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9/24/2009

The Arts

Culture 2 Go

 

Feed hope now
Portraits of Hunger Showcase
7:30 p.m. Sept. 30 at Eden Bar
1300 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland
407-295-1066
www.feedhopenow.org
Free; bring food donations

These three words, “Feed hope now,” are what you need to remember in order to plug into the new fundraising efforts at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. The new web address for the nonprofit is www.feedhopenow.org, though the old address will still take you to the site. And you’ll want to visit often to see the growing variety of projects and promotions dedicated to feeding the hungry in our community.

One of those projects is the Portraits of Hunger photo competition, which is actually in its second year, but it’s the first time that the images and voting – which was open to the public – were available online. And that was a very positive move, says Maria Diestro, the online services and communications manager; more than 700 votes were tallied at the close of polling Sept. 18.

The top three vote-getters have moved on to the final judging, which takes place Sept. 30 at Enzian Theater’s Eden Bar in Maitland. They are “Snack Time Smiles,” by Sharon Smith; “Courage,” by G.K. Sharman; and “Loneliness,” by Bernard Juskie. The winner will be chosen by judges Sara Van Arsdel of the Orange County Regional History Center, Josh Garrick of Millenia Fine Art, and Dave Krepcho, president of Second Harvest Food Bank.

Raising awareness of the search for a solution to the hunger problem is a year-round challenge, but September is dedicated as Hunger Action Month. Diestro and co-workers developed a “30 Ways in 30 Days” calendar, which lists daily ways to contribute, including dining on special days at area restaurants that’ll kick back money to the food bank.

Diestro says that September’s momentum will continue to build throughout the difficult food-centric fall season, when holidays hit and there’s never enough to keep the shelves filled. Keep checking the calendar at www.feedhopenow.org to see changing offers and new ideas that make it easier for people to make a difference.

Lindy T. Shepherd

Feeling the heat
Believe the Hype
Through Oct. 3 at Bold Hype Gallery
1844 E. Winter Park Road
407-629-2965
www.boldhype.net
Free

To remind us of the power of the South Florida art scene, Dustin Orlando – a transplant here from Miami – has produced a special show that mixes some of his former hometown artists with his own work, as well as that of Eric Althin of the hosting Bold Hype Gallery. Miami’s intensity, energy and style have always made Orlando seem sleepy and innocent by contrast, and after seeing this exhibition it feels only more so. It’s as if the calling card left by these artists serves as a virtual wake-up call to the monster scene down south.

The opening-night live rat installed in artist Parail’s “Feats That Will Amaze You” has since been replaced by a rubber version, but the trapped-rat intensity still simmers in the work. Other representatives from the Magic City area are Francesco LoCastro, Johnny Robles, Blackbooks, Rocky Grimes, Mat Curran, Brandon Dunlap and Adriaan Mol.

Althin’s “Felix,” an abominable snowman bound for Art Basel Miami, is a perfect mascot for the show – white, cuddly, yet representing subhuman horror – to which most of the artists allude in their own way.

Blackbooks, a laser woodcut studio, makes the nihilistic point in crowded post-pop signage pieces such as “Pop Pills,” which celebrates the drug culture with a postwar advertising clown.

Grimes and Dunlap also use and abuse images from pop culture for their style of self-expression; Grimes with gritty city scenes such as “Broke” and “Escaping the Trap Time,” Dunlap with “Hundred Eyed Giant,” a ball of oddly familiar cartoon figures, all with large, bright blue eyes that transform from cute to menacing to cute again as it’s being viewed.

Across the gallery, Curran’s marvelously gnarled and angsty pen-and-ink figures reek of incarceration. “Eight Count on Lockdown,” a string-pull jumping jack, speaks for them all, his eyes imploringly staring out of a violent visage, lips agape and teeth bared in an impotent snarl. Intense frustration tinged with hopelessness emanates from these disembodied faces.

In contrast, Robles’ eyeless woman (“Hyperopia”) seems befitting our times, her face cast upward, freed from retinal distractions. Somehow this portrait feels cold and alienating without the eyes, though ceiling-mounted pocket lasers, pointed to where they should be, bounced off the glass of the frame.

It’s about time someone went truly three-dimensional with street art, and Mol’s graf tag, titled “Sting of the Rocktopus,” hovers above the gallery, glistening white. As sculpture, graffiti is remarkably transformed, and Mol has taken advantage of this by using the solid-void interplay to elevate his tag into something with movement, architecture and a kind of crude grace.

It is LoCastro’s contributions that appear to be most emblematic of Miami. In “The Protector,” a young girl squints in the blinding light surrounding a huge insectlike form; in “Where Fear and Weapons Meet Human Despair,” a horrific winged skeleton rises above a sleeping single-family subdivision house; in “Ghost Shark,” the savage figure glitters like a slickly packaged toy. A chimera, LoCastro works with multiple styles from surreal to sci-fi and portrays life gone out of control in a city as alienating as it is intoxicating.

Rex Thomas

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