Tummy Kisses

Tummy Kisses

Neil Bender, Ben Galaday, Jenn Ryann Miller, Gary Schmitt, Chasity Williams, and Matthew Drennan Wicks

Curated by Tempus Projects of Tampa, Florida

Opening Reception: Thursday, May 31, 7–10pm
Exhibition dates: May 31–June 23, 2018

Viewing hours: Fridays and Saturdays, 12–5pm, or by appointment.

Tummy Kisses is a new group exhibition featuring the work of artists Neil Bender, Ben Galaday, Jenn Ryann Miller, Gary Schmitt, Chasity Williams, and Matthew Drennan Wicks.

Curated by the nonprofit arts organization Tempus Projects, these artists in the Tampa, Florida scene all work with decadent, rich, seductive palettes and materials. On view will be new works in sculpture, drawing, and painting that invite our eyes to caress; like lips to flesh.


Neil Bender has looked to image-making as a way of negotiating biological drives and urges with culture’s beautifully decorative facades, social norms, and stilted morality. Bender was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and currently lives and works in Florida. His work has been shown nationally and internationally, at the Front in New Orleans, the Boston Center for the Arts, the CUE Art Foundation in New York, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Saltworks Gallery in Atlanta, the Boston Center for the Arts, Fe Gallery in Pittsburgh, Palazzo Casali in Cortona, Italy, and many other venues. His work was represented by Bleu Acier Gallery in the Bridge Art Fair during Art Basel Miami 2006–8 and Art Chicago 2007, and shown in San Juan at Circa PR in 2010. He received the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant in 2002 after graduating from the University of Georgia, attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2004, and the “Painting’s Edge” program in Idyllwild, CA in 2006 and 2008. Visit pheromonewave.com for more on Neil.

Ben Galaday (b. 1980 - Portland, Or.) uses a formal language of children’s fable, personal myth, ’70s porn and low-budget sci- lm, Galaday addresses the idiosyncratic mechanisms of cognition and the anxiety of an exis- tential hypochondriac. Galaday received his MFA in May 2018 from University of South Florida, and graduated from Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2011 with a BFA in Ceramics.

Jenn Ryann Miller explores materiality and aesthetics through abstract sculpture and painting. With a back- ground in functional ceramics, her work subverts tradition and process through the experimentation with oblique materials and forms. Miller has been part of numerous solo and group exhibitions in Florida and the United States. Originally from Connecticut, she received a BFA from the University of Connecticut and MFA from the University of South Florida. Miller currently teaches ceramics and foundations at the University of South Florida, University of Tampa, and Hillsborough Community College. Visit jrmiller.net for more on Jenn.

Gary Schmitt completed his MFA in Sculpture at the University of South Florida in 2016 and works as a production assistant at USF Graphicstudio. In the past several years, he has exhibited his work throughout Florida and the US. Schmitt lives and works in Tampa, FL. Visit garyschmitt.com for more on Gary.

Chasity Williams is a Tampa-based artist who works in a wide range of mediums including sculpture, painting, and installation. She creates vivid and dense assemblages using pattern and decorative tendencies. Meticulously handcrafted, her work examines ideas of beauty, excess and decadence simultaneously. Visit chasitywilliams.com for more on Chasity.

Matthew Drennan Wicks has been both nationally and internationally recognized for his ceramic and non-ceramic based sculpture. His work discusses a process-based exploration of traditional craft in a contemporary context that highlights specific domestic materials and the intrinsic properties of clay. His work has been showcased throughout the United States as well as Europe and Russia and has been included in permanent collections in Massachusetts, Montana and Denmark. Matthew Drennan Wicks holds a B.F.A. from The University of Montana and a post-baccalaureate degree in Craft from Oregon College of Art and Craft. He is currently living in Tampa, Florida where he is an M.F.A. candidate at University of South Florida. Visit matthewdrennanwicks.com for more on Matthew.


Tempus Projects is dedicated to nurturing established and emerging local, national and international artists through exhibitions and events. The non-pro t organization promotes artists working in all media and originates, organizes, and hosts exhibitions that engage the Tampa Bay community through the visual arts. Established in 2009, Tempus Projects has presented numerous exhibitions and art-related programs featuring the work of dynamic and engaging artists and collaborators. Tempus also hosts visiting artists and holds quarterly artist residencies. Visit tempus-projects.com for more on Tempus Projects.