¨His work is so mature for an artist his age,¨ gallery owner and director Donna Tribby effused at the recent opening of ¨Matt Godwin: Spring Paintings.¨ Just a year after graduating from Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach in 2006, the 19-year-old artist calls Boston home, now that ¨a wise art investor traded for studio space there,¨ Tribby said. Artist´s age aside, the paintings attest to an active, unsettled, and cynical mind that is reflected in both style and subject. For instance, Acne Abstraction captures the ugliness and pain of the angry pustules, and the condition´s persistence is reflected in serial breakouts, three of which are displayed. Another series, Acidic Painting on Acid Free Paper, demonstrates the artist´s sardonic wit. Lucy´s Hard Work Paid Off, in fact, uses the Peanuts´ smug know-it-all to take a jab at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Another of the series, simply titled Turkey, illustrates not only the artist´s intellect but also a style that is equal parts studied and spontaneous, deliberate yet sincere. While only 14 works are hung in the small Antique Row gallery space, almost as many more are on hand. If you want, you can get a preview at mattgodwin.org, where the talented, prolific, and savvy artist has cataloged images of all of his work. (Through July 4 at Donna Tribby Fine Art, 3506 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. Call 561-833-4001.) -- Marya Summers
A sort of heaven on Earth tucked away in the Himalayan mountains, Bhutan has been revered as home to gods and Bhutanese mortals. Buddhist since the Seventh Century, the culture reveres all life, so the natural splendor of this Asian country is well-preserved. Until the late 20th Century, the country was closed to outsiders, and even now, to maintain its natural environment, tourism is strictly limited (according to the Bhutan Tourism Corp., only 18,000 tourists were permitted in 2006). So if you aren´t one of the lucky ones who can visit the kingdom of heaven before you die, you can always visit ¨Bhutan: The Cloud Kingdom.¨ In addition to paintings, clothing, jewelry, prayer flags, and other cultural objects, the exhibit provides 60 photographs that document the land, dwellings, people, and culture of this country nestled between Tibet and India. Informative placards accompany the exhibit and let visitors know, for instance, about the symbolism within a flag with a dragon (honors the country´s nickname ¨Land of the Thunder Dragon¨) on a two-toned background (yellow honors the country´s secular authority; orange honors Buddhism) or the waterproof qualities and multiple uses of colorful, woven bamboo bowls. The exhibit´s five paintings (all gouache on paper) are spiritual in nature, depicting the Thunder Dragon, deities, parables, and important cultural symbols, while the objects reveal both the practical lives of the Bhutanese and their aesthetics. (Through July 31 at Society of the Four Arts, Children´s Art Gallery, 2 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach. Call 561-655-7227.)
Matt Godwin: Spring Paintings.
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A golden Buddha reverently holds a giant phallus before him like a censer of incense. It´s the central image of Los Angeles artist Jamie Adams´ triptych (each a 12-inch encaustic oil on linen) Big Sur. With a playful juxtaposition, Adams´ work not only holds the penis in high regard but puts it at the center of things -- the flanking images are a seascape and skyscape, to the left and right, respectively. The first in a series of three summer exhibitions, Mulry Fine Art presents "A Group Show of Landscapes" featuring painting, sculpture, and photography from the gallery´s stable of artists. For the show, gallery directors -- sisters Fecia and Meghan Mulry -- have interpreted the landscape theme as creatively as the artists have rendered them, so don´t expect to see a bunch of realistic fields and meadows. Even the photographs have a painterly quality to them. For instance, Wheaton Mahoney´s Sweet Pea, a giant, digitally manipulated close-up of a white-and-pink flower is reminiscent of one of Georgia O´Keeffe´s blossoms. Likewise, Celia Pearson´s photographs capture their subjects in larger-than-life close-ups; however, the artist´s method is a traditional one as she explores light and depth within the image as they capture their subjects: Stem Leaf and Bromeliad. Others, like Robin Kahn´s ¨State of the Art¨ series, take greater liberty with the theme. The New York artist uses a found image (perhaps originally a woodcut or linocut) of a forest-lined river as the backdrop for her cartoon of a woman balancing a man overhead with one arm. The cartoon woman performs a tight-wire act on a piece of string laid across the picture. These works (identical except for the positioning of the string and cartoons) focus more on female roles than they do on nature. Also on display are works by Isabel Bigelow (paintings and monoprints), Peter Burega (abstract paintings), Luis Castro (wood and stone sculpture), Cara Enteles (multimedia), and Marc Leuders (photography). (Through June 30 at Mulry Fine Art, 3300 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. Call 561-228-1006.)