2011-06-16 / Arts & Entertainment News


The Lighthouse ArtCenter reaches out to the under-35 crowd with “Next Wave”

A.J. Brockman creates images like “It’s a Fad” with his computer. A.J. Brockman creates images like “It’s a Fad” with his computer. THE LIGHTHOUSE ARTCENTER IS THE OLDEST CULTURAL ORGANIZATION in northern Palm Beach County.

But this summer, the Tequesta museum and art school is all about young people.

Starting June 16, it will host “Next Wave: Young Contemporary Artists,” a juried, call-to-artists show that will showcase works from as far away as Brooklyn. It runs until Sept. 1.

“All year-round, we have opportunities for artists of all ages to show their works,” says Katie Deits, the ArtCenter’s executive director. “But this is going to give the under-35 crowd an opportunity to show off their talent.”

It’s part of an ongoing effort by the museum to reach out to the next generation of artists and patrons.

To do that, the ArtCenter is taking the exhibition beyond art.

Rachel Rossin, now based in Brooklyn, painted “Pulpsnare.” Rachel Rossin, now based in Brooklyn, painted “Pulpsnare.” The big opening night for the show, June 24, will offer live bands, a beer tasting courtesy of Tequesta Brewing Co. and appetizers.

It also will stretch the bounds of media.

Just ask artist Nicholas Whipple.

“They’re giving me a full room to do an installation,” says Mr. Whipple, who is exhibiting his work after being on hiatus a couple of years.

“I consider myself a sculptor,” he says. “Primarily, I sculpt with light.”

Mr. Whipple bills his style as “a sculptor’s painting.”

“They’re like relief sculptures that becomes a painting when it’s projected on the wall,” he says.

And that work is malleable, like a sculpture, he says.

“I haven’t nailed down what pieces I’ll put in. Maybe a couple of self-portraits,” he says.

“Visions of a past persona” by Nicholas Whipple. “Visions of a past persona” by Nicholas Whipple. But they’re not portraits in the traditional sense.

“They’re self-portraits of emotions that I’ve had,” he says.

Mr. Whipple’s main job is as deck chief at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, where he works on sets.

“Every artist’s dream is to live off their art,” he says. “I’m a set designer at the Maltz. It keeps me afloat but takes me away from my own stuff.”

His artwork is what led to his theater career.

“I kind of fell into the theater through an art piece,” Mr. Whipple says. “I did this outdoor installation and asked about gels for the lights.”

One thing led to another, and “I’ve been in this industry ever since.”

Other artists include Rachel Rossin, a Brooklyn artist with local ties who has three paintings in the show.

“Each one is spectacular,” Ms. Deits says.

Graphic artist A.J. Brockman creates Pop Art-influenced works, such as the retro image of a woman smoking a cigarette that reads “I’m so Rad. It’s a Fad.” The work is all the more impressive when you learn that Mr. Brockman, who has a form of muscular dystrophy, only has movement in the three fingers he uses to manipulate his computer.

And then there is Ryan Taliaferro, whose work gives new meaning to the term “cutting edge.”

His day job is installing windows and doors. But he also creates sculptures from saw blades, and he plays in a band that Ms. Deits hopes will perform during the opening night.

There are smaller-scale works, too.

Take Cara McKinley’s ceramic sculptures.

She describes the works of clay fired with glass as “alien landscapes.”

Ms. McKinley’s small-scale works evoke “coral, mushrooms, but are mostly oceanic,” she says. “My new series is something I couldn’t sleep about last night.”

Ms. McKinley, an instructor at the Lighthouse ArtCenter’s school, says her students help.

“Kids are a huge inspiration. They come up with things you’d never think of.”

And it’s the inspiration of youth that Ms. Deits hopes to tap.

“Next Wave is an opportunity for different generations to connect.” ¦

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