If there's one thing that most Floridians could probably live the rest of their lives without seeing one more of (besides hurricanes), it would be flamingos. While they are certainly interesting creatures that somehow symbolize old Florida, flamingos are quite possibly the tackiest and most overdone subject matter this side of Georgia. The bubblegum pink perchers can be seen in the front yards of local homes and, unfortunately, in quite a few of the works at Art Expressions in Wilton Manors. "Subtropical Collection" is a small exhibition currently on display by artist Vee, who's also the curator of ArtServe. Her abstract acrylic paintings of indigenous flora and fauna are painted with loose brushstrokes in an over-the-top, tropical palate of borderline-neon hues of orange, green, pink, and blue. Her smaller canvases offer two triptychs, both with flamingos as the recurring main theme. One of the series features an amateurish rendering of a hot-pink feathered avian surrounded by an orange background and multicolored dots, with a sloppy line of text stating the title, It's all about the dots. It must be about the dots, because it's definitely not about the aesthetics or composition. The remaining gallery space is filled with the quality eclectic art of gallery owner Francisco Sheuat and a few random artists he has previously shown. His bizarrely cute, muscle-bound daschunds of the Posing for Treats series and Pepe Tortosa's colorful and well-executed Dragonfly panels boldly rival the gallery's featured artist. Although Sheuat has a penchant for flamingos too, his are three-dimensional, substantial creations that can be forgiven, or at least overlooked, as long as they are surrounded by his diverse and energetic paintings that vary from kitschy to cubist. (Through April 7 at Art Expressions, 1212 NE Fourth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-527-7700.)
Now on Display
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There's a sculptural surprise 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 abstract and unusual piece, composed of found objects like 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 an attractive way. A more naturalistic, whimsical Giraffe, made of wood, steel, copper, and brass, stands near the shallow indoor pool. Two sculptures 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 is perched 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 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 Main Library, 100 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-357-7444.)