Alfstad& Contemporary Unveils (A) State of Florida:
An Exploration of the Ways Artists Make Florida and Florida Makes Us


SARASOTA, FL, June 5, 2015 – Alfstad& Contemporary, presents the final show of its second season in Sarasota, (A) State of Florida, which showcases the work of six artists - Michael J. Bauman, Kelly Boehmer, Jeremy Chandler, Vanessa Diaz, Jen Nugent and Ryann Slauson – inspired by the time they’ve spent, and experiences, in the Sunshine State. Featuring 20 paintings, sculptures, and photographs, (A) State of Florida, examines the ways in which conceptions of Florida unfurl into how artists define themselves, both collectively and individually. The show runs June 12–July 10, 2015 at Alfstad& Contemporary, 1419 5th Street, Sarasota, FL.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with curator, Danny Olda, to bring (A) State of Florida and these diverse artists to Alfstad& Contemporary,” says Sam Alfstad. “For them their Florida roots are the common denominator of the work, and viewers will recognize their own experiences, too.”

(A) State of Florida, challenges viewers to delve into the distinctive styles, techniques and interpretations, of these multi-talented artists; from Jeremy Chandler's survey of Tampa through portraits of its disparate denizens to Vanessa Diaz's sober sculptures formed from the scraps of abandoned homes, each of the artists takes an earnest look at the intersection of place and identity. Though contrasting in style, Jen Nugent and Ryann Slauson investigate memory that is intimately connected to a place and the ways that can define each of us. Kelly Boehmer and Michael J. Bauman, each through a distinctively bold sculptural installation style, turn a critical eye to the mythic and legendary depictions of Florida as paradise and the individual archetypes that accompany it.  

“Throughout the mediums and styles in this exhibition you can see the ways in which Florida is more than just a setting in which our lives unfold. It’s become an integral part of each artist’s work,” say Danny Olda, curator. “The exhibition focuses on Florida, but essentially, at its simplest; (A) State of Florida is about the ways in which making a home makes a person. Because of that, I think many people can connect with the work."

(A) State of Florida is curated by Tampa-based art critic Danny Olda, who has also created several solo and group exhibitions which have been reviewed in publications such as Hyperallergic, the Tampa Bay Times and Creative Loafing. Danny's writing can be found in numerous regional, national and international publications.

More About the Artists

Michael J. Bauman, Tampa, FL
Michael works in dramatic, bold sculpture and installation. It reflects Florida, the State that is in part the subject of his art. Michael's work investigates Florida. Specifically, in his work, Michael seems to be looking for his place in this mythical/actual Florida. That is a place among stereotypes, archetypes and reality in ideas of manhood, machismo and adventure. 

Kelly Boehmer, Tallahassee, FL
Kelly explores mythical and legendary aspects of Florida through bold sculptures and installations. Her installations are at once visually seductive and repulsive. Like the fairy tales they may reference, they can be charming and pleasant, but belie ugliness and violence. She uses these figures she creates as stand-ins for people that oscillate between violence and affection, love and animosity, happiness and heartbreak.

Jeremy Chandler, Hamden, CT
Jeremy is a photographer's photographer and it shows in the deftness with which he captures his personal concepts in images of others. He has an almost uncanny ability to capture a moment of very vulnerable, almost surprising earnestness in people. In this way Jeremy gets at identity and ideas of identity at a depth that many artists would like to achieve.

Vanessa Diaz, Lake Worth, FL
Vanessa’s work is about home, and our conception of it. She has a way of isolating things that make up a home, slow down the viewer, and ask them to meditate on it for a moment. She pulls out and sets aside the utility out of an object, forcing one to look at its emotional and psychological meaning.

Jen Nugent, Philadelphia, PA
Jen's work investigates a fascinating place between memory and history, where personal and political meet, run parallel, and at times overlie each other. Her artwork reflects on her past, as not only a personal memory, but as part of a shared history connected to many others. Perhaps most interestingly she looks at the political implications of these personal histories: the politics of geography, violence and personal power relationships.

Ryann Slauson, New York
Ryann works primarily in painting, as well as, sculpture and installation. She has a balance in her work that is difficult to attain. Her artwork is highly personal without being sentimental and delves deep into memory while avoiding nostalgia. Much of Ryann's work is set in or involves Florida. 

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