"Of the Earth" Soars in Dania Beach

Artist's Eye Fine Art Gallery owner Timothy Leistner has done it again. And by that, I mean he has once again shoehorned a surprising volume of art into his little space in Canterbury Square in Dania Beach. For "Of the Earth," Leistner has assembled a small but representative sampling of works by five artists, including himself. It's a satisfying show that feels much larger than it is. As for the theme, the earthiest, most elemental works belong to Rod Appleton, who invariably overlays a grid pattern onto such ingredients as concrete, rust, salt, sand, charcoal, and pigment. His is a minimalist aesthetic that serves him well. Abstraction is the strong suit of photographer Gisele Haselbarth, whose straightforward shots of the surf are overshadowed by works in which such things as tree branches became a sort of visual shorthand. Barbara Pickle, in her first exhibition, is represented by seven atmospheric watercolors that feature barns. Her work is nicely complemented by a handful of watercolors in which Leistner captures the mystique of lighthouses, including an especially lovely rendering of the Hillsboro Lighthouse. But the star of the show is Bonnie Shapiro, a Coral Springs-based painter who justly won the Starving Artist Competition and Exhibition last summer (and who, according to Leistner, has since racked up several other awards). I have no idea how she does it, but Shapiro has an astounding feel for the air in South Florida, particularly at dusk and dawn. Her scenes of RV campgrounds and highways are as evocative as any I've run across.
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Michael Mills