What Tampa Bay can claim in the way of museum growth (e.g., at the Tampa Museum of Art, Salvador Dalí Museum and The Arts Center — each currently building a new facility — or the recently expanded Museum of Fine Arts), it generally lacks in buildup at the gallery level. That's why it's especially exciting that Tampa-based artist collective art (five-art.com) has doubled its gallery space by acquiring a new, much larger exhibition area adjacent to their existing space inside the West Tampa Center for the Arts.
While art grows, its former home will be adopted by a sister organization called Three04 (three04.com). The two artist-run galleries will effectively take over the rear third of the WTCA's second floor; throughout the remainder of the historic cigar factory, local artists continue to rent studios and open their doors during collaborative exhibitions. (No word on whether Three04 — previously housed on the third floor — will be changing its name once it relocates to suite #211.)
Both spaces unveil new exhibitions on Fri., Jan. 9, 7-10 p.m. At art, drawings and sculptures by Lauren Garber Lake — a Tampa native and assistant professor of art at the University of Florida — take their inspiration from the memento mori found in Dutch still life paintings. Despite (or because of) their morbid undertone, her graphite-coated flowers and delicate drawings may be among the most achingly lovely objects you'll see this year.
At Three04, minimal works by sculptor Bradley Arthur evince an engagement with Eastern philosophy, which provides an escape from the information overload of everyday existence for the artist. Contemplate his mental "Om" sculpture (a sun-shaped "O" balanced atop a mountainous "M") as you munch on snacks at the opening reception. art and Three04 are located at the West Tampa Center for the Arts, 1906 N. Armenia Ave., suites #210 and 211, Tampa. For more information, call 813-340-9056 or 813-260-0130.