Bear and Bird Boutique + Gallery Puts Artists' Egos on Display

Would it be the teensiest bit ungenerous to suggest that artists, as a group, tend to be self-involved? Of course not. Artistic ego is part of what makes "Me Me Me Me Me" so much fun. The group show of artist self-portraits is on display now at the Bear and Bird Boutique + Gallery. Inventive themed exhibitions are a specialty of gallery owner Amanda Magnetta-Ottati, and here she has hit on another winner. Twice a year, Bear and Bird offers an open invitation to all area artists to participate in a group show. This time, 155 responded, and Magnetta-Ottati has crammed every one of their self-portraits onto the walls of her little space upstairs at Tate's Comics in Lauderhill. It's a giddy grab bag of portraiture, with a dizzying array of styles and media represented. Rosanna Pereya's mixed-media The Portrait sees her as a fragile-looking doll bust encased in an ornately framed, wallpapered box, with each hand-made element attesting to the artist's attention to detail. For the witty acrylic Todd Hears the Evil, Todd Nolan re-creates the look and feel of a child's storybook, with himself cast as a mischievous kid listening to Black Sabbath under headphones (the painting is demonically priced at $166.61). Claudia Paola Tapia's Sweetheart/Sweet Tart serves her up as a double portrait inside and outside a red, heart-shaped candy box. Dan Woodruff's My Fake Hair is a ramshackle mixed-media sculpture that incorporates a spoon, a metal spring, a wooden frame, and a miniature painting, among many other ingredients, all topped with a small hairpiece. And in Pez Head, Kerry Tichenor uses 2,242 Pez tablets to create a mosaic of herself. There's surprisingly little seriousness here, fortunately — these artists may have egos, but they're also refreshingly playful and self-deprecating. (Through May 30 at Bear and Bird Boutique + Gallery, 4566 N. University Dr., Lauderhill. Call 954-748-0181, or visit bearandbird.com.)
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Michael Mills