Local Legends and Artist Debuts at Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art

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BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY NOV 2, 2018

Despite the City still tearing up the parking spots out front, Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art Gallery is very much open for business this First Friday, with the unveiling of a new exhibition, Exquisite Color, just in time for tonight’s Art Walk on Palm. Curated by Mark Ormond, Exquisite Color presents as the name suggests, featuring the work of one Sarasota legend, three gallery regulars and the Allyn Gallup Contemporary debut of one new artist. The show opens tonight with a reception at 5:30pm.

On one wall, work by Syd Solomon announces its presence in rich blues and greens, large-scale and bold, and, farther down the line, find the work of Susan Klein, whose vivid imagination translates to an electrifying color palette that would make Willy Wonka jealous. Along the back wall, two grand new abstract works by internationally known artist and Ringling College instructor Hugh Davies command their space with an almost kaleidoscopic brilliance that manages to feel both familiar and alien. Opposite Klein’s canvases, see four minimalist works dubbed Assemblage from Daphne Gamble, an American artist currently living in Paris but sending her work back to Sarasota.

But it’s Sven Mohr who makes his Allyn Gallup debut tonight, showcasing four abstract paintings created within the last year. Growing up in Denmark, Mohr always had a talent for drawing, and “Oh, Sven can draw that” quickly became a common refrain. He attended the Copenhagen Art School and tutored under the Danish impressionist Erik Clemmensen. Moving to New York City in 1970, he served as art director for an advertising firm and taught at the School of Visual Arts. Mohr painted all his life, but it would take retirement to bring him into the Sarasota gallery scene.

Today, Mohr likens the act of creation to a wrestling match. “I stand in front of the canvas, kind of having fun,” he says, “and getting frustrated.” Each canvas contains a multitude of questions, each image its issues. And sometimes the artist can’t make up his mind. “Suddenly they are terrific,” he says, “and 10 minutes later they’re horrible. It’s a constant back and forth, but, for me, that’s the exciting part.”

And so the bout goes on, round after round, with Mohr never quite sure when to put the brush down, never knowing when the painting is finished. “I don’t,” he says. “But sometimes the painting tells you.”

Exquisite Color opens tonight at Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art Gallery with a reception at 5:30pm.

Pictured: Three works by Sven Mohr, hanging at Allyn Gallup Contemporary.

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