by Julia Billington, arts enthusiast and honey bee defender.
St. Petersburg is characterized for being known as a unique, international destination for artists and viewers. At the Mindy Solomon Gallery, located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, the Meditative Journeys exhibit is showcasing two prominent South Korean artists whose pieces are enlightening St. Petersburg College students to the meditative ideals of the East .
The two South Korean artists whose works are being displayed at the gallery are Sungyee Kim and Kang Hyo Lee. Sungyee Kim explores the artistic realm of the I Ching through thick layers of paint that give the canvases a smooth, tactile quality. Each piece uses neutral tones that rhythmically entrance the viewer into the classic I Ching motif of experiencing a “reflection of the universe in miniature.” The artist explains her view of the pieces: “A painting’s artificial, two-dimensional surface requires pure belief in spiritual values. It opens a door to the ideal. Nature is not comprehensible. Neither is a good artwork, because it resembles nature…A good artwork can only show the endeavor to reach the answer.”
Kang Hyo Lee uses the traditional Bun-cheong method in the creation of his ceramic pieces to unify the ancient and modern cultural ideals of South Korea. The designs relate to a utilitarian functionality which harmonizes with the beauty and simplicity of the neutral tone bases of the glazes and etchings.
The Mindy Solomon Gallery and other galleries in the Tampa Bay area are providing an opportunity for students to experience exotic works which allow for a cultural exchange of ideologies to take place. The students of SPC have different opinions of how the arts are affecting the local area in a positive way. Josh Brown, the House Manager at Studio@620, says that, “the arts are having a rebirth in St. Pete, creating a new urban renaissance.” Zachary Douglas, a student at SPC, feels that, “as a community, local art is prevalent through
out the city and especially in the galleries that reside downtown.” St. Petersburg College offers students the opportunity to follow their artistic passion and earn an A.S. Degree in Performing, Visual, Music, or Digital/Applied Arts.
The expression of a “starving artist” may not be a correct way of characterizing a future in the arts anymore either. According to a report published in 2009 by Americans for the Arts, Florida’s nonprofit arts and cultural industry generated $3.1 billion in economic activity in 2008 while also providing 88,236 full time jobs.
Being culturally involved in the arts in Tampa Bay is a characteristic that makes the area a unique place to live and visit. New events are happening monthly that students can participate in. Participating in the arts reflects positively on the students of SPC who are recognized for being open-minded and artistically conscious individuals.
For more information about upcoming exhibits and hours of service at the Mindy Solomon Gallery click here or call 727-502-0852.
Photos provided by mindysolomon.com