“Turtle Tracks Art” is the title of the current exhibit at The Hermitage’s Morean Gallery in downtown St. Petersburg. This beautiful display of 20 paintings by Destination Tampa Bay artist Diane V. Radel, is based on the actual tracks made by loggerhead sea turtles as the mother turtle struggles out of the Atlantic Ocean onto the sandy beach to return to the exact place where she herself was born.
The luxury apartment building known as The Hermitage is located at 700 1st. Ave. S. in Downtown St. Petersburg. The exhibit will continue at The Hermitage until November 15. The Hermitage Morean Gallery space is open to the public during sales office hours which are currently, Monday thru Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 pm, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12 noon to 5 p.m. Turtle Art Ginny Rae (LEFT)
“Turtle Tracks Art” is a series of acrylic abstracts inspired by the artist’s visit to Melbourne Beach in 2017 when she saw a mama sea turtle return to her own birthplace to lay her eggs and continue the cycle of life. More than 25,000 nests lay within the 20-mile stretch between Melbourne Beach and the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.
Each year from March to October, more than 100 female sea turtles leave the relative safety of the ocean waters and lumber up the slope of sand to deposit eggs. If the nests remain undisturbed and conditions are just right, months later the baby turtles still blinking to adjust to the new world around them and lucky to measure a thumb in length, must scamper into the ocean waters to escape winged predators and then be fortunate enough to catch a current that carries them on to a great adventure. This cycle dates back over 100 million years. A similar process takes place on some of the beaches adjoining the Gulf of Mexico. Artwork (RIGHT) Nascence
The “Turtle Tracks Art” exhibit combines technology with creativity. Diane Radel used IOT technology to record the actual turtle tracks that formed the basis for her works and now has added her own descriptions through PixelStix-enabled content that visitors can use to gain the artist’s personal insights into her work. Each of the paintings in the display has embedded video content that form an artist-conducted docent tour that brings each painting to life. (RIGHT-NASCENCE- photo of actual sea turtle tracks used.
Paintings in the exhibit are available tor purchase, and Radel donates a portion of the proceeds to the Sea Turtle Conservancy to support its work in protecting this endangered species. Exhibitions at the Hermitage’s public art space are managed by the Morean Arts Center’s curator Amanda Cooper, who was captivated not only by Radel’s art but the story that inspires her work.
According to Cooper, “The artist enhances the viewer experience with a unique approach to using technology (PixelStix) to amplify her art. There is a computer circuit attached to the backside of each piece of art near Radel’s signature. When you download the free PixelStix app and point your phone at the signature, a video of the artist appears with detail on the sea turtle track in the individual painting appears.”
Diane V. Radel explains that she paints the actual turtle tracks in an abstract manner using “uplifting” colors, giving them vitality and positivity. There is symbolic, as well as actual, beauty in the topographical nature of these tracks. She adds that there is comfort in the repeated rhythm of nature—”morning comes after night, Spring comes after Winter, sea turtles return home to nest as they have since dinosaurs roamed our earth. ” (RIGHT-Turtle Track Art-Transcendence)
“This is how art becomes a shared experience, connecting the viewer to the moment, with something bigger than themselves,” she says. “This allows people to connect with me as an artist, and see my motivation and passionate belief that we can work together as a global community to conserve our oceans, as well as all living things that depend on it.”
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