Library patrons have a sculptural surprise awaiting them in the lobby of the Broward County Library: the colorful, mixed-media animals and figures of Felix D. Gonzalez. Past the gift shop sits the Angler Fish, Gonzalez's most abstracted and unusual piece, comprised of found objects ranging from jagged pieces of metal, bicycle lights and pedals, spark plugs, cables, wires, and, as the lure on top of its head, a satellite dish. Bike tires make up the grotesque crescent-shaped mouth complete with voracious underbite. The piece captures the essence and ugliness of the anglerfish in a very attractive way. A more naturalistic, whimsical Giraffe, made of wood, steel, copper, and brass, stands near the shallow indoor pool. A few steps over is a cluster of sculptures, two of which have wooden posts for bases, with branches gently carved into the knobs of a coat rack. A parrot perches on one and a cutesy owl wearing a bow tie on the other. One piece of wood flows into an elegantly carved fish with brightly colored fins and gold detail. The works are kitschy, but at least two out of three are functional; any Florida resident will recognize and possibly resent how overdone the fish, dolphins, and parrots are. Gonzalez's naturalistic and figurative piece titled Tsunami is interesting in approach, with blades of grass and flowers carved from mahogany, climbing from the ground into a torso with plexiglass wings and a quizzical face. The name, however, changes the perception of it from what seems to be a gentle force of nature to the devastating destruction of it. (Through April 30, at Broward County Library, 100 S. Andrews Ave. Call 954-357-7444)
Now on Display
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The dark, tattoo- and graffiti-influenced work of art student Patrick Maxcy covers a wall of the hallway leading to Florida Atlantic University's Schmidt Gallery, now presenting Picturing Florida. It's an interestingly intimate segue from the expansive surrounding campus to the almost bare gallery. Maxcy's approach differs from the usual paintings hanging on white walls, as he uses all of the space offered to him by applying complementary, mixed-media images directly to the typically blank space beneath his mounted works. At the end of the hallway is the gallery itself, where artists in residence Ellen Harvey and Marc Dean Veca have created their individual but associated wall pieces comprising Picturing Florida. Veca painted a colorful, large scale surfboard-shaped piece in a very Dr. Seuss-like style, spanning two adjoining walls and adding considerable dimension to the gallery. His digitally designed painting, Strangler, references Florida with not only its shape, but through mossy green twisted vines that allude to the native strangler fig, with several not so subtle Disney logos and a background of puffy pink clouds and blue skies added to the mix. Harvey's wall installation takes a corner of the gallery, but on a much smaller scale. She alternates 80 small paintings of photos submitted by local senior citizens with mirrors to create a checkerboard effect. (Through April 18. Visit 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton. Call (561-297-2966)