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Opposites Attract

It’s fair to say no one would call Fort Lauderdale an artropolis. In fact, Broward is a bit of a cultural dead zone when you compare it to West Palm Beach or Miami. But the past year and a half has witnessed a notable upsurge in support of local art and output by local artists, no doubt in part to the Bubble, Broward County’s little indie gallery that could.

This Saturday, the Bubble will showcase the work of two artists who, though they share a similar creative background as tattoo artists, will display works that couldn’t be more disparate.

The first, who goes by Gurty, has shown at the gallery space before. His shows earlier this year featured a penchant for Picasso-esque styling, incorporating some subtle Cubist techniques and a Fauvist’s color palette. The result amounted to a more modern, color-saturated, even jazzier interpretation of the mask-like abstractions that appealed to Pablo and Henri Matisse; think a funkier, brighter Seated Woman With Wrist Watch or Portrait of Madame Matisse sans the thick globby brush strokes — and with the subject wearing a fedora. Gurty’s newer works, though, seem to take a cue from more surrealist movements. The colors are understated pastels, subjects are more dreamy, and there are, well, lots of third eyes.

Steve Whittenberger’s works, on the other hand, are much more boastful of their lowbrow draw. For instance, his piece Reaper Deck seems to incorporate anime flair, Asian stylistic constructions, and gothic appeal in the image of a woman who is an ominous yet beautiful mix of pirate, ninja, and grim reaper. The colors are dark, the subject threatening and, contingent upon one’s interpretation, possibly a little sad. Another, Ouiji (pictured), carries on the foreboding, with the subject looking like some sort of devil fairy: She’s gothic, got jet-black hair that snakes like Medusa’s, and boasts bird claws for hands. Her pink nipples, though, add some refreshing distraction and bemusement to the doom-and-gloom motif.

Check out both artists at Saturday’s show, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission costs $5, or $10 to drink. The Bubble is located at 801 NE Fourth Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-562-3804, or visit independentworkingartistnetwork.com.
Sat., Jan. 8, 7:30 p.m., 2011

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Erica K. Landau

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