Saturday, June 26, 2010

Neon Forest

Neon Forest Gallery (1741 South Orange Avenue) opened its doors for the first time with a gallery show entitled "Welcome to the Forest." This show was four months in the making with floors being painted and walls prepared. The gallery partners are Dustin Orlando, Scott Donald, Sean Hartman and Jason Dwarzski. When I arrived, Scott Donald was out back in the parking lot putting finishing touches on the DRES13 piece entitled "Guerrera." It was decided that it would be nice to match the colors between the pieces DRES13 was hanging in the show . So some washes of green and red were added along with a light dry brush effect of white in select spots.
TU TU Tango was setting up a food tent and there were plenty of drinks on ice. Dustin, one of the partners in the venture walked outside and looked at the looming clouds on the horizon. He said to himself, "Come on God, Work with me. Well at least it's not windy." When he went back inside thunder rumbled. He said they were expecting two hundred people to show up to this inaugural opening. Rain could dampen everything. He hoped it would just sweep through quickly and then dry up. A hard wind blew through the lot and lifted up one of the tents sending it into the air like a parachute. Three of us ran and grabbed the legs before it disappeared. Several people worked on strapping the tent down. Then the rain came.
Inside the gallery I discovered the work of Nicholas Gazin, a Brooklyn based artist who does amazing line drawings of people copulating and strange portraits with titles like, I want your Damage, Suicide Bombing Aftermath, and House of Spirits. Disturbing and thought provoking I wanted to see more. I spoke with Scott for a while and checked out his piece in the show called, "Spirit Bear in the Golden Age of Jihad. " I then spoke to Tanya Dickie for quite sometime and I found out she posts a picture a day on flickr. This common thread of creating something everyday and posting it, I had to follow up on, and in time I convinced her to show me her work using the gallery's computer. She started one of her series on September 11th because she had been in the World Trade Center a month before the attack. Like many people that day left a scar that has never fully healed. I sat in my camping chair and watched the limitless possibilities found in taking a photo a day. I felt I really got to learn something about each of the artists I met that night. This was one of the more rewarding openings I had attended lately. I felt elated that the arts are very much alive here in Orlando.
It was easy to drive by the gallery without noticing it and being in SODO it might not get the foot traffic of a downtown gallery. Still, the show was exciting and unexpected. I am hoping they have lasting success.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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