Capsule reviews of current area art exhibitions.
Broward Art Guild's 55th Anniversary Exhibition at ArtServe is a juried show of the guild's members, ranging from some whose work might never be displayed if not for their yearly dues to those whose skills could easily pay the bills. Daniel Garcia won Best in Show with his abstractly figurative piece Rita, whose velvety black background allows bright, loose brush strokes to pop and grab the viewer's attention. Greedy Supplicant by Stephanie Lowe makes an obvious but meaningful sociopolitical statement, with the easily recognizable President Bush, his hands in prayer position, wearing an oil rig on his head like a stupid birthday hat. Dan W. McKinney placed second with Soft Sofia, a painting that pays homage to legendary beauty Sofia Loren; two expertly rendered, delicate portraits of the actress sit side by side with contrasting streaks of brown and thickly applied whites and yellows. Third place went to the lesser of two works displayed by surrealist John Patrick Kelly, Chasing the Ghost. The bonded, ambiguous nude with a hint of breast and birds perched atop his/her open head has nothing on the pirates in the squash ship with the teacup lookout and sea monsters swimming by that inhabit Kelly's Rub a Dub Dub. Several other works received Judges Recognition, such as the clean, Dutch-like still life of Shoe Molds by Lee A. Bianco. A couple of paintings that hang unadorned with any awards deserve mentioning: Paige Hargrove's painterly nude, Portrait of a Woman, is simultaneously stern and supple, and Dagmar Crosby's Tababuia offers a lovely glimpse of daily life, featuring a dry cleaners highlighted by yellow blossoms and blue skies. (Through November 10 at ArtServe, 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-462-8190.)
Now on Display
A little racy for quaint Delray Beach, Maestros de Cuba at the Cornell Museum showcases five contemporary Cuban artists whose work has never been exhibited together before this show. Working in different media with vastly different perspectives, the artists were selected by Anita and Jay Hyman, founders of the Society for the Advancement of Latin American Art, who frequently travel to Cuba to collect art. Los Pajaros, a crayon and watercolor piece by Jose Roberto Fabelo Perez, greets the visitor in the museum's foyer. It has a beautifully serene and surreal quality: a flock of birds moving toward a woman's profile, with shells suggesting the curls of her hair. Drawings and watercolors by Pedro Pablo Oliva Rodriguez appear, at first, like caricatures, almost Hirschfeldesque in their repeated lines and exaggerated features. But closer inspection reveals penises and genitalia, a pin driven through a man's neck, and a vise around a doll's head. Nelson Dominguez Cedeno offers several stunning paintings and mixed-media works: Cargo en Rojo (2005) describes a horse's muzzle seen from above, its nose gleaming white against a dark burgundy background. In contrast to the male Cuban artists in the downstairs galleries, Vernissage, an ambitiously multifaceted exhibit of female artists, occupies two of the upstairs rooms. Organized by the Florida chapter of the National Association of Women Artists, the exhibit represents works by 41 women. Villagio di Barga, an etching by Bernice Harwood, stands out: Its black shapes contrast with peach shadows, a rough rendering of an alleyway view. Eleanor Shane's acrylics pop off the walls: Cave Music is a particularly vibrant example of fluorescent colors and abstract shapes. (Both through October 30 at the Cornell Museum of Art & History, Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach. Call 561-243-7922.)
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