Art media

Sarasota Art Center’s New Exhibits Works by Illustrator Mary GrandPré and More

Art Center Sarasota’s 2022-2023 exhibition season opens with four exhibitions, from October 15 to November 23.

“Conjuring the Backstory” by Mary GrandPré presents the artist’s fascinating abstract and mixed-media paintings. “Focus: New College Art” is curated by New College professors Kim Anderson and Ryan Buyssens and features artwork from New College’s best and brightest thesis students. “Palmistry” by Elizabeth Barenis features the artist’s latest acrylic paintings.

“The Figure” is a juried exhibition celebrating the human form through a range of artistic mediums. Erin Wilson, associate curator of the Museum of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg, will be the jury of this exhibition. The opening reception for all four exhibits will be Saturday, October 22, 6-8 p.m., Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For information, visit or call 941-365-2032.

Mary GrandPré is best known for her illustrations for the Harry Potter books and her concept art for animated films like “Antz” and “Ice Age.” But there is a lesser-known side to GrandPré’s creativity. The Sarasota resident is also an accomplished painter. “Conjuring the Backstory” presents his latest series of abstract paintings in mixed media. What is the story behind these captivating images? “I believe that every person and every place has a back story,” says GrandPré. “It could be a mystery, a lost memory, or an untold secret that will bring new meaning when revealed.” The artist adds that “Discovering this narrative in painting and the exploration that leads to it is where my joy lives. Whether I am inspired by a story, a memory or a place of my dreams, I hope that my finished work will allow each viewer to wander and discover their own enriching interpretation.”

The “Focus: New College Art” exhibition is a collection of New College’s best and brightest emerging talent, curated by New College professors Kim Anderson and Ryan Buyssens. As a scavenger, collector, and painter, Anderson’s work reinvents historical traditions of art situated beyond the novelties of thrift stores, vernacular photography, and home movies. Painted in Baroque-inspired narratives, these everyday remnants of our material culture function as a domestic counterpart to the male heroism of historical painting traditions, while reconciling the implicit codification of gender, power, and situated appearance. in our cultural artifacts and personal possessions. Ryan Buyssens expresses his commentary on logic and progress through the manipulation of various media. Recently, he exploits the interactivity of objects and environments to create new experiences for participants. The artist’s toolkit includes electronic sensors and microcontrollers, motion pictures and videos, computer-aided design, 3D printing, CNC machining, and laser cutting.

Elizabeth Barenis’ “Palmistry” features the artist’s latest acrylic paintings, which celebrate the Florida landscape in new and unusual ways. “The patterns of light and color created among the glorious, towering palm fronds remind us of the little surprises and mysteries that always happen around us in nature,” Barenis explains. “A language beyond words, beauty takes many forms and is always available for us to find, if we take the time to do so.” The St. Petersburg-based artist was named a 2017 Creative Pinellas Emerging Artist and also participated in the 2018 International Painting Symposium at the Mark Rothko Art Center in Daugavpils, Latvia. Using her own photography as reference, Barenis paints in a style she calls “Abstract Precisionism”, which refers to her use of clean lines and generalized forms. His work has been presented nationally and internationally.

“The Figure” celebrates the human form in all media, including painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, mixed media, digital arts, and sculpture. The juror is Erin Wilsonassociate curator at the Museum of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg.

Art Center Sarasota was Sarasota’s first arts and cultural institution. Founded in 1926 as the “Sarasota Art Association” by Marcia Rader, the Sarasota County School District Art Supervisor, the association was later incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1943 and is at its current location in the Sarasota Bayfront. Cultural Quarter since 1949. Art Center Sarasota is a member-supported organization that offers curated and juried exhibitions, adult and youth education programs, outreach initiatives for underserved youth, and public programs culture-related. The Art Center Sarasota is free and open to all audiences. its mission is to inspire individual creative expression, nurture artistic talent, and provide the community with accessible and diverse visual art opportunities.