Art Review: Video and large-scale prints by Kurt Piazza at HCC Ybor are utterly engrossing

Because the attention of art audiences seems harder than ever to capture these days, I was surprised when I showed up last week at Kurt Piazza’s solo exhibit at HCC Ybor to see a room full of mostly college students (the generation most often accused of having a kind of cultural ADHD) utterly engrossed in the artist’s videos. The darkened gallery was so quiet — even though the occasion was the exhibition’s opening reception — that I found myself whispering to other people out of respect for the rapt, silent viewers.

The reason for their silence may have been that they were trying to figure out what they were seeing. The title of Piazza’s show, The Future Belongs to Ghosts, references an idea that inspired the five videos and five large-scale prints in the exhibition. All of these works are haunted, if you will, by spectral images. In Piazza’s prints, the black silhouettes of decomposing architectural forms appear and reappear. In his videos, footage distorted with visual effects hints at a forgotten landscape one moment, then dissolves into a series of rhythmic patterns the next.

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