Embler-matic Art

A new Las Olas gallery mixes styles stylishly

For a trio of pieces in a little alcove at the back of the gallery -- the oil-on-paper Two Palmsand Coconut Palm Iand II, both in oil on canvas -- Krowitz moves in closer to the trees and their surrounding vegetation, capturing everything in darker, earthier tones. And with the oil canvases Papaya and Grave, she embraces a fuller sense of landscape. The former is a smaller study for the latter, which expands and loosens up the original image.

The exhibition is clearly dominated by the sculptures of Marc Berlet, a French artist now based in South Florida. The best of these are tall, faintly human figures that are sleek and angular, suggesting a strange hybrid of Brancusi's graceful shapes and the thin, elongated forms favored by Giacometti, for whom Berlet once worked.

Berlet works with a variety of materials for these freestanding pieces. The Award is a gleaming bronze figure perhaps five feet tall, and Bee Unit is its dark double, an imposing obelisk fashioned from jet-black marble resin. Glass is the medium for Eternal, a similar form executed on a smaller scale. And the seductive Standing Silent is made of mottled marble resin so highly polished that it looks (and feels) like a piece of exotic tropical wood.

Clark Prosperi's alarming and whimsical crab
Colby Katz
Clark Prosperi's alarming and whimsical crab
1015 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-761-7722.

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Three sculptures of fanciful musical instruments rendered in painted steel round out Berlet's contributions to the show. They're so ordinary that it's hard to believe they're the work of the same man who created the other pieces.

Berlet's one painting on display, the mixed-media Hearts Beating, is another matter altogether. It bears no resemblance to the artist's sculptures, suggesting instead an early Jackson Pollock, full of great swirls of white, green, orange, red, yellow, and blue dancing across a surface measuring 44 inches by 96 inches. It's the second-best thing in the show.

The best is a similarly grand, highly gestural oil, Lake Runner, by Beatrice Findley. The canvas measures 48 inches by 60 inches, but there's so much going on in the image that it feels like a much larger painting. Findley draws on a vast, diverse palette that ranges from dark purples and blues and inky blacks to pale golds, yellows, and oranges, all pressed into service to create one of the liveliest descendants of abstract expressionism I've seen since the bold "Fat Painting" exhibition at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood a year and a half ago.

Findley is a real find, and she's in good company in this small show, which makes Embler just the sort of gallery Las Olas, not to mention the rest of Fort Lauderdale, needs in much greater abundance.

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