Christmas has passed but the holidays continue. In that spirit, Clayton Galleries in South Tampa retains its "Small Works" exhibit through Jan. 12.
After that, the gallery will open an exhibit called "Side Stories" by two local women artists: Yoko Nogami, of St. Petersburg, and Claudia Ryan, of Bradenton.
The artists are about as different as you can get.
Nogami's works are in the area of realism, while Ryan's are abstract.
So why are the works of these two women featured in the same show?
"Both artists' works are narrative, with Yoko's being more literal, and Claudia's more abstract," gallery owner Cathy Clayton wrote in an email. "Although I haven't discussed with the artists, I think that is their common ground and the reason they titled it as such."
"Choosing what to have in a show is very subjective," added Mark Feingold, manager and curator for the gallery. "And sometimes it's nice to have things that are diverse."
Plus the two women have a similar aesthetic background, having graduated together in 2006 from the master's degree in fine arts program at the University of South Florida.
But it's their differences that give the show its zing.
Born and raised in Tokyo, Nogami brings her cultural heritage into her work. Her color-drenched realistic paintings have a fantasy quality about them that often moves them into the realm of anime.
"Some of it looks like that, but it's more sophisticated," Feingold said. "She does this whole series with this fictional character called 'Toko' that's a meld between herself and her daughter."
There are several series that feature Toko in the exhibit.
Ryan's paintings, on the other hand, are all lines and color.
"Some of her things are pure abstract, but some have representative parts in them — people or objects that are recognizable," Feingold said. "There's a frenetic energy in them, but it's very organized."
Meet the artists and see their work at an opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. on Jan. 18. For information, go to www.claytongalleries.net or call (813) 831-3753.