Loading the Canon#7 by Helena-Anne Hittel

A Blast from the Past at Avalon Island

I recently attended Third Thursdays, an art walk and gallery hop taking place every third Thursday of the month in Downtown Orlando. This is a great opportunity for local artists to showcase their works. I met the curator of one such gallery in this event, The Gallery at Avalon Island, and I had the opportunity to look around at their current show, featuring works from past UCF MFA shows.

One of the first works I noticed had actually hung in UCF’s BFA Show last semester. The works were done by a student named Alesha Hassard. I had liked these paintings a lot the first time I saw them, because they reminded me of my childhood and the Beanie Babies I collected (and yes, I had quite a few). Seeing them again reminded me how much I liked them. I loved the way Alesha used them in her works, but moreover, I loved her crisp, modeled style of painting. The lines she used were sharp and the shapes defined, but they looked as rounded and soft as they would in actuality. The realism was amazing. I even got to meet the artist herself.

A lot of the other works I didn’t know as well. As an art historian, one of the things I live for is the feeling of seeing something new and surprising. A set of prints, for instance, combined pithy titles and creative imagery-for instance, a piece titled “Broken Spirits” featured a broken bottle of alcohol with a ghost drifting out of it. I’m sure the joke isn’t lost on any of you here at The Drunken Odyssey. Another featured origami butterflies–hundreds of them!–pinned into shadowboxes and a large wooden kimono shaped form. The patience this had to have taken is almost inhuman to me.

There were many works I liked, and given the money and the opportunity, I would have bought a few pieces (the money and the opportunity go hand-in-hand here). It wasn’t just the art, though. I had never been to the Gallery at Avalon Island before, and the environment brought everything to life for me. It was a very personable place to be.

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Helena-Anne Hittel (Episode 35, essay) is an Art History Major at the University of Central Florida and Intern at the UCF Art Gallery.

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