Culture 2 Go 

Brice Stephens show opens at Twelve21 Gallery; Cirque du Soleil and Orlando Ballet present A Choreographers Showcase; Atlantic Center for the Arts hosts closing reception for 144th artists' residency

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Heart of Glass

Brice Stephens has been showing his paintings on glass for longer than I’ve been in Orlando, and his work only seems to increase in popularity; his recently stepped-up exhibition schedule means we’ve had plenty of chances to see Stephens’ work lately (a good thing).

His latest show is another tour through his comfort zone of dazed and confused ladies. From the distortions of “Skill Saw” to the more traditionally representational (and strongly Neko Case-resembling) “Sherbert,” the paintings at Twelve21 Gallery fit snugly into Stephens’ practice: pretty girls, some partially nude, painted on upcycled glass windows with a Schiele-like expressiveness of line – but there are a few new twists. One is the centerpiece of the show, a very large portrait of Bob Wills mounted in a rustic surround of splintery boards (a departure in size, subject matter and format); and there are a few pieces that utilize a shattered-glass technique that adds texture to the works.

The shattering technique is rather thrillingly demonstrated in the promo video for the show created by Twelve21. In “Brice Stephens,” we see the artist at work, the way he layers ink and acrylic onto the glass in a counterintuitive top-down process (outline and details first, background last).

Laughing Samurai, the branding agency that houses Twelve21 Gallery, has recently acquired more space in their building – so if you miss the opening and want to see the show during business hours, you won’t be threading your way around desks or interrupting people at work anymore. (Just ring the buzzer and one samurai or another will let you in.) The opening, however, will feature savory treats by new local foodies Daughter & Co. and, if past parties are a guide, a room chock-full of sultry young art lovers.

One night only

Cirque du Soleil and Orlando Ballet present A Choreographer’s Showcase, an event featuring emerging talent from both companies, 6 p.m. Monday, March 12, at Cirque’s La Nouba Theatre at Downtown Disney. Through a mix of traditional ballet and Cirque’s brand of acrobatic movement, the performance is meant to “showcase raw creative expression from the dancers, performers and technicians.” Proceeds benefit the STEPS program, an after-school program aimed at exposing at-risk children to dance and the performing arts. Tickets ($15-$25) are available by calling 407-426-1739.

Atlantic Center for the Arts presents InsideOUT, the closing reception for its 144th artists’ residency 7 p.m. Friday, March 9. The evening will include in-studio exhibitions and a performance of works created by the internationally renowned master artists (filmmaker T.J. Wilcox,  dancer-choreographer Liz Lerman and speculative fiction writer Elizabeth Hand) and their 23 associate artists during the three-week residency. Atlantic Center for the Arts is located at 1414 Art Center Ave., in New Smyrna Beach. Tickets are $10; for more information, call 386-427-6975 or visit atlanticcenterforthearts.org.

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