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ALTARed STATES: From the Collection

Deborah Masters: Spirits

October 6, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Deborah Masters: Spirits will feature a dramatic display of sculptural heads, which measure three to five feet in height and are suspended from the ceiling. Created over a span of three decades, these striking and stoic Spirits are an expression of Masters’ vision of humans and animals in their social, existential, and spiritual dimensions, evoking the essence of people that have been a significant presence in the artist’s life. Among them are Dionysis, represented as the artist’s Greek father who died before she was born, and Frida Kahlo, distinguished by her facial features, flowered wedding veil, and distinctive necklace. John Mendelsohn has written that, “They are like icons, figures of our world and at the same time elevated into another realm by the human act of veneration.”

Interpretations of humans and animals that Masters has encountered are also included in the exhibition as Little Spirits made of clay. The Little Spirits are quirky individuals, some grave, others humorous or winsome, with sheath-like garments in a variety of colors.

In her mixed media works and drawings, Masters finds inspiration from Medieval art and her time spent in Rome, Italy, New Mexico and Mexico. Her series of painted wooden crosses depict biblical iconography and narratives of global crises including tsunamis and the plight of refugees in the Middle East. Together, the Crosses bear witness to a troubled world of beauty and spiritual promise. A series of Masters’ figurative drawings capture the strength and solemnity of her large-scale sculptures. Rendered with a graphic energy, her subjects transform into archetypal presences.

Masters earned her BFA in 1973 from Bryn Mawr College and studied at The New York Studio School.  An early formative influence was working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where she studied Egyptian, Chinese (the tomb figures), Greek, Etruscan, and African art. At artist Philip Guston’s advice and encouragement, she departed for Italy in 1997 to learn about the transformative effects of light and she published a book of her drawings. Masters’ notable public projects include Walking New York, twenty-eight painted reliefs at John F. Kennedy Airport, Terminal Four, Immigration Hall, and Coney Island Reliefs, on the Ocean Parkway Viaduct, for the MTA, Brooklyn, New York. Other installations include the Whitney Museum at Phillip Morris, New York; Three Sisters, CSU Chico, California; and Travelers at Audubon Park, New Orleans. Masters has had solo exhibitions at Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, NY; Long Island University, Brooklyn; and Smack Mellon Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.

Deborah Masters: Spirits is organized through Katharine T. Carter & Associates.

October 6, 2019 – January 5, 2020

ALTARed STATES explores the spiritual realm through sculpture, painting, photography and mixed-media works from the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art’s permanent collection. Contemporary artists offer other-worldly perspectives on ceremony, ritual and spirituality.

Ghostly images of saints, angels and cosmic beings are conjured from the depths of memory and divine inspiration in prints by Leonard Baskin and Odilon Redon, drawings by Abraham Rattner and photographs by Melanie Walker, Robert von Sternberg and Sheila Pinkel.

Contemporary artists including Jack King, Peter Lenzo, Virginia Scotchie, Mitchell Gaudet, Maria Emilia, David McCarthy and Jack Breit, among others, pay homage to sacred artifacts and altar pieces through mixed-media sculpture. Made of clay, glass, wood and found objects, many of these mysterious sculptural works reference religious iconography or ritualistic narratives. Reimagined as reliquaries and altars, they contemplate personal devotion and connect us to a world beyond the physical realm.

Spirits of Tarpon Springs by Dr. Brandy StarkThursday, October 31, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Dr. Brandy Stark, co-founder of SPIRITS of St. Petersburg, will present Spirits of Tarpon Springs. This is a student-centered event but is also open to the public. Halloween refreshments will be served and costumes are welcome.

Spiritualism Around the World by Dr. Teresa Wilkins – Sunday, November 3, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Travel around with world with LRMA’s director and learn about the cultures that influence Deborah Masters’ work. Some of the places you will visit include Indonesia, Nigeria and Mexico.

Spirits and Their StoriesSaturday, November 16, 2019, 11:00 – 3:30 p.m.

Join the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art and the Tarpon Springs Area Historical Society for an intriguing, double-venue program. Spirits and Their Stories begins at LRMA with a Curator’s Tour of the special exhibitions at 11:00, follows with a light lunch at the museum, and ends at Cycadia Cemetery from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. with walking tours led by reenactors who share life stories of historical figures buried at the cemetery. Admission, including lunch, is $15 for adults 18 and older and $13 for seniors 62 and older. RSVP by November 13 at the LRMA Visitor Services Desk or online at: Admission for Cycadia Cemetery is free, but donations are welcome.

Robert Coon: Intersection

November 17, 2019 – May 31, 2020

From November 17, 2019 to May 31, 2020, Robert Coon: Intersection will make a bold statement in yellow as an abstract outdoor sculpture on the museum’s Terrace Gallery. Vero Beach artist Robert Coon celebrates color and form while exploring the beauty of the negative spaces between intersecting abstract shapes. With a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture and printmaking from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Coon has been working as a sculptor for more than fifty years. His outdoor sculpture has been shown nationally, including at the University of Arizona Art Museum, Florida State University, Miami University, the Mint Museum of Art and the Butler Institute for American Art.

Also on View: Rattner and Surrealism; Artistic Journeys; Elemental: Fine Crafts from the Collection; and 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 6,000 works of 20th and 21st century art. The nucleus of 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; and Allen Leepa, Rattner’s step-son 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 and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Friday, and 1 – 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and free to children, students and active military with ID. On Sundays, docent tours are offered at 2 p.m. (included with admission fee). The museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays. Isabelle’s Museum Store is open during regular business hours. Additional information available at

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 For more information, contact Cheyenne Jaglal or visit High-resolution photography available upon request.

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