Flight of the Machine

"Dana Blickensderfer’s solo show “Flight of the Machine” at Doxa Design Lab + Gallery drew a large crowd in downtown Tampa during her opening night last Wednesday. With cocktails and a live DJ, the small gallery turned into a lively party celebrating Blickensderfer’s equally lively paintings. Blickensderfer was the recipient of the Milton and Sally Avery Scholarship Award to study painting at the New York Studio, but she also received her B.A. from USF in public relations and mass communication. So what is a Blickensderfer anyways? Before the reign of laptop computers, the Blickensderfer was a 20th-century typewriter known for its portability. Painting the different typewriting models through a mode of abstract still life, the artist explores her family’s legacy of accessible, transportable communication. Photographs of these paintings don’t do them justice; you miss out on the lovely textural marks. Working with a loaded brush, the artist hashes her surfaces with thick daubs of paint, using mostly muted, earthy tones with pops of blue and yellow. One work that stands out is “Blickensderfer No1,” a large square painting that sits in the middle of the gallery, acting as the anchor of the show. Immediately drawn to the center of the painting, you can easily get lost in the repetitive horizontal paint strokes, representing the thin, spidery arms of the typewriter. In “Blickensderfer No. 2,” the typewriter becomes an even more abstracted mass in the center of a grid, with a mix of explosive marks and swirls radiating from the machine. Serving as both a title and as unapologetic artist signature, “Blickensderfer” is scrawled out in large, blue letters across the bottom of the painting. The handwriting is messy, formed with thick globs of oil paint, and almost humorous compared to the perfectly formed letters a typewriter creates; it adds the artist’s unique mark to her family’s continued history. With communication now in the palms of our hands, Blickensderfer takes a look back at how far text messages have come. While these vintage machines are nowhere near liftoff, flight is encouraged through Blickensderfer’s delicate yet boisterous brush strokes." - Caitlin Albritton, Creative Loafing, Oct. 20, 2015 7:59 p.m.