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A farewell to Josefa and Joe

The Gallery at Rio Carrabelle is presenting a colorful and exciting art exhibition through Saturday, Aug. 13, featuring artist Josefa Benavides and her husband, artist Joe Kotzman, in the unique studio-gallery art venue in downtown Carrabelle.

“Both have been very involved in the arts community in Franklin County,” said Bill Owen who, along with fellow working artist Pat Moore, have been managing the gallery for owner Bo May. 

“We want to support local art and artists and give them an opportunity to showcase their talents.”

The show, which culminates in a farewell party for the couple, offers a final opportunity to see an art exhibition in this area featuring these two talented artists, as they prepare to move to Chicago, Illinois to be nearer to their son, a Chicago firefighter. 

Benavides, who received her fine arts degree from the Superior School of Fine Arts of Seville, Spain, is primarily an oil painter. She works in other mediums as well, such as clay, as evidenced by her exquisite clay pendants that hang from a crocheted necklace.

“She’s more old school than Joe,” said Owen. “She’s traditional in her approach. Most of her paintings are of the style and grace of an old school European painting.”

Kotzman, 91, works almost exclusively in watercolor, and tackles a broad range of subjects, with phantasmagorical, animated themes of the sort found in Marc Chagall’s works.

“I call them dreamscapes, it’s as if he’s dreaming while he’s painting,” said Owen. “He does things that are equivalent in my eyes as Salvador Dali. He got these really shaded watercolors that have intricate designs that are fantasy-like. He will have a field of color and there will be a horse flying through a cloud.

“Some of these images, every time you walk by them, you notice something new,” he said.

Kotzman completed artistic studies at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Academia Carrera in Bergamo, Italy and St. Isabel School of Fine Arts in Seville, Spain. 

He’s been an active teacher and contributor to the regional art scene, including LeMoyne Arts, which is Tallahassee’s center for contemporary visual arts. 

The exhibition will finish with a closing reception, “Celebration: A Farewell Party for Josefa Benavides and Joe Kotzman,” on Saturday, Aug. 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Rio Carrabelle. This farewell celebration for Josefa and Joe will feature food, drink and music by the Rio Jazz Trio. 

The Rio Carrabelle Art Gallery, a non-profit art and music destination, is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 102 St. James Avenue (US Hwy 98), in Carrabelle. Visit riocarrabelle.com or on Facebook, The Gallery At Rio Carrabelle, for more information.

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