Now on Display
"Joan Brechin Sonnenberg: Images Transcending the Mediums" -- It may be uneven, but when Sonnenberg is good, she's really good. The South Florida-based artist, a Pennsylvania transplant, works in mixed media on a large, occasionally overwhelming scale. The breathtaking CitiScape, for example, is a massive acrylic triptych that transforms an anonymous urban street scene into pure, energized geometry. Hard-edged, crisply defined blocks and grids contrast with billowy, cloud-like forms lurking at the edges, subtly suggestive of both plumes of steam and ghostly traces of human presence. Sometimes Sonnenberg hits on a compositional element so richly evocative that she recycles it, as in the bare-tree-branch motif that anchors Apocalypse, Ice Needle, and Spring Board, three very different but equally impressive works on paper. She uncannily (and perhaps unknowingly) channels the spirit of Francis Bacon into the marine imagery of the triptychs Dock Chains and Shipyard Treasures, and technique and subject matter achieve near-perfect harmony in Unification I (Valve), a big canvas that commands its own sunny corner. (Through June 19 at the Coral Springs Museum of Art, 2855 Coral Springs Dr., Coral Springs. Call 954-340-5000.)
"Intimacy and Discomfort" -- Featuring the multimedia works of Laura Burns and Teresa Diehl, the show serves as a mirror for the viewer's own feelings toward close, personal contact. Diehl's theme is pure sensation, before it gets complicated by rational thought. Divided into four sections, the untitled projects work together, creating a womb-like atmosphere with dark lighting and soft furniture (a waterbed and foam seat) -- which, depending upon your level of squeamishness, may be the last bit of comfort you feel. After passing through the first two rooms, which include an extremely close-up, slow-motion video of a mother breastfeeding (you can't see much beyond mouth and nipple), the mother/baby theme changes to man/woman. This time, the zoomed-in video shots include mouth on ear, followed by ice being rubbed on the head of a penis. If that makes you wiggle in discomfort, then you probably wouldn't have taken part in Burns' "Other People's Beds" photo series/social experiment, in which the artist visited about 90 people -- many complete strangers -- and asked them to photograph her naked in their beds. (Through June 27 at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 1650 Harrison St. Call 954-921-3274.)
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