Art Gallery of Viera

For this assignment, I visited the Art Gallery of Viera. It is a small gallery that showcases pieces from local artists and regularly hosts calls for art to get more pieces in. There is no distinct style or theme to the gallery itself, and is more focused on the artists themselves and where they come from. This means that there are a lot of different works to look at and investigate, and a lot of things to consider in terms of the visual arts. For this reason, it is a great place to start investigating the visual arts and exploring some of the themes and topics used in local artist’s work.

One of my favorite artists in the gallery was Jerry Hanzl, an artist who works by “painting with photography on a digital canvas”. His works have a very inviting use of color, using bold colors that really catch the eye when walking through the gallery. After looking more closely, the clever surrealism of Hanzl’s works becomes more obvious. The works themselves are very similar to mixed-media collages, but are composed entirely using digital techniques, which is something that I have never seen before. The use of surrealism heavily echoes Dali, who also created a number of surreal-scapes that draw the eye in and make the viewer think about composition.

My favorite piece by Hanzl was entitled “Dancing in the Garden”. It features a vivid blue background with purple tones, and two dancers in the foreground using golden tones. Whilst the faces of the dancers themselves are not visible and shadowed out, there is still a sense of personality in their movement. There is an absence of clear lines in the image, which makes the foreground and the background merge in some ways, which is again something I had not really seen before in the visual arts. As is Hanzl’s style in his other works, it uses a composition of different images to create something which is not entirely harmonious to look at but is somehow still interesting and pleasant to look at.

Susan Stone was another artist displayed at the gallery. Although there were a number of pieces of hers displayed, I did not really enjoy this section of the gallery. Her main focus seems to be nature and uses a watercolor style, which made the pieces less eye-catching amongst the more vibrant colors of Hanzl and the sculptures in the gallery. The works were technically good and it was evident what each of them was supposed to represent, but there was not enough movement or vibrancy in the works for me. One of the works was called Pelican, and the foreground and the background were of similar colors, mostly composed of grey and darker shades of blue. Although it seems as though Stone was attempting realism, the water aspects of the photo did not speak as though they were moving or reflecting.

There was a painting called “Somewhere in the Keys” which had a similar realist style to Susan Stone, but somehow managed to capture the eye more effectively. Painted by Ed Carlson, who sails the “waters of Florida and the Bahamas” to inspire his work, it depicts a set of houses on stilts. The power lines in the painting are crooked, and the stilts that the houses are on also evoke this non-standard shape. This gives the painting a whimsical feeling which really adds to the warmth of the photo. There is also a huge amount of detailing in the composition of the foreground and background: a bush immediately in front, then the beach, then the waters, and the houses in the background, with a shadow of trees behind this. This gives the painting an interesting sense of depth which was absent from Stone’s work and may be why I warmed more to these watercolors.

There are also a number of sculptors and potters displayed at the Art Gallery of Viera. One of these is known as Rudy Pacarro, who creates simple vases and urns for display. Whilst the shapes of the objects themselves are fairly standard, there are elements of color, movement and shape in the designed. The style used by Pacarro is known as Raku pottery, which involves heating pottery until it is set. One bowl was called “sunspot”, which was a simple bowl shape with a decorative yellow rim. Inside, the base was split into white and red with yellow sun lines emerging from it. This was really interesting to me as it had such a feeling of warmth and was something that I could live with. This is interesting as Pacarro says “Raku firing allows me to “live” with my art”.

Larry Buist is another sculptor that is displayed at the Art Gallery of Viera. His works are composed entirely of plywood, but are not furniture. The have a sense of movement to them because Buist uses a lot of fluid lines and tends to avoid square shapes and clean lines which we associate with wood. A lot of his wood sculptures seemed to be very similar in style to one another, and as such they appear to comprise a series rather than a set of individual pieces. One work which caught my eye was called “Bird Too”, which looked a lot like a branch on which a bird would perch. Despite this, Buist is clearly a talented artist because he brought it to life, animating it and making it look both synthetic and natural at once. It was incredibly simple, but somehow complex at the same time.

Photography is an art form that is all around us, but generally not something I go to a gallery for. In the case of the Viera, there were actually many pieces of photography that I really enjoyed. The one that sticks out most is “Mcfarland Park Sunrise”, taken by Ed Scott. It shows a jetty going out into the water and an incredibly captured warm sunset which brings the whole thing alive. The darker foreground and rich orange background is not something common in photos I’ve seen. I really enjoyed looking at this and was probably my favorite image from the gallery experience.

Another one of Scott’s photos that I enjoyed was entitled “Jenny Lake”. This image was a peaceful late setting with a brilliant blue sky. The composition of this photograph was great because it had a lot of empty space in the background which made it uncomplicated to look at. The mountain ranges in the background and the clear blue water added additional depth to the photo, which is something that I increasingly enjoyed throughout my visit. The ripples of the lake were captured excellently and gave a sense of movement to an otherwise still photograph.

Overall, my visit to the Art Gallery of Viera was an interesting experience and I saw a lot of work that used techniques I was not familiar with. It gave me more of a sense of the things I enjoy looking at and what works for me, plus choosing somewhere with a multitude of different artists gave me an insight into some local art I may not have otherwise seen.


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