Sandra Scheetz-Wise’s piece titled “Economy” spoke volumes tonight at The Orlando Museum of Art. Encapsulating the atmosphere of drunk well-to-dos shmoozing it up with well-known and other wannabe local artists, you can really see the allegorical theme of the rich devouring the poor, taking elements from Scheetz-Wise’s paintings and extrapolating her concept on the entire array of people who bumped and pushed one another to find their way from the Bak Lava table to the belly dancers in the next room.
There was one artist who really caught my eye, by the name of Tony Mikulka, who’s individual paintings are going for $400 a piece. His work is akin to that of the finger paintings of an over-eccentric five-year-old just screaming for a way to ensnare the attention of his workaholic mommy.
Julie Dunsworth has a painting on display, a tribute to Gustave Courbet, called “Window into the Sea of Normandy,” with a floating fence above a skeletal bird of no species in particular all set adjacent to a scene from the shores of Normandy, circa World War II.
Gabriela Esteban’s “Humble Crow” looked like a mixed media representation of some of Andrew Spear’s artwork. Using different layers to emphasize the personage of a woman attempting to devour a book of nursery rhymes whole, black crows and a blueberry pie are other pieces of the puzzle which draw the eye back to the magazine cut-out lettering shouting out the name of the painting, as if we couldn’t read it on the artist’s statement on the wall beside it.
For the most part, the art featured in Orlando Museum of Art’s 1st Thursday’s event, “For the Birds,” is easy to overlook, but there are a few extraordinary exceptions.
After the first hour or so, I almost begged the gods to see some work by Maus Corderman who would indeed poke fun at the whole affair, but once you get comfortable enough to politely prod the people around you who are scared you may bruise their delicately botoxed skin, you can sort of skim the surface of different works while your feet do a little shuffle of their own.
Danielle Degugliomo’s “Chicken” is spectacular, for instance. Faint hints of an interstellar grid bring the focus toward the center of the painting, where the lower half of a chicken is caught among cut-outs of architecture and other abstract elements. It’s as if the poor bird is fighting a losing battle against time as he’s ripped apart in space, replete with bloody clouds of smoke and stars to keep the eye wandering.
And a word about Denisse Berlingeri’s sculptures: Her heritage can be experienced through witnessing the three magnificent works of art on display in the room to the left of the center room of the museum. She said she uses the shape of a heart in all of her sculptures.
“The heart is my symbol,” she says as she pulls a portfolio the size of a photo album from out of her purse. “I use it in all my pieces.”
A fellow artist, Paulo Jimenez, who doesn’t have any work which features birds–this is one requirement for the artwork tonight–revolved around Berlinger’s sculptures like a dancing bee looking for a partner to share his thoughts with.
“I think it’s well done,” Jimenez said about Berlinger’s centerpiece. “And it’s harmonious. It looks like the person took the time to worry about the details. It looks finished.”
Berlinger’s inspiration for the sculpture came one day when she was meditating by the pool.
“It’s funny because I hear [the bird] all the time, imitating the sounds around him, but it’s sad because he is in a cage.” Lifting her hand to indicate her sculpture of the bird perched atop a tower of glass in the form of a mosaic, “So I made his own paradise,” she said with a smile.
There was also a creative little trio of owls made entirely out of pieces of newspaper and sheets printed with QR codes.
Scanning the room, looking from sculptures to photos, to paintings, I must say I noticed the brush strokes of Ania Antolak’s “Peace in Paradise” are drawn from a skilled hand. She said she trained in Poland to learn how to paint.
“I went to the Sanford Zoo and got the idea for these paintings,” she said. “I go with my kids, take my camera and add my own expression to the painting.”
To end the event on a sour note, there were still people admiring the works of the artists, even as the painters, photographers and sculptors themselves were stripping the walls of the privilege of bearing their paintings. Maybe the attendees were just too content, with their $5 wine sampling in one hand and $3 hummus and chips in the other, to get the hint that the show was over.
The last person I talked to was Sandra Scheetz-Wise, herself, who told me about the originality of her paintings. With the vision of vultures tricking dodo birds into falling into a tear in the fabric of history, she executed her ideas very well through her verbal explanation of her work and in the work itself.
“The vultures are the rich,” Scheetz-Wise said. “They don’t pay taxes; it doesn’t trickle down. It’s the middle class that creates jobs,” she said in addition to an anecdote she shared with me about an argument she just had with someone who wanted to know more about her painting and instead decided to tell her what to think.
She said the melting lightbulbs held from the tips of fingers sprouting from hands growing up from out of the trunk of a tree relate to energy, exemplifying the fact that all of life and all of creativity stem from one and the same.
Her paint-splattered purse and cellphone do all the talking, but I’d like to say that this woman is the true artist of the night, aside from Jaime Margary of course who’s work was scattered throughout the museum in different shadowboxes on display.
His work was also featured in the short film called, “Bird in My Window,” which can be viewed on YouTube.