The Tampa Museum of Art’s featured exhibit, Syntax: Text and Symbols for a New Generation, was my destination for the field trip portion of this week’s Find Your Eye assignment, to explore and take inspiration from other artists’ work.
Syntax is a collection of contemporary art focusing on the text-based work of more than 30 artists. The exhibition includes paintings and photographs as well as a variety of dimensional pieces. There were several neon works including a chandelier and a piece called Daylight Map that illuminates the world’s 24 time zones only during each time zone’s daylight hours.
My favorite piece, by far, was a large, curved wall of books that was at least 10 feet long by 5 feet tall. That’s a lot of books! At first I thought all the books were stacked horizontally but a closer look revealed a few vertical placements as well. I saw novels, textbooks, and coffee table books among many, many others and even recognized a few titles that have passed through my hands over the years. What appealed to me about this creation? It was outrageous, irreverent, and very colorful, and it made me smile—more than enough for a Friday afternoon.
Photography wasn’t allowed in the exhibit halls, but the museum’s location on the Hillsborough River opposite the University of Tampa provided some interesting options. My favorite, because it echoed the text-based artwork inside the museum, is this image of a graffiti-covered railroad bridge.