Sunday, May 26, 2024

Web Xtra: ‘All Florida’ All Stars

Carmen Tiffany, one of the five artists profiled in the “All Florida All Stars” feature in the July-August issue of Boca Raton, is also exhibiting this summer at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood. Here is John Thomason’s review of her show.

Miami’s Carmen Tiffany is one of 25 artists from the Sunshine State participating in the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s rebooted “All Florida” exhibition opening July 16. But museumgoers can already get a taste of Tiffany’s work by visiting the Art and Culture Center, whose exhibition “Carmen Tiffany: The Teeth Beneath” exhibits a different slate of new work from this indefatigable digital artist and animator.

The exhibit opens with a pair of music videos that rank among the artist’s most amusing works. Both are rooted in the popular culture of her childhood, a subject that recurs in a myriad of forms in her oeuvre. One of the videos removes the vocals from Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” everybody’s favorite/most-hated holiday song, and instead places the lyrics on a screen, atop a face-painted lip-syncher standing in front of “101 Dalmatians” wallpaper, an image that is itself positioned atop a digital graphic of a space-age roller coaster that looks like a screen saver from around 1992. The only thing that would make the piece better would be a 3D presentation: It’s a three-layer cake of aural and visual Cheez Whiz.

The other video, “Home Alone,” showcases Tiffany herself, with an ‘80s-style platinum blonde wig and smeared lipstick, reading with stone-faced gravitas from an apparently novelized version of the much-maligned John Hughes movie of the title. Two layers of garish background elements add visual depth to a hilarious bit of cultural satire predicated on Gen-X nostalgia

A similar sense of re-appropriated iconography informs the show’s animations, sculptures and tapestries alike. In “Tut Tut” a borrowed gif of Winnie the Pooh (at least I think that’s who it is) suspends upside down, for brief flashes, across a staticky vertical screen. In “Fashionable Pumpkin,” a jack o’lantern smiles mischievously at a colorful (human) outfit. “Piglet” is a veritable pop-culture chimera, a mixed-media sculpture with a pumpkinesque body, cloth appendages made from “Simpsons” merchandise, and the head of a pig. In the fabric collage “Sky Fallen,” cartoon characters, including the Simpsons, tumble from the sky, colliding in mid-air and scattering on an edenic fairy-tale landscape soon to be populated by Tiffany’s childhood memories.

Not all of Tiffany’s work is this funny. In the past, most pieces were, at most, darkly comic. The absurdist selections in “The Teeth Beneath” elicit wry smiles and, at times, even guffaws, suggesting that humor, a most undervalued fine-art emotion, is now at the forefront of her consciousness. We can certainly use it.

“Carmen Tiffany: The Teeth Beneath” runs through Aug. 21 at Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $4 for students, seniors and children ages 17 or under. Call 954/921-3274 or visit artandculturecenter.org.

 

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