Artbeat

Capsule reviews of current area art exhibitions.

Since it opened in the late 1990s, Frons/Martin Dynasties has been known for its selection of country Chinese antiques -- fashionably rugged furniture, austere ceramics, Buddhas, and Buddha heads. Step into this high-end design showcase and you enter a serene oasis only a few feet from the insanely busy intersection of Federal Highway and NE 26th Street in Fort Lauderdale. That's about to change. Not the emphasis on country Chinese antiques, which will remain, and certainly not the serenity. The latter, in fact, will only be enhanced by the store's new emphasis on the artistic output of one of its partners. The original acrylics of Aric Frons, who owns the business with business partner, Joan Martin, have long been a fixture here; at least a dozen currently adorn the walls. But when Artbeat visited recently, a handful of sturdy, portable white panels had been installed and were awaiting the arrival of a new line of signed, limited-edition prints based on the paintings. Frons specializes in disarmingly simple compositions using basic geometric forms, especially squares and rectangles, often accented with dramatic brushstrokes and splashes and spatters of pigment. There's almost always more going on in a Frons painting than first meets the eye -- a wash of one color reveals hints of a layer of another color beneath, prickly textures emerge from a seemingly featureless field of paint. Likewise, the artist's style initially seems quintessentially modern, coolly stripped down to bare essentials and emotionally detached. But the rigor and crispness of his forms play off a passion that reveals itself slowly in the gestural swaths of paint. His work, perhaps surprisingly, would be as comfortable at home in a chic minimalist environment as it is here among country Chinese antiques -- and, for that matter, on gallery walls. Frons recently had a show in Coral Gables at Art+ Fine Art Gallery at Merrick Park, and he was one of the first artists showcased by the Embler Gallery when it opened on Las Olas Boulevard earlier this year. (Frons/Martin Dynasties, 2599 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale, 954-567-0448.) -- Michael Mills

NOW ON DISPLAY

The ever-versatile space at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami becomes a multiplex cinema of sorts for "Cut: Film as Found Object." For each of 14 works in this dazzling show, the artist starts with existing footage, then subjects it to one or more modifications identified as "key gestures": to stretch, remove, arrange, systematize, erase, repair, continue, match. Douglas Gordon's 24 Hour Psycho, for instance, elongates the Hitchcock classic to play, frame by frame, over the course of a full day. CNN Concatenated is an exercise in virtuous editing in which Omer Fast extracts and edits hundreds of snippets of talking heads from the cable channel into terse sentences. And Christian Marclay's flat-out amazing Video Quartet uses four large, side-by-side screens in a darkened auditorium to present countless film clips reassembled into a 14-minute concert that's a sort of grand homage to the work of great maverick American composer and philosopher John Cage. The other works are similarly if more modestly ambitious. (Through January 30 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Joan Lehman Bldg., 770 NE 125th St., North Miami, 305-893-6211.)

 
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