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Three distinct styles represented in new GCMA exhibitions
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Japanese Lantern-close by Josette Urso
On Edge Carambolla by Richard Currier
Filmed Edifice PAC by Bianca Pratorius
LARGO - The Gulf Coast Museum of Art presents high-quality, diverse exhibitions that educate, challenge and inspire the museum visitor. The Museum proudly announces the opening of "Josette Urso: Landscapes/City Scenes," "Richard Currier: New Work," and "Bianca Pratorius: Filmed Edifices." The exhibitions will run Feb. 25 through April 23.

An opening reception is planned for Friday, Feb. 24, 7 to 9 p.m., in the museum galleries. Artist Josette Urso will lead a gallery walk-through at 6 p.m., followed at 6:30 p.m. by artist Richard Currier. Admission is free for museum members and $10 for guests.

"Josette Urso: Landscapes/City Scenes" will be displayed in Gallery One.

A native of Tampa and a graduate of the University of South Florida, Urso has been a New York City artist for the past 18 years. This body of work reflects Urso's environment and day-to-day life in New York City, as well as her travels to other countries.

The technical virtuosity of the oil paintings and ink drawings is matched equally by the sensitivity she exhibits to day-to-day life. Whether in the city or the countryside, she is an artist engaged in her world, observing much that most take for granted.

She has exhibited broadly in the United States and Europe, and her work is in numerous prestigious collections including the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, and the Fine Arts Museum of Long Island.

"Richard Currier: New Work" will be displayed in the Rhonda Newberry Reed Gallery.

Currier brings a quality to his large-scale still life paintings, which transcend representation and imbues the subject with a master painter's hand, a quiet mystery and the deft handling of light and atmosphere.

Whether his subjects are watermelons, mangos or carambolla, the pieces take on a transcendent life of their own. Educated at the Ringling School of Art and Design, Currier has further studied in Amsterdam and Paris.

"Bianca Pratorius: Filmed Edifices" will be displayed in the Banks Gallery and the Peter Brown Gallery.

Much like a face, the city is composed of elements that give it character and uniqueness. Bianca Pratorius is continually drawn to buildings or sites under construction, finding balance and rhythm in their geometric supporting structures.

She takes the structures out of their proposed context, decomposes and reintroduces them, thus distorting their original functionality. This process of decomposition is crucial to her work and it represents one of a city's foremost characteristics, which is activity. After all, a city is never static or complete.

Currently on display through Feb. 26, "Taking Shape: Pinellas County 6-8" Part of the Progress Energy Series, features artwork from the county's public and private middle schools. The delightful and colorful exhibitions spotlight the importance of art education in our schools and recognize the excellent efforts of art teachers and students.

Other activities at the GCMA in February include the following.


Feb. 1 to 28, Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sunday, 2 p.m. (excluding holidays and dates when monthly series films are scheduled)- "Faith Ringgold: The Last Story Quilt" (28 min.) Faith Ringgold's ongoing vision is to present a realistic view of the black woman in society, and this film shows how her education, drive and perseverance enabled her to fulfill her dream of becoming an artist.

First developing the "Black Light" color palette with painting, she later began working with quilts at the suggestion of her mother, a fashion designer, and brought a new appreciation to fiber arts as a means of expression. Her work is in the collections of major museums, such as the Guggenheim and Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and collectors such as Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby. Free.

Feb. 18, 1 p.m., Family Classic Films "Stuart Little" (1999/85min./PG). Join the fun as the Little family adopts a spunky little boy named Stuart who looks a lot like a mouse. The parents (played by Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie) fall in love with Stuart immediately, but the older son, George isn't so sure. As Stuart tries to win him over with hilarious feats of daring, the family cat, Snowbell, gets involved with a bunch of shady felines who devise a dastardly plan to get him out of the house - permanently! With uproarious hijinks and state-of-the-art special effects, this film will keep everyone laughing. Free.

Feb. 19, 1 p.m., International Film Series "Kikujiro" (2000/115 min./PG13/Japanese w/ English Subtitles). This is the tale of a lonely boy who leaves Tokyo in search of the mother he has never met, accompanied by a surly, middle-aged petty crook named Kikujiro who is none too happy being a chaperone. When he gambles away all of the boy's travel money, the two must rely on their wits and the kindness of colorful strangers. They share wild and unpredictable adventures along the way and end up in a destination neither of them could have ever imagined in this warm and inviting film. Admission is free.

Feb. 26, 1 p.m., Pinewood Opera Series "Jekyll and Hyde" (132 min.).

Presented in partnership with the Pinellas Opera League. Free.


Feb. 17, 11 to 11:30 a.m., a new program offered on the third Tuesday of each month, this presentation features a docent discussing a work of art from the Museum's permanent collection. An interactive discussion with audience participation will involve information about the art and artist as well as issues related to understanding and interpreting contemporary art. Free with paid admission.

Feb. 25, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Florida African American Heritage Celebration, this annual Pinewood Cultural Park festival features special entertainment at the Museum for families and children, including storytelling, puppet theater, dancers, musicians, hands-on art making and more. The galleries will be open free to the public from 11 a.m. to 4p.m. Activities will also take place throughout the park at Heritage Village and the Florida Botanical Gardens. Free.

Permanent Collection Exhibitions

The Gulf Coast Museum of Art is committed to collecting contemporary Florida art, dating from 1960 forward, and American fine crafts from the 12 Southeastern states.

Six permanent collection galleries are open year-round. The exhibitions explore such ideas as the evolving approach to landscape by contemporary artists, the use of the human figure in contemporary art, the examination of artwork emanating from artists addressing personal or societal issues as increasingly evident in the post-modern tendency, the contemporary artist's use of visual metaphors to communicate ideas and to stimulate a dialogue imbued with layers of interpretation, as well as documenting craft artists at work.

The Gulf Coast Museum of Art has more than 30 outdoor sculptures permanently installed on the Museum complex grounds and interspersed within the Botanical Gardens. When visiting the Museum, an informational map is available to guide viewers through the pathways leading to each sculpture.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.; and closed on Monday.

Admission is $5 adults; $4 seniors (over age 62); $3 students with valid identification; and children (10 and under) and museum members are free. Admission is free to everyone from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

The GCMA, at 12211 Walsingham Road, is part of the Pinewood Cultural Park campus, also home to the Pinellas County Extension, Florida Botanical Gardens, Heritage Village, and the Pinellas County Historical Museum.

For more information, call (727) 518-6833.
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