Capsule reviews of current area art exhibitions.

A little racy for quaint Delray Beach, Maestros de Cuba at the Cornell Museum showcases five contemporary Cuban artists whose work has never been exhibited together prior to this show. Working in different media with vastly different perspectives, the artists were selected by Anita and Jay Hyman, founders of the Society for the Advancement of Latin American Art, who frequently travel to Cuba to collect art. Los Pajaros, a crayon and watercolor piece by Jose Roberto Fabelo Perez, greets the visitor in the museum's foyer. It has a beautifully serene and surreal quality: a flock of birds moving toward a woman's profile, with shells suggesting the curls of her hair. Drawings and watercolors by Pedro Pablo Oliva Rodriguez appear, at first like caricatures, almost Hirschfeld-esque in their repeated lines and exaggerated features. But closer inspection reveals penises and genitalia, a pin driven through a man's neck, and a vise around a doll's head. Nelson Dominguez Cedeno offers several stunning paintings and mixed-media works: Cargo en Rojo (2005) describes a horse's muzzle seen from above, its nose gleaming white against a dark-burgundy background. In contrast to the male Cuban artists in the downstairs galleries, Vernissage, an ambitiously multifaceted exhibit of female artists, occupies two of the upstairs rooms. Organized by the Florida chapter of the National Association of Women Artists, the exhibit represents works by 41 women. Villagio di Barga, an etching by Bernice Harwood, stands out: Its black shapes contrast with peach shadows, a rough rendering of an alleyway view. Eleanor Shane's acrylics pop off the walls: Cave Music is a particularly vibrant example of fluorescent colors and abstract shapes. (Both shows run through October 30 at the Cornell Museum of Art and History, Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach. Call 561-243-7922.)

Now on Display

A lifelong friendship began on a three-week exploration of Cuba in 1933. The Boca Raton Museum of Art is showing a recently compiled exhibition of 50 images by American photography master Walker Evans and 20 of legendary Ernest Hemingway's photographs and artifacts. "Three Weeks in Cuba, 1933" examines a country in a time of political turmoil and two men in a time of personal and artistic growth and discovery. Evans was working on his first major assignment, illustrating the critical book The Crime of Cuba. Hemingway traveled to Havana to fish and work on novels. The two men were profoundly affected by their late-night conversations regarding the heavy political climate of Cuba. This nightly ritual inspired their individual artistic styles for the rest of their lives. Hemingway wrote To Have and Have Not while Evans produced his first great body of work, images that simultaneously exemplify the daily life and danger of Cuba during this time. "Three Weeks" displays Hemingway's weathered journal entries, photos of him fishing, and mementos of his stay, all found in Key West after his death. Evans' shots of everyday life capture the heart and soul of Cuba. From the crispness of Citizen of Havana, a photo of an elegant black man in a white suit standing in front of a shoeshine stand, to the graphic violence of crime scenes and the smoky skies of country landscapes, Evans depicts a country of tormented beauty. He takes the viewer on a gripping journey of Havana, past the street vendors and beggars, through the fruit market to the patchwork shacks of the Village of Havana Poor. This exhibition allows museum guests a glimpse into a friendship between two remarkable men — and into a country in an era of upheaval. (Through November 20 at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, 501 Plaza Real, Mizner Park Boca Raton. Call 561-392-2500.)

It's an idea whose time has come: Art meets food. Mark's at the Park restaurant in Boca Raton engagingly displays the multimedia works of longtime local artist Elizabeth Chapman. Diners get the opportunity to digest this earthy yet ethereal exhibition as they indulge in Chef Mark Militello's home-style meatballs or pan-seared scallops. Hidden Emotions, which sneaks a discreet nude into the corner of its rich, layered paint on stacked canvas, will capture the gaze of whoever has the fortune of sitting at one particular table, and Helene's Gift, a patchy, organic work that boldly incorporates fleshy nudes and slate grays, will undoubtedly catch the eye of diners on their way to the restrooms. Chapman's innovative use of Masonite and canvas, held together invisibly in one piece and with heavy metal clamps in another, gives a quiet but intense balance to the abstracted blocks of color and thick textures, chalky squiggles, shadowy hands, and modest nudes that appear in many of her paintings. Floating Canvas is exactly that. It's not a stretched canvas; instead, it hangs loosely, suspended from a metal rod that reinforces the rawness of the dark patches of glazed, layered colors and the mystery of the shadow of a hand that materializes again. Near the entrance to the restaurant, organic materials, rusty metal hinges, tarpaper, and darks smears of paint give a dark depth to the piece titled Absence of Mention. An almost tangible harmony is at play throughout the restaurant, showing that Chapman was a good choice as one of two artists to provide the artistic image for the restaurant (sculptor Sid Walesh is the other). (Through November 30 at 344 Plaza Real, Mizner Park, Boca Raton. Call 561-395-0770.)

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