One of the ideas behind "Cultural Collisions," now at Broward College in downtown Fort Lauderdale, was to bring together four artists from different cultural backgrounds and see what kind of cross-pollination might result. The artists — American Timothy Leistner, Venezuelan Francisco Sheuat, Honduran Julio Green, and Dominican Carmen Cordero — went so far as to pair up in various configurations and collaborate on six of the 23 works on display; all four artists worked on two additional pieces together.
With a couple of exceptions, the artists' styles mingle about as well as oil and water, and it's their solo work that shines. Take Leistner's colorful mixed-media School of Fish, for instance, which has just the right look and feel on its own — any hint of the other artists' styles would have been an intrusion that would have destroyed its delicate ecology.
The exhibition was curated by Sheuat, who includes five of his own solo works. Lately, he has been exploring the possibilities of recycling metal drink cans, which he painstakingly cuts up and reassembles in ways that are invariably amazing. Each piece is like a chapter from an ongoing saga.
The show's standout, however, is Green, who contributes a quartet of mixed-media works that are uniformly strong. For two of them, Sunrise and Sunset, the artist started with big slabs of wood that he then subjected to manipulations of various sorts — their gouged, pockmarked, and painted surfaces suggest sometimes violent processes that yield surprising delicacy and beauty.
The weak link here is Cordero, whose halting surrealism feels out of place among the more daring work surrounding it.