Winslow Homer: Illustrator and Graphic Artist

When it comes to images, the digital world values clarity, but in the art world — both old and new — sometimes blurry is better. "Winslow Homer: Illustrator and Graphic Artist" offers a survey of woodcuts and etchings by the 19th-century American artist whose career straddles the line between commercial and fine art. Most of the exhibit is comprised of illustrations from Harper's Weekly — on a tremendous range of themes, from Civil War to opium dens, from farm life to high society. While often excised from his paintings, Homer's humor is most apparent in his woodcuts — the lesser in the hierarchy of the art forms. For instance, he engages his audience in a game of "Where's Winslow?" by often incorporating his initials in the images — in one, a woman writes them with her umbrella in the sand; in another, they grace the ankles of a pair of women's boots. While his career blurred lines, the woodcuts and etchings are exacting, accomplished in fine, detailed lines and crosshatching. At the other end of the spectrum is "Seton Smith: New Work," large, contemporary photography whose blurriness breaks down boundaries — personal, physical, and psychological. Their scale pulls you into their spaces. Without a sharp focus, Lamp diffuses its light as if through a light fog, creating a dreamy space that rouses the subconscious. In Cabinet Black Vases, the fuzziness focuses attention on the artistic elements of composition rather than on the literal level of the subject matter. (Through March 8 at Eaton Fine Art, 435 Gardenia St., West Palm Beach. Call 561-833-4766.)

 
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