Wednesday, December 18, 2013

See Art Orlando

I went to Loft 55 Gallery and Boutique (55 West Church Street, suite 114, Orlando, Fl), curated by Ashlie Lawson, to see  an interactive performance concept by Stephen AG Carey. This local artist will be locked within a gallery to only portray the messages given to him by the community. He calls this exhibit "Messages 4 the Cure" to help advocate for those who have survived, still battling or lost their lives to cancer. People were able to write a message and tape it to the gallery windows for those individuals who survived, are still battling, or lost their lives to cancer. The artist then rewrote the messages onto an art piece hanging on the galleries wall.

Unfortunately when I arrived a little before rush hour, a sign on the door said the artist was out for a three hour break. The painting in progress had maybe ten lines of copy written into the piece. The writing was too small for me to read. The painting was far from complete. This was a sad excuse for performance art. The concept was good but the execution wasn't great. I lost interest and left.

Since I still needed to do a sketch, I hiked to Lake Eola to sketch one of the new See Art Orlando sculptures of a flock of gulls swooping over the lake. See Art Orlando's mission is to enhance the aesthetic experience and cultural image of Downtown Orlando through a major Public Sculpture Community Project. The installation of iconic works of art throughout the City will bring National and International attention to Orlando and will add to the economic viability of the community.

The flock was sculpted by Douwe (“Dow”, a Dutch name) Blumberg. He came to his art career by a rather circuitous route. Born in Los Angeles of two amateur artists. During a childhood that was almost a continual art education, he spent some formative years in Europe being exposed to western artistic traditions. Later he attended the University of Southern California’s prestigious Idyllwild School of the Arts and Music. This was followed up with four years of sculpture/metal working education during which he won many national awards. His education was capped by an apprenticeship at a CA art foundry where he mastered the many facets of creating bronzes. He attributes his ability to work in varied techniques and styles to this style of learning.

Upon graduation however, he did not immediately pursue an art career. Instead, he became a professional horse trainer, a career he pursued for 18 years at his ranch outside of L.A. Gradually, however, he started sculpting again, albeit part time, and began accepting commissions. As demand for his work grew, he was forced to choose between the two careers; his lifelong passion of sculpting won out. Closing his barn in 2000, he relocated to centrally located Kentucky where he has a studio and home north of Lexington. Douwe has completed well over 200 private and public commissions and has numerous awards, residencies and shows to his credit.

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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