Genesis Fine Art, a small gallery on Fort Lauderdale's Las Olas Boulevard shopping district, specializes in original paintings, emphasis on original. That may not sound like such a significant distinction -- until you consider how prevalent limited-edition prints and giclées are in today's art market. Genesis currently stocks works by more than a dozen artists from all over the world, many of whom can be characterized as latter-day impressionists. The quality of the art is highly variable, even among the output of the same artist. Take Georges Flanet, who's based in St. Tropez, France. When he works on a small scale, as in the handful of oils displayed in a case, he can be impressive. There's more than a hint of van Gogh in some of these pieces, which feature carefully composed imagery and dense gestural brushwork; he achieves a pleasing balance of technique and content. In most of his larger canvases, his sense of composition abandons him, and the results are unfocused. The gallery's other standout is Ihor Korotash, who emigrated from Ukraine a decade ago. Korotash's seascapes display an ease with post-impressionism, although sometimes he works with bold swaths of paint that inject a note of cubism. And in an inspired move, he often paints directly onto maps and nautical charts. The artist of the moment at Genesis, however, appears to be Mexican sculptor Bruno Luna, whose chunky sculptures seem to be everywhere. Luna's subject is the human figure; his gimmick is to summon up in bronze the plump characters of Fernando Botero, the famous Colombian. Botero, however, uses grotesque exaggeration for humor-laced social commentary; Luna's work is mired in cutesiness. (Genesis Fine Art is at 803 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-467-6066.) -- Michael Mills
NOW ON DISPLAY
The dozen large-scale color photographs that make up "Zhang Huan: Seeds of Hamburg," now at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, document a 2002 performance piece by the young Chinese artist, and they pack quite a wallop for such a small show. Zhang's subject matter, almost to the exclusion of everything else, is the human body, usually his own. Here, he enacts a ritual involving a large cage, honey and birdseeds (applied to his body), and 28 doves for a ruminative narrative evoking confinement and escape, captivity and freedom, barrenness and fertility, life and death, rebirth and rejuvenation. Take in Zhang's work as well as "In Pursuit of Mists and Clouds: Masterworks of Chinese Painting," elsewhere at the Norton and you'll get a good general sense of Chinese art past and present. ("Seeds of Change" is on display through February 20; "In Pursuit of Mists and Clouds" is on display through January 9. Both are at the Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach, 561-832-5196.)
Roman Vishniac was more storyteller than photographer. In his photographs, currently tucked into a tiny gallery at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, one sees picture after picture of the haunted eyes and bundled, hunched figures of poor Jewish people living in Eastern Europe, taken from 1933 to 1938. For some, the photos were likely the last ever taken; a year after Vishniac finished his project, the Nazis occupied Poland, and soon after began the systematic extermination of Jews. The photos in "Images of a Vanished World" are not always artistically perfect. Some are blurred or just out of focus, or the composition is faulty. But Vishniac, conscious of both anti-Semites and Orthodox Jews who were fearful of having their picture taken, hid his camera in his coat, with the lens peeking out of a buttonhole. Despite the shaky quality of the photos, they are searing. There's a man who, having been evicted from his own shop, returns every day to sit on its stoop, from either habit or faith that the shop will be restored. There's an old woman sitting in front of a synagogue that has fallen into disrepair. (Through January 16 at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, Mizner Park, 501 Plaza Rd., Boca Raton, 561-392-2500, www.bocamuseum.org.)
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