Very Mixed Media

"Ian Murray"

Murray also gets more with less in a tiny piece called Arizona Landscape, which is perhaps four by four inches and was created with printing ink. A jagged, irregular horizontal line near the top of the paper suggests a horizon separating a murky sky from the dark, earthy tones below, which are less an actual landscape than an evocation of a landscape.

The artist apparently uses bleach to achieve the washed-out look of "The Voyeuristic Cubist Series." The show is full of these fuzzy images of a male nude in various poses, which have the feel of hand-tinted photographs. There's a haunting quality to some of these pictures that gives way to a numbing sameness after a while, maybe because there are so many of them (including a stack of matted, unframed ones for sale near the gallery entrance). Murray has been to the well a few times too often for this series.

Several of the medium-size pieces group as many as 20 individual panels together, for an image-within-an-image effect. Sometimes the smaller panels are variations on the same visual theme, as in Pool Vision, in which each of 20 panels of approximately six inches square has a sunburst or moonlike sphere in its center.

Murray's Worship of the Sun God mixes bold colors and simple shapes
Murray's Worship of the Sun God mixes bold colors and simple shapes


on display through February 29. Call 954-537-3518 for more information
Art Frenzie, 2244 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors

For the show's single best work, a mixed-media piece called Humanity, Murray places 15 snapshot-size portraits on a white background, arrayed in five rows of three each. The portraits are executed in dramatically different styles, each expressing a different shade of human emotion, giving the piece a cumulative effect far greater than that of its individual components.

Humanity also serves to highlight Murray's versatility. One more or less realistic head of a formally dressed man recalls the young Frank Sinatra, while another uses cubist-style elements to suggest a face. One panel features a woman's head painted in garishly bright red, and another is a blurry chiaroscuro interpretation of a female nude. Two screaming heads even echo Francis Bacon's notorious portraits of screaming popes. There is no other piece in the show that is quite like this one, leaving us to wonder if it's an older work or one heralding a new direction for this clearly talented, if uneven, artist.

Art Frenzie typically features an eclectic variety of works by various artists crammed into its little corner spot in the Shoppes of Wilton Manors. For the Ian Murray show, the owners have stored much of their stock elsewhere, giving these pieces at least a fraction of the display space they deserve.

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