By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
By Kyle Swenson
By David Villano
By Kyle Swenson
By John Thomason
By Michele Eve
Sandwiched between Perry's and Irion's work is that of Tommerup, a young Danish artist now operating out of Miami. It's by far the most satisfying component of "All You Can Eat," although it also strikes me as least connected to Salzinger's notion of the show as "a playful look at consumers' appetite for popular culture" in which the artists "explore the issues of the oversaturated, super-sized, new and improved products of contemporary life."
Tommerup, who was trained as a traditional painter and printmaker, has lately turned to digital technology, with which she achieves the startling effects seen in this show. Three pieces in the museum lobby hint at the possibilities she has hit upon. Nothing, however, is adequate preparation for the impact of her work when it's displayed in multiples.
The museum's main gallery, for example, devotes two whole walls to 15 of Tommerup's works. The curving south wall is an ideal space for eight round pieces, each two feet in diameter, and the long center wall features seven square and rectangular pieces mounted side by side, a few inches apart, to form a long, horizontal visual continuum.
Amazingly, there's nothing sterile or cold and mechanical about Tommerup's imagery, which lends credence to her claim that she approaches it as if she were mixing old-fashioned pigment. The lines may seem impossibly clean and sharply defined, the colors uniform and perfectly modulated, but there's an ineffable warmth emanating from these "paintings." They're weirdly organic and inorganic at the same time.
Tommerup has said that some of her digital work resembles mandalas, the geometric designs used in Buddhism and Hinduism meditation to represent the universe and its underlying balance and harmony. It's an apt characterization. Each of the round pieces from the artist's "Orb Passage" series is a cosmos unto itself, a swirling mass of color and form in which order emerges from seeming chaos. Similarly, the square and rectangular pieces in the "Under Light" and "Lightning Space" series are charged with a force that provides symmetry and resolution.
I'm baffled by Salzinger's efforts to impose the show's theme onto Tommerup as well as Perry and Irion. Again, from the introduction: "24 hour shopping, reality television, gossip channels, online dating; contemporary popular culture is a smorgasbord of useless information and mindless entertainment... As we sit at the edge of our seats to witness ugly ducklings turning into swans, 'Average Joes' into millionaires, and celebrities into royalty, we wonder, 'will she really eat that pile of worms in 20 seconds for the win?' The three artists featured... aim to expose the underlying forces of mass consumption and the underbelly of consumer culture."
Maybe I'm missing something, not that it much matters. If Salzinger -- a real South Florida visionary -- wants to think of the Art and Culture Center as a restaurant and herself as its manager, so be it. I want a standing reservation.