Tampa Museum of Art

Claudia Ryan and Rob Tarbell: Skyway Curators’ Choice 

On view November 2, 2017 through April 1, 2018

Inspired by the excellent artwork shown at all three venues of Skyway: A Contemporary Collaboration, the Tampa Museum of Art committed to show additional artwork by a Skyway artist or artists jointly chosen by the five exhibition curators. Artists exhibiting in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota were considered for Skyway Curators’ Choice. The selected artists are Claudia Ryan of Bradenton and Rob Tarbell of Sarasota, both of whom showed their work in Skyway at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. TMA is delighted to exhibit a wider selection of their work in Tampa.

Installation view: Claudia Ryan and Rob Tarbell: Skyway Curators’ Choice. Photographer: Philip LaDeau.


Skyway Selections: Curators’ Choice


b. 1952, Washington, DC

Lives in Bradenton and works in Sarasota.

Claudia Ryan has been aptly called both painter and poet, and at times her frenetic mark-making on canvas evokes the act of writing. With her densely layered and reworked paintings and drawings, Ryan states that she tries to “create an alternative universe of feeling using intuitive logic.” Her oeuvre also includes etchings published by Bleu Acier, Inc. in Tampa, with closely packed lines related to her other work and similarly suggestive of narrative. Ryan received her Certificate of Fine Art from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA; her BFA from the Ringling College of Art and Design, and an MFA from the University of South Florida. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at the Boca Raton Museum of Art; Maryland Institute College of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg; and the Riverside Art Museum, CA.


Skyway Selections: Curators’ Choice


b. 1967, Findlay, OH

Lives and works in Sarasota.

Though drawing is at the heart of Rob Tarbell’s process, it is the creative and imaginative use of smoke that propels Tarbell’s work beyond just imagery. Tarbell began experimenting in 2006 with burning credit cards and using the resulting residue. He regarded this as an ironic acknowledgment of the self-help technique of burning items to separate oneself from an emotional attachment to material possessions. He has since added gift cards and 35 mm slides featuring his own work to the list of burnables. By selectively directing the smoke using a “herd and corral” method, he is able to create ethereal portraits of both people he knows and found images. In addition to his smoke drawings, Tarbell has also developed an innovative process for creating porcelain sculptures of stuffed animals, simultaneously cremating and preserving them. Tarbell earned an MFA in painting and drawing from the University of Tennessee, and has held teaching posts at several colleges and universities. He is represented by the Claire Oliver Gallery in New York City, and has had solo exhibitions at galleries throughout the United States.