On Exhibitions that Celebrate Florida’s Finest Craft Artists.
The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art (LRMA) launches a new season of exhibitions that celebrate Florida’s finest craft artists in collaboration with Florida CraftArt. In addition, the summer heats up with exhibitions that explore the diverse experiences of Latin American artists from the LRMA collection.
Material Mastery: Florida CraftArt Permanent Collection of Fine Crafts
June 10 through August 27, 2023
Material Mastery: Florida CraftArt Permanent Collection of Fine Crafts, on view June 10 through August 27, 2023, features more than forty-five fine craft artists from throughout the state of Florida who represent our rich cultural heritage and push the boundaries of fine craft. This summer, LRMA is delighted to partner with Florida CraftArt to bridge the gap between North and South Pinellas County and highlight their permanent collection that is an enduring contribution to Florida’s cultural heritage.
Florida CraftArt is a vibrant organization that has been at the center of downtown St. Petersburg’s artistic renaissance for over 40 years. Organized as a traveling exhibition, Material Mastery debuts Florida CraftArt’s permanent collection for the first time in the Tampa Bay area at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, located at St. Petersburg College’s Tarpon Springs Campus.
This collection recognizes the significance of Florida’s fine craft art in our broad artistic landscape, documents the rich tradition of craft art statewide and beyond, and educates and inspires future generations of artists. Featuring ceramics,
fibers, glass, jewelry, mixed media, and wood, this exhibition includes a roster of who’s who in the world of fine craft such as James Bassham, Chuck Boux (feature image above), Nancy Cervenka, Christine Federighi, Leeann Kroetsch and rising stars like Nneka Jones, whose mixed-media embroidery work was featured on the cover of TIME magazine in 2020.
Beyond LRMA’s two large special exhibition galleries featuring Florida CraftArt’s collection, Material Mastery continues with pairings of fine craft art from the LRMA Collection that extends this visually stimulating open dialog throughout the galleries. Throughout the museum, connections are made between Abraham Rattner’s modernist tapestries, which were produced in the world-renowned Ein Hod textile workshop in Israel, with works in glass, weaving, and ceramics by Florida’s award-winning artists Duncan McClellan, Calan Ree, Bonnie Seeman, William Kidd, Leslie Dill, and Josette Urso.
Strange animals portrayed in bold and richly textured woodcuts by Charles Hewitt reflect similar themes and styles of sculptor Paul Eppling’s Pablo’s Pup metal sculpture. Also highlighted are works by two of Florida CraftArt’s former Executive Director Michele Tuegel and CEO Katie Deits, who are artists and helped to shape the direction of the organization over the years.
Material Mastery’s heavy focus on fiber arts also complements the Dunedin Fine Art Center’s (DFAC) summer exhibitions which opened on June 16th. Joint programming between LRMA, DFAC and FCA planned for later this summer will encourage a dialog on fibers and fine craft throughout all three organizations.
Do I Know My Own Shadow: Latin Artists from the LRMA Collection
July 1 through September 3, 2023
For decades, the United States has struggled to define Latin America and its kaleidoscope of ethnic diversity—Latino/a, Hispanic, Latinx. The contemporary discourse surrounding this identity can leave many feelings lost in referencing an incredibly vast and ethnically diverse region of the world. This exhibition, titled after the work by Maggie Foskett, Do I Know My Own Shadow, carries the weight of many questions in contemporary dialogue surrounding the Latino/a/x identity. Through the lens of the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art’s permanent collection, artists come together as a chorus of unique voices and experiences, calling attention to contemporary discussions of cultural heritage representation. This intimate exhibition highlights eleven photographs and fine art prints by Florida artists Carlos Betancourt, Ernesto Blanco, Maggie Foskett, Tomas Marias, Selina Román and Oscar Vargas. A second exhibition from the collection is planned for the fall to coincide with programming in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art recently hosted a gallery talk about collecting contemporary fine craft art with Florida CraftArt’s CEO Katie Deits. To view the recorded program, please visit LRMA’s YouTube channel https://youtu.be/jeBtsw-jrnw
LRMA will continue to add engaging programs about fine crafts throughout the summer. For up-to-date information, please visit www.leeparattner.org/calendar
Also on View: Abraham Rattner: French Watercolors; Artistic Journeys with Abraham Rattner, Esther Gentle and Allen Leepa; Elemental: Fine Crafts from the Collection; Made in Florida: The Art of Giving.
About the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art
Opened to the public in 2002, LRMA is a modern and contemporary art museum with a collection of more than 7,000 works of 20th and 21st century art. The museum’s permanent collection includes works by Abraham Rattner, a renowned figurative expressionist; Esther Gentle, Rattner’s second wife and a printmaker, sculptor, and painter; Allen Leepa, Rattner’s stepson and an abstract expressionist artist; and an extensive collection of works by notable 20th century artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger, and Henry Moore. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, a distinction held by only 6 percent of all U.S. museums.
LRMA is located just west of U.S. Highway 19 at 600 E. Klosterman Road, on the Tarpon Springs Campus of St. Petersburg College. Museum hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission by donation. The museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays. Additional information is available at leeparattner.org.
Content and artwork provided by Leepa-Rattner Museum for editorial purposes only–all rights reserved. Feature image: by Chuck Boux glass artwork title “Bird Island, Florida” . Other artwork as noted.
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