Students group up for gallery show

By Special Correspondent Esther Hammer
Tampa Tribune
February 1, 2012


Out On A Limb
Taylor Ikin

   Group art shows often are a way for artists to collaborate or to explore variations on a theme.
   But the exhibit opening today at TECO Plaza Art Gallery is all about diversity and difference.
   Called "Hands Across the Bay," it is a presentation of recent art by about 16 students who take a weekly class with South Tampa artist Taylor Ikin at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center.
   Although Ikin for years has worked exclusively on YUPO paper - a shiny, slippery-surfaced synthetic paper that is acid-free and archival - her students are free to work on whatever surface and in whatever medium they choose.
   The result is a colorful assortment of watercolors on different kinds of paper; acrylics on canvas, pen and inks, and mixed-media layered works.  Hanging in all sizes, the themes vary from nature and landscapes to abstract.
   "About three-quarters of the class are working on YUPO," Ikin said. "Some approach it the way I do, but others go it their own way."
   So no two pieces look alike, she said. It's impossible to copy on YUPO, anyway, because the surface won't allow it.
   "It's so creative, because you put the color down and it goes where it wants to go," Ikin said.
   Some of her students are accomplished, award-winning artists; several of them teach art.
   Some have been painting all their lives; some are new to the art.
   The student who has been in the class longer than any of the others is Anne Drewry.
   Every Tuesday since 1993, she drives from her home in Lithia to Ikin's house in South Tampa.  From there they drive together to Dunedin.

Anne Drewry

   When asked why, Drewry joked, "She won't let me quit."
   But really.  Why?
   Drewry doesn't paint like Ikin.  She paints in acrylics, usually on canvas.  And she creates beautiful color and texture-laden abstracts, while Ikin does landscapes on YUPO.
   "When you see her work, you won't believe she's my student, because her work is so different from mine," Ikin said.
   That's the beauty of the class, Drewry said.
   "Everybody does pretty much what they want to do," she said. "Nobody has to do what she [Ikin] is teaching.  But she helps everybody."
   And there's good camaraderie.
   "We are all such good friends," Drewry said.  "We critique one another and it's a very congenial group."
   The exhibit is up through March 30, 2012.  You can meet the artists at a free reception from 5:30 to 8:00 PM February 16, 2012 at the TECO Gallery, 702 N. Franklin St., in downtown Tampa.
   For more information on the show, contact curator Debra Radke at dradke1@tampabay.rr.com.

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