Off the Wall

Deborah Desilets
Deborah Desilets

Off the Wall

By Deborah Desilets

There was so much positive response from the OFF THE WALL event January 28, 2017 that we are still trying to assess all the facets to this unraveling story! We share with you now three exciting updates and an invitation to continue in this story of over time.

Gideon’s Twist of fate

Hurricane Andrew’s winds drove Elmo Gideon, the Miami artist who also had worked on the Americana Hotel to settle in Thomasville, Georgia.  But the winds were not finished with Gideon!  In 2009 another storm toppled 11 trees on his home and studio; Gideon would pass on a year later leaving Heather Gideon, his widow, to shoulder his life’s work.  While reading about the MOSAICS someone recalled his name and this catastrophic event!  Quickly we connected with Heather in Thomasville, Georgia which is only 45 minutes away from Tallahassee.  A meeting was arranged to share the hotel story of the Mosaics with Heather.  With this connection more dots were connected!  Of course, she corrected me immediately, that the artist was only known as Gideon; he never liked his first name.  Looking through the book, and seeing his studio, which really is a museum to his life’s work, we were able to agree on a few items that Gideon would have contributed to.  Using a listing of Gideon’s Hotel work as a guide, it was easy to see that Morris Lapidus was his patron for over 13 projects, which would have totaled over 5,000 works for the rooms of his hotels.  This is a remarkable connection between the architect and the artist.  Looking at Gideon’s collection was a treasure hunt!

As the name “Gideon” seemed so familiar to my eye, I asked my friend, Barry Courtney, at Vintage 21 Antiques, if he had any in his collection and he affirmed that over the years he had “owned a lot of Gideon’s work. He is very collectable.”  I was delighted to review this work and discover another artist whose integrity and honesty in paint adorned Lapidus’s interiors.  Also, Heather corroborates that the wavy lace-like frames in the Americana Carioca Room and the art on the walls in the bar area and the Lanai suites can be attributed to Gideon.

Furthering this connection is an upcoming show of Gideon’s work in Tallahassee April 7-May 17, 2017 at Venvi Art Gallery, 2901 E Park Avenue #2800. Brinda Pamulapati, Owner and Art Director, says that it is “important for an art gallery to provide a platform for artists who bring cosmic, metaphysical, and progressive thinking to art.”  She continues that Venvi, “strives to be a gallery where cultural and social problems are expressed” a place where “art allows us to speak more than words.”  With this open understanding of the power of art, Ms. Pamulapati has offered a little wall space during Gideon’s exhibit for Anton’s Explorer Mosaics.

With this confirmation, a call was made to the grandsons of Anton Refregier, who having seen our efforts, reached out to the CapitalARTangels.  Hopefully, there will be in this show a few of Anton’s original pieces in Tallahassee at the Venvi Art Gallery as well.  Spencer Sutton, one of Anton’s Grandsons, informed the ARTangels about the October-December, 2016 exhibit at Vassar College – Celebrating Heroes: American Mural Studies of Anton Refregier works.  The grandsons are also preparing for a larger exhibit in the New York area and are reviewing several book offers.

In these modern times, truth in art has taken on a force of its own. The CapitalARTangels hope to see all of you again at the Venti Art Gallery where two Americana artists reconvene and pick up again the thread of realism and social justice in art.  With that the treasure hunt continues!

Venvi Art Gallery, Places on Park, 2901 E Park Ave, #2800 Tallahassee, FL 32301

Phone: 850-322-0965  web:  email: