PHOTOS: Left Bank Art Fest showcases local talent

Jeweler Len Jones talks with customers Neal and Aralyn Rosenberg. MIFA, the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts, held their first Left Bank Art Show Sunday at the Esplanade, with 20 artists exhibiting in a variety of media and an occasional drizzle. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

Photo by LANCE SHEARER // Buy this photo

Jeweler Len Jones talks with customers Neal and Aralyn Rosenberg. MIFA, the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts, held their first Left Bank Art Show Sunday at the Esplanade, with 20 artists exhibiting in a variety of media and an occasional drizzle. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

— The Marco Island Foundation for the Arts’ Left Bank Art Fest, the first of the season, was held Sunday at the Esplanade.

“We kept the exhibitor fees low to encourage people who wouldn’t normally exhibit to come and show their stuff in a non-threatening environment,” said MIFA founder and president Sandi Johnson. “The exhibitors only pay $50 if they’re MIFA members.”

The show is deliberately low-key, she said, tapping into the “Rive Gauche” vibe. The group moved the day from Saturday, so as not to compete with other art exhibits.

Artists didn’t even to have the ubiquitous white tent to house their work, although the value of those became apparent when periodic drizzle fell during the afternoon. Side curtains sprung up, and those without them covered their work with tarps, opening up again when the showers passed.

Watercolorist Donna Simons of Marco Island said maybe she should let the rain fall on her paintings, to see what effect the raindrops would add. Photographer Jim Freeman, an Isles of Capri resident, had works hung both inside and outside his tent. They included both naturalistic nature scenes, and some with wild, blown-out colors that nature never imparted to the subjects.

“I just started playing around in Photoshop, and added a lot of saturation,” said Freeman.

Brian Dixson and Alejandra Pozo of Pembroke Pines, visiting the other coast, stopped by the Esplanade and stumbled onto the show. They were captivated by the super-realistic photographs exhibited by Naples photographer Dennis Goodman, who uses high-resolution cameras and advanced techniques such as high dynamic range processing to give his works a distinctive look.

“People don’t realize the amount of work that goes into a photograph,” said Goodman, who also teaches and leads photo excursions.

Kathryn Oudenhoven didn’t mind if her artwork got wet. She makes “art you can use,” one of a kind ceramic planters sculpted by rolling an actual leaf into the wet clay before firing it. Don Findlay of Marco Island bought several of her pieces, taking extra time to stroll around and decide just which ones he would take home.

Artist Lisa Festa-Estrada of Heart2Hand Clay also said she was having a good sales day. In addition to Christmas presents, she said, “I’m seeing a lot of people buying ‘me gifts’ – as in, ‘I’m buying something just for me.’”

“I like me gifts,” chimed in a passing woman.

Kimberly McCarty of Naples, who has Glass Storm Studios with her husband, was another whose works were impervious to a little rain. They produce colorful kiln-formed or fused glass, assembling bright collages in glass reminiscent of Mondrian on acid.

Brian Kirkpatrick came all the way from Martha’s Vineyard to show his primitive (yes, intentionally) folk ar paintings, featuring fish, birds, and seascapes.

At the MIFA office, Johnson, an artist herself although she no longer exhibits in shows, said she thought the art market is picking up.

“People are starting to come out and spend money,” she said. The next Left Bank show at the Esplanade will be held Jan. 15.

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