the image more texture and life.

While all of the styles represented are unique -- with 33 works total -- some of the work may seem a little too experimental. Take Hackendale's wooden sculptures. He cuts pieces of wood into grids and squares, glues them together, and then paints them in varying colors.

"It represents the human desire for order and this is the chaos," said Versus, pointing to the circular repetition of one of the sculptures. …