Discover Local Artists: Tom Whitton

Most of us have put that cute one-piece “suit,” a “Onesie,” on our kids. It’s not fun though. First, you have to pull it over the child’s head, squish the arms through the sleeves, pull it down over the body by tipping, flopping and lifting, and, once you have it in place, you go through the process of snapping the garment up, while the child impatiently protests, flailing arms and legs.

Now, take it a step further. Think about putting a Onesie on yourself. Ponder squeezing into it, snapping up all those impossible snaps, buttons, etc., at the shoulders, in the back, down the side of the leg…

Onesie - Pink (?)
Onesie - Pink (?)
Quilted onesie by artist Tom Whitton
Quilted onesie by artist Tom Whitton
Tom
Tom Whitton

Artist Tom Whitton of West Palm Beach creates adult-size Onesies. They are about expectations, he explains, using family life — and this garment — as a kind of metaphor.

The material he uses for them is from old mattresses he’s found lying about. The quilted fabric is familiar, he notes, and also has some beauty to it — a nice texture and feeling — but it’s also stained and it smells. That’s his way of tying public and private concepts together, he explains.

Now through Friday, Aug. 14, Florida Atlantic University’s Jupiter campus library gallery features his “I’m Hungry.” Accompanying his 23 Onesies is a two-minute video that follows him at home wearing a Onesie.

“I wake up, put the Onesie on and go to the living room. Getting it on, by the way, is difficult. I want something to eat, but nobody is home to feed me. My statements are not being reacted to.

“You go through all the angst and your needs are not met.”

But there’s always the hope that someday you will hit the jackpot, win the lottery, find that pot at the end of the rainbow, he said. “One day. One day. But it never happens.

“There are numbers on my Onesies. “If Number One doesn’t work, I’ll make another and keep on making them, hoping eventually for ‘the one.’”

Whitton, who has an MFA from the University of Massachusetts, creates other garments. “I’ve done a series on anonymity, “Collective Threads” at University of Central Missouri, with a Power Suit that’s kind of like a straightjacket – you get into one of these suits and you can’t get out. It becomes useless.” He’s also created Santa Clause and Tooth Fairy suits as well as an enormous, 50-by-70-foot apron.

His Onesies are for sale for $25 to $200, as well as copies of his video.

FAU’s John D. MacArthur Campus Library Gallery is at 5353 Parkside Drive, Jupiter. Hours are Sundays from 1:30 to 10 p.m.; Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, contact Diane Arrieta at 561-799-8530 or  darrieta@fau.edu, or visit the gallery’s site.

Discover Local Artists: Terre Rybovich, Art After Dark

Terre Rybovich, daughter of Tommie Rybovich, Palm Beach County’s noted boat designer and builder, is represented by Mary Woerner of Mary Woerner Fine Arts, West Palm Beach.

Take it off.

By her own admission, Terre Rybovich has chosen an unconventional approach to making art. Usually, when you think about creativity and the actual process of drawing, you picture an artist making marks with brushes, charcoal sticks or pencils.

Rybovich, though, reverses the process. She draws by taking charcoal off the paper, using her body as the instrument, which is an extremely intimate interplay (and completely her own invention).

“I use my body, instead of just my hands, because I believe that the body knows things that our conscious minds don’t know,” she said.

On Thursday evening, May 13, as one of the Artists of Palm Beach County featured at the Norton Museum’s “Art After Dark,” she intends to demonstrate her process.

But, don’t raise your eyebrows just yet. Although Rybovich certainly bares her soul every time she creates, she won’t be taking it all off at the Norton.  However, she will give us an inkling of her very private process.

Viewers, though, must engage as well.

Typically, when a work is finished, she leaves the images open-ended and mysterious, because she aims for her viewers to join her in discovering imagery.

For Thursday’s demonstration, her audience will be part of the entire process. She and they will gaze into the unknown together, and transform her initial imprints into imagery.

Collaborating with chance is the foundation of what she does, she explains. “I don’t start a drawing knowing what I want the outcome to be. I start by opening myself to the process, and inviting random, found images (bodyprints) to tell me what to draw. I learn things from the bodyprints.  And they lead me to make drawings that my mind wouldn’t conceive on its own.

Terre Rybovich, daughter of Tommie Rybovich, Palm Beach County’s noted boat designer and builder, follows in her family’s artistic footprints. She has drawn all her life, and has had numerous exhibits throughout the county. She is represented by Mary Woerner of Mary Woerner Fine Arts, 6107 Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach.

The Norton Museum’s “Art After Dark,” every second Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., offers music, film, special tours with curators and docents, hands-on art activities, a cash bar, and menu options from Café 1451.

General admission is $12. Children 12 and under and members are free.

Norton Museum of Art is at 1451 S. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach. For information, call (561) 832-5196. To see Rybovich’s finished drawings, visit her site.

Discover Local Artists: Georgeta Fondos

work by Showtel artists

Georgeta
Georgeta Fondos

Deerfield Beach artist Georgeta Fondos, who teaches drawing and art appreciation at Palm Beach State College, commented on Discover Local Artists, PBPulse, that her kitty is not up to any artistic endeavors.

She is, though. Just for fun and follow-up, here’s a photo of “Connections,” the installation she created along with her daughter, Oni Jomir, at this year’s Showtel. And for more fun, here’s a link to a video of her work from her site.

Interestingly, she often creates by burning. Fire, which has the power to transform, fascinates and causes pain. Don’t know whether she used the force of fire in her Showtel installation, but the room rather looks on fire, doesn’t it?

Photo by Jacek Gancarz

Discover Local Artists: Lorraine Peltz

The simple ability to shed light or a more complex image symbolizing luxury, opulence, elegance — even decadence – what does the chandelier as an object mean to you?

Chandelier Black
“Chandelier Blue Black Pink,” 40 by 40 inches, oil and acrylic on canvas, $6,000.

The simple ability to shed light or a more complex image symbolizing luxury, opulence, elegance — even decadence – what does the chandelier as an object mean to you?

We may not have one hanging over our dining room tables, but, in any case, watching light reflect and sparkle from drops of cut crystal is as bewitching as candlelight or the flames dancing in a fireplace…

Rosenbaum Contemporary presents Lorraine Peltz’s new body of work, “Chandeliers,” May 6 through June 5, with an opening night on May 6.

Her chandeliers, though, do not hang from the ceiling, anchored securely. “My chandeliers float regally in undefined space affording the viewer the simple celebration of color and light,” Peltz said.

Although this is a new body of work for Peltz, she often juxtaposes objects with signs, symbols and fields of color.

“My chandeliers are meant to to conjure up memories from a past culture,” she said. “They relate specifically to the roots of my mother’s Austro-Hungarian heritage and they are a good way to address celebration.” She joins the images of the chandelier with painterly Pop flowers and other decorative Pop images, combining the present and the past.

“I’m asking my viewers to think about place, celebration and memory, about the act of painting and its pleasure and beauty,” she said.

Lorraine Peltz lives in Chicago and will soon become a Boca Raton seasonal resident.  She holds an MFA from the University of Chicago, and is currently an adjunct associate professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Rosenbaum Contemporary Gallery Center is at 608 Banyan Trail, Boca Raton. The public is invited to an opening night, Thursday, May 6, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. For information, call (561) 994-9180.