Antiques Sideshow

"Amalgam: Multi-Media Fusions by Four Florida Artists"

In putting together Gaze, the confessed junk-hound took a cradlelike structure made of rusty steel, then draped chunks of green glass wrapped in copper wire over the sides. Four guitar strings stretch from one end of the piece to another. Bundle starts with mangled bedsprings -- rusted, of course -- piled on a wooden platform. A cluster of pieces of red glass is wrapped in wire inside the bedsprings, and a small spotlight illuminates the glass. For the small piece Her Badness #3, Friedland used a roundish chunk of green glass with snaky strips of glass extending from it to suggest a sort of abstract Medusa.

Holt's best piece in the show is one that, like Friedland's work, evokes the organic by way of mechanical means. Rolling Bridge is a monumental piece, perhaps 10 feet tall and 15 feet wide, that incorporates Holt's usual conglomeration of copper wire and colored glass (in this case, blue) into a stretch of steel chainlink fence, all suspended within a six-legged wooden frame. The overall effect is distinctly surreal, as if the artist had displayed the skeleton of a gigantic fish by hanging it inside a bridge.

The one artist whose work doesn't quite fit in with the rest of "Amalgam" is Allan Maxwell, whose 15 large manipulated photographs occupy the medium-size gallery just off the museum's foyer. Maxwell typically stages a composition, often using dolls (including Barbie) as well as human figures, then projects an existing photographic image onto the staged arrangement, which he then photographs again. A positive transparency of the image is generated, and the artist etches additional images onto its surface before making a final photographic print.

Polly Holt's Rolling Bridge  is one of the highlights of the exhibition
Polly Holt's Rolling Bridge is one of the highlights of the exhibition

Details

Through September 26. For more information call 954-921-3274.
Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood.

The process sounds complicated, and indeed the resulting imagery is sometimes so hopelessly cluttered that it's difficult to tell what Maxwell wants these photographs to do. The whimsicality of the doll-based pictures, in particular, seems a bit forced, although he achieves a pleasing balance between photographic and illustrational elements in two similar pieces: Water Series #7 and Water Series #5.

Maxwell's work would make more sense as part of a photography exhibition, especially one emphasizing photographs that have been tinkered with in one way or another. Here, however, among the art of Shipp, Friedland, and Holt, it just seems out of place. Other than that, "Amalgam" is a sparse but appealingly prickly show.

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