SKYWAY 20/21A Contemporary Collaboration
May 22 through August 22, 2021
Skyway 20/21 is the second iteration of an exhibition celebrating the diversity of artistic talent in the Tampa Bay area. It is also an exercise in collaboration, as it is shared among four institutions: Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Tampa Museum of Art, and University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum. That sense of collaboration was put to the test as Skyway 2020 was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, opening as Skyway 20/21 now, a year later.
Curators from each institution selected 49 artists from across Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota Counties. After numerous studio visits conducted in 2019, the MFA chose works by 15 artists that address—by varied means—the natural environment. In Florida, where hurricanes, flooding, and erosion are very real threats, discussing the weather is not a cliché, but an integral and pressing part of life in the subtropics. Working across media, these artists celebrate, investigate, and honor the natural world, whether through the highly realistic studies of native Floridian plant life in Lynne Railsback’s watercolors, or the more abstract approach to the landscape tradition as in the paintings of Karl Kelly. Photographer Jon Notwick sheds light on military test sites once occupying our parks and forested areas, and painters Ezra Johnson and Savannah Magnolia expose the pollution of our waterways and bodies. Taken together, this exhibition not only highlights the talents of artists working in the Tampa Bay region, but also examines one of the most pressing issues of our time, the care of our natural environment.
A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the Skyway 20/21 exhibition, featuring texts by the curators and guest juror Claire Tancons.