By Abby Weingarten
After rigorous jurying and a long-delayed unveiling, New College Associate Professor of Art Kim Anderson is finally displaying her work for Tampa Bay-area spectators.
“I’m very excited to be one of 49 exhibiting artists selected to be part of this multi-institutional collaboration,” said Anderson, who is showcasing two large-scale stereographic painting installations.
The exhibit—which celebrates the diversity and talent of working artists in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties—is a collaboration between four regional art museums: the Tampa Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, The Ringling and the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum. The participating institutions have even co-published a fully illustrated catalogue, featuring the work of each artist, to accompany the exhibition.
The Skyway concept originated in 2017, and this year’s version was initially planned for summer 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic. An open call for artists first occurred in 2019, and the submissions were juried by representatives from each of the museums (plus a guest juror).
“I was intrigued by the local focus and scope of the open call. The entries underwent a rigorous jurying process (conducted by a team of six curators representing four local art museums) and a series of pre-COVID studio visits,” Anderson said. “About a month after I learned that my work had been selected for inclusion, we went into lockdown. So, after much uncertainty, I’m pleased that the exhibition is moving forward this summer. It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with local artists, curators and the public after so much isolation this past year.”
Anderson has looked very forward to displaying her work, which is informed by cinematic antecedents, photography and figurative painting traditions. Interactive stereoscope viewers, modeled after English physicist Charles Wheatstone’s 1832 invention, accompany the paintings—transforming a two-dimensional, painted world into virtual dioramas and “inviting analogies to the changing landscape between our physical and virtual worlds,” Anderson said.
“Even before the advent of photography, artists employed optical devices, including the Claude glass or black mirror, and camera obscura. I’m interested in bringing this history into my work,” Anderson said. “The stereoscope adds a playful and interactive space for engaging with painting—beyond its existence as an object on a wall—suggestive of a rudimentary form of augmented reality. There is something cinematic but also paranormal in the way it operates, like a scrying or divining instrument.”
Anderson’s paintings also depict women from various historical periods posing in theatrical settings.
“In this way, the work engages with the ways women have historically navigated distinctive positions as subjects, consumers and practitioners of art,” Anderson said. “And I bring to this arena my experience as an art educator, practicing artist and former artist model.”
For more information on the Skyway 20/21 exhibit, visit skywaytampabay.com/skyway-20-21.
Abby Weingarten is the senior editor in the Office of Communications & Marketing.