Capsule reviews of current area art exhibitions.
Everything about the Artist Known as Wyland from his singular name to his bio, which touts him as "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 rich and famous. If you like paintings, drawings, and sculptures devoted to dolphins, whales, and other marine life, 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 both 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. (Wyland Galleries are located at 1213 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-522-4222.)
Now on Display
A lifelong friendship began on a three-week exploration of Cuba in 1933. The Boca Raton Museum of Art is showing a recently compiled exhibition of 50 images by American photography master Walker Evans and 20 of the legendary Ernest Hemingway's photographs and artifacts. Three Weeks in Cuba, 1933 examines a country in a time of political turmoil and two men in a time of personal and artistic growth and discovery. Evans was working on his first major assignment, illustrating the critical book, The Crime of Cuba. Hemingway traveled to Havana to fish and work on his novels. The two men were profoundly affected by their late night conversations regarding the heavy political climate of Cuba. This nightly ritual inspired their individual artistic styles for the rest of their lives. Three Weeks in Cuba, 1933 displays Hemingway's faded journal entries, photos of him fishing, and mementos of his stay, all found in Key West after his death. Walker Evans' shots of everyday life capture the heart and soul of Cuba. From the crispness of Citizen of Havana, a photo of an elegant black man in a white suit standing in front of a shoeshine stand, to the graphic violence of crime scenes, and the smoky skies of country landscapes, Walker Evans depicts a country of tormented beauty. (Through November 20, at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, 501 Plaza Real, Mizner Park, Boca Raton. Call 561-392-2500)
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