Capsule reviews of current area art exhibitions.
The richly eclectic 2005 Residue is the fall exhibition of the School of the Arts at Florida Atlantic University. Upon entering the school's Ritter Gallery, one is struck by a duck a big, puffy duck made of wood, wire, and flexduct tubing. Reminiscent of Claus Oldenburg's oversized sculptures, Bradley Lezo's silver Duct Duck is clever and well-executed. In dramatic contrast to the size of Lezo's duck is the lovely little book titled My World by Susan Amsier. Consisting of maps, paper, and board, the book is displayed open, like an accordion, so that the numbered pages of maps labeled with state abbreviations can be seen and understood as the artist's journey. Amy White's mixed-media Weapons of Mass Destruction, with its highly symbolic foreground on a canvas of shades of rust that graduate to a deep black, shows a proper table setting of silverware hovering above the lightest hues of the background; as the colors darken, a skillfully painted floral pattern leads to a mounted white dinner plate painted with an exquisitely detailed image of a little girl. (De) Glamorization of War is a digital triptych by Shanna Vinig, one of which offers a tight shot of full, bright-red lips spewing staggering statistics about women in the military. Two of Kaye Radler's whimsical paintings, Woodwind and Kapali's Secret, grace a back wall. Her delicately wispy line quality and soft color schemes invite the viewer to look closely at her seemingly floral subject matter. Jeffrey Cmejla makes a subtle but powerful statement with his untitled graphic-design piece that references the civil rights movement, with a barely discernible outline of Africa among rows of names of activists and contributors. (Through December 11 at the Ritter Gallery, FAU, 777 Glades Rd., Boca Raton. Call 561-297-2116.)
Now on Display
Salvador Dali: Large and Monumental Sculptures: Amid the royal palms and thick-blade sod of the Village of Merrick Park plaza stand 15 of Dali's colossal bronze sculptures. Their stylistic range gives a comprehensive overview of the eccentric, mustachioed Spaniard's work not to mention talent in this medium. Flanked by The Collection's latest offerings from Jaguar and Lotus, the dynamic pieces created from Dali's original casts quietly struggle to steal glances from the mall's haute couture seekers. Although Dali is most remembered for his dreamlike, surrealist paintings, art historians are re-examining his work in other media, which only adds to the significance of this show. (Through May 2006, presented by Art+ Gallery at the Village of Merrick Park, 358 San Lorenzo Ave., No. 3135, Coral Gables, Call 786-497-1111 or visit www.artplusgallery.com.)
Everything about the Artist Known as Wyland from his singular name to his bio, which touts him as an "artist of the sea" and "the most influential marine life artist of our time" shouts BIG! USA Today once called him "a Marine Michelangelo," the U.N. named him official artist for the International Year of the Ocean (1998), and the Guinness people certified his Ocean Planet in Long Beach, California, as the world's largest mural. Wyland's empire also includes nearly three dozen galleries in eight U.S. states as well as Canada and Mexico. Most are concentrated, not surprisingly, in Hawaii (his base), California, and Florida, with Wyland Galleries on Las Olas Boulevard one of his seven Sunshine State locations. That's a lot of hoopla for an artist who, bottom line, appears to have a Flipper fixation. OK, to be fair, Wyland does have an extraordinary knack for what he does, and what he does has made him very rich and famous. If you like paintings, drawings, and sculptures devoted to dolphins, whales, and other marine life and such art is enormously popular with millions of people then Wyland's your man. He can capture the play of light just beneath the surface of saltwater like no one else, and he has an almost fanatical fidelity to anatomical accuracy and to capturing the way these creatures move through their watery world. And in much the same way that Clyde Butcher is an advocate for Everglades preservation, Wyland wields his clout to promote awareness of marine ecology. The local gallery has a wealth of his work in all media, along with the highly variable output of similar-minded artists such as Noelito, who does striking chiaroscuro seascapes bathed in moonlight; and Steven Power, whose landscapes have something of the feel of paintings by the Florida Highwaymen. (Wyland Galleries are at 1213 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-522-4222.)
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