Artbeat

Capsule reviews of current area art exhibitions.

Inevitably, Giannina Coppiano Dwin ends up with ants in her pants. That's because the lacy bikinis, discretely named Untitled, are made of sugar. They are "drawn" with the loose crystals. These are among the works exhibited in "2006 South Florida Cultural Consortium Visual and Media Arts Fellowship Exhibition."The show features work from all 12 recipients of these hefty awards (some as much as $15,000). Denise Moody-Tackley's expertly tailored wedding dresses deftly raise questions about gender roles and marital expectations in the material they employ, whether it's a strapless gown made of trash bags or a corseted gown of bedspreads, sheets, and mattress covers. In fact, many of the works in this exhibit use art as a medium to raise social awareness. Some even with a sense of humor, like Tim Curtis's Please Keep Your Internal Dialogue Internal, an installation of hundreds of chalkboards of varying sizes inscribed with messages, some wise ("The great equalizer: death") and others inane ("Clapping makes me feel like I'm contributing"). Other works are more grave; John Bailly's paintings and monoprints comment on classism and revolution while incorporating equally universal elements of science, architecture, and geography. On video, documentaries by Chad Tingle, Rock Solomon, Julie Kahn, and Eric Freedman also artistically explore revolution, globalization, gentrification, and poverty. Contrasting with these weighty themes are works like Jacin Giordano's "Spin," a colorful sculpture of glitter-encrusted colored-pencils which have been wrapped up like a giant jelly roll and whittled to a point where thick, acrylic paint has dried into a colorful plastic wheel. Works by Christina Pettersson, Asser Saint-Val, and Amy Gross are also on display. Through October 28 at Florida Atlantic University Schmidt Center Gallery and Ritter Art Gallery, Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton. Call 561-297-2966.

Now on Display

Nothing like kicking the bucket to make others appreciate a person — and this is doubly true for artists. In May, the death of the Dutch abstract expressionist who helped found an art movement known as CoBrA (an acronym for the initial letters of the founders' countries of origin: Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam) inspired a Fort Lauderdale exhibit — "Karel Appel: In Memoriam."As far as memorials go, this is an intimate one, comprised of just 11 works from the museum's permanent collection. Despite its size, the exhibit not only honors the artist but provides examples of his work in a variety of media. Though his work may be labeled abstract, it is not strictly so. Even in the ones that come the closest to being nonrepresentational, there is at least the hint of object. Using vivid colors applied in thick swipes and swirls, one untitled, undated oil painting (which is more non-specific than abstract) might be construed as a portrait: dark blue splotches suggest eyes, the rectangle at the bottom could be a mouth. Most works are abstract in the art term's original meaning — the reduction of the subject to a simplified form. The works exhibited have a childlike quality in their simplicity, expressiveness, and playfulness. Big Bird with Child offers an excellent example, where the mixed media piece uses wood to give dimension to the otherwise flat forms. (Through May 1 at Museum of Art/Fort Lauderdale, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale. Call 954-525-5500.)

 
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