Artbeat

Capsule reviews of current area art exhibitions.

Sometimes, the most thrilling exhibits await discovery in odd places. At the north end of NE Second Street in Delray Beach, in the part of Pineapple Grove that has barely been touched by the area's cultural makeover, waits the Women in the Visual Arts Gallery. The gallery showcases art that breeds excitement both from the quality of the work and the thrill of discovering the unexpected -- a professional gallery existing in what amounts to a strip mall. As with most juried shows, "Found Objects," judged by several of the collective's 400-plus members, contains some real jewels and some near-misses. The misses are easy to skip. Most of the weaker pieces took the show's theme to its most literal interpretation, collecting extra stuff lying around to create pleasant but obvious and somewhat frivolous pieces. One exception is Norma Malerich's amazing Beaded Treasures, an amalgam of leftover bits from a sewing table. Its beauty is compelling to anybody who has ever parlayed the beauty of scraps at the bottom of a junk drawer into art. Malerich, who works in fabrics, also has several embellished fabric purses on display. A less literal and impressive piece is Sharon Kurlycheck's tribute to Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, a diorama called Yo Pinto Mi Realidad. Part shrine, part collage, the little box that sits in the corner of the studio snags the eye as soon as you walk in the door. Also worth a good, long look is Lola Lichman's Prison of Love, a mixed-media feast for the imagination, hinting at the darkness of fairy tales we try to ignore. If you hate collage, there's sculpture, jewelry, painting, and photography to peruse. (Through March 21 at the Women in the Visual Arts Gallery, 330 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach, 561-276-5579, www.witva.org.)

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