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A glow show: Something new at Atelier de SoSi gallery

Bill DeYoung

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At Atelier de SoSi: Megan Allums, left, Bruce Allums and Danyell Bauer. Photo by Bill DeYoung.

Atelier de SoSi is doing its part to keep St. Pete LIT.

The art gallery, in the Warehouse Arts District at 2380 6th Avenue S., has a new exhibition opening with a Friday reception. More than 20 artists have contributed works in neon, plasma, glow paints, lighting and other illuminating materials for LIT, which will run through July 22.

Gallery interior. Photo: Bill DeYoung

Atelier de SoSi (it’s French for “Artist workshop on the South Side”) is a converted warehouse adjacent to Allums Imports, which sells used European auto parts and offers car sales and service, alongside an extensive salvage yard (Bruce Allums, who owns the company along with the warehouse space, proudly refers to the latter as a “junkyard”).

The gallery was created in 2014 as a workspace and showcase for Allums’ own metal and woodwork; among other things, he hand-crafted all the furniture in the warehouse, gallery and work areas.

His daughter Megan began re-imagining the space four years ago; she and her father worked to create a place where they could spotlight local artists with themed group shows.

So far, it’s been a resounding success, with some of St. Pete’s most unique and memorable exhibitions of original art.

It all starts with a Call to Artists.

“Neon Kite” by We bend

“We found that when you have more generic, not-very-specific guidelines, then artists do their thing,” said Megan Allums. “They’re creative and they’ll come up with different ideas that maybe we hadn’t even thought of.”

That’s certainly the case with LIT, curated by artistic director Danyell Bauer.

Works by Chris Lang on the wall (left: “Cosmic oops”; right: “SteamPunk mirror”)

She’s particularly taken with the works contributed by stained glass artist Chris Lang, a veteran who she says hasn’t shown in a  gallery for 30 years. Lang’s imaginative, color-changing work combines glass, metal, wood, mirrors and more.

There are several pieces in LIT from the collaborative called “We bend,” made from mostly-repurposed neon. The group is an offshoot of the Seminole company Adept Neon, which builds and repairs signage for restaurants and other businesses.

“In the last five to eight years, neon’s really been making a comeback,” Bauer observed. “It’s super-popular. It’s coming into a lot of art collections; it’s showing up at Art Basel.

“And I started thinking I’d really like to do a neon show. Megan and I were talking about it, and she said ‘What if we did a show with neon and glow paint … glow art?’”

Patrice Pfeiffer, “Lit Cat Collage”

The Atelier de SoSi gallery space, with the overhead lights switched off, has a late-night neon barroom vibe for LIT. Bauer likens it to an old-school bowling alley lounge. “It’s fun to change the space,” she said, “and see how it works for every show.”

The other included artists are Ted Locascio, Amy Ilic-Volpe, Ivan Kemp, James Hartzell, Lynn Simone, Rosemary Walsh, Jeff Strzelczyk, Patrice Pfeiffer, Ann Marie Roure, Alice Absolutely, Nikolai Morse, Aleisha Prather, Alicia Valdes and Nick Beaman. 

Opening reception for LIT: 7-10 p.m. Friday, June 10

Second Saturday ArtWalk hours (June 11): 6-9 p.m.

Gallery website

 

 

 

 

“Motorvatin’ #3,” Ted Locascio

“Madman” (detail), Chris Lang

We bend, “Blue Moon.”

 

 

 

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