C. Emerson Fine Arts to exhibit at Aqua Art Miami 2009

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Jarrod Anderson. Untitled #11. Graphite on prepared paper. Courtesy C. Emerson Fine Arts.


For C. Emerson owner Lori Johns, the decision to join the fair-which in turn accepted her gallery-marks the end of a long, deliberative process. (She's considered it since 2006, a year after opening.) Her plan is to exhibit three artists currently represented by the gallery: Jarrod and Sorine Anderson (brother and sister, both New York residents, whose father, Mark Anderson, teaches at Ringling College of Art and Design) and Miami-based Rocky Grimes. The Andersons will also have an exhibition at the gallery in December.


Johns says she hopes simply to test the waters with her fair debut. If sales turn out to be weak come December, she may have picked an especially good year to be ready to write off the experience as an effort to gain name recognition for the gallery.


“It’s a gamble if art will sell in this economy, but I know it’s a great opportunity to expand my vision to outside [of St. Petersburg],” Johns said in an email.


Local artists may also find their fortunes buoyed by the endeavor. In addition to the three featured artists, Johns plans to bring a flat file of works on paper to Aqua that will include locally based artists such as Jeff Whipple.


C. Emerson Fine Arts reopens on Aug. 7 following a summer break with Eva Eun-Sil Han: Measured Emotions.


Megan Voeller is Creative Loafing’s visual art critic. She teaches at the University of Tampa and blogs at Artsqueeze.com.

Aqua Wynwood 2007: Rusted wheelbarrows cut with lace-like patterns by Cal Lane at New York’s Foley Gallery. Photo by Megan Voeller.

Since reports (like this one) surfaced that collectors were actually buying earlier this summer at Art Basel in Switzerland, the international art fair circuit has managed at least partially to shake its recent image as a victim of the economy.

In December, when Art Basel Miami Beach arrives in Florida, St. Petersburg’s C. Emerson Fine Arts will take part in Aqua Art Miami, one of the popular satellite fairs that orbit around the larger showcase. Aqua, which plans to ditch its original venue (the Aqua Hotel on Miami Beach) and set up shop only in the Wynwood gallery district, has a reputation as one of the stronger satellites. It typically includes galleries from around the US along with a smattering of international participants.

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