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Pure Form

Art for reality's sake

FRI 5/13

Alexandra Nechita has spent the past 17 years eating, sleeping, and breathing art. So one might estimate, assuming she started in grade school, that the Los Angeles-based artist is about 30 or so. Er! Wrong! She's only 19 -- and she already has a lifetime of achievement under her belt. To wit: Fox TV gave her a Lifetime Achievement Award... and she's not even old enough to drink.

Nechita says she avoided high school art class and its limitations on abstract art. "I was creating my own alternate reality," she says. "Whether it was compatible with others didn't matter." But Nechita's interest in learning new forms of media landed her back in the classroom; she enrolled in UCLA's art program a year ago.

Nechita is known for her distorted, Picasso-like figures and expressive abstractions -- something that goes over some people's heads. "Everyone can appreciate it, but not everyone can understand it," she says. (But wait. If Fox can get it, can't anyone?) Nechita's exhibition makes two Wentworth Gallery appearances: Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Gardens Mall (3101 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens, 561-624-0656) and Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Town Center Mall (6000 Glades Rd., Boca Raton, 561-338-0804). -- Jason Budjinski

Julie Want a Cracker?

Or some swamp cabbage?

SAT 5/14

Now just wait a cotton-pickin' minute -- who are you callin' a cracker? Why, you, Mr. and Mrs. Florida Native. After all, your photo is included in Julie Lara Kahn's exhibit "Swamp Cabbage: Cracker Culture in a Fast Food Nation." Opening Saturday at Locust Projects (105 NW 23rd St., Miami), "Swamp Cabbage" is a collection of photographs and videos that show Florida crackers aren't just a stereotype but three-dimensional people struggling to maintain a simple, salt-of-the-earth existence (they're not all gator-wrestling kooks). The opening reception kicks off at 6 p.m. with a panel discussion on all things cracker. But enough of that boring talk -- let's eat! At 7 p.m., TransEAT/Food Culture Museum (2417 N. Miami Ave., Miami) hosts a game-tasting of dishes like wild hog sausage chili, soft-shell turtle, gator tail, and, of course, swamp cabbage. The exhibit runs through June 29. Call 305-490-6396. -- Jason Budjinski

Jury Duty

The medium, the message

FRI 5/13

With digital editing, software is more user-friendly than ever, and more people are jumping into the fray of DIY filmmaking. But only the truly skilled make it past a jury of their peers. That's exactly the case with the All-Media Juried Biennial Exhibit at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood (1650 Harrison St., Hollywood). Only two films made the cut -- Mark Moormann's Tom Dowd & the Language of Music and Loitering Goat Productions' Kinesis: First Movement -- as did 30 paintings, photos, sculptures, and mixed-media pieces like Efren Candelaria's Wonder Woman Is a Standard 8 Head Tall Figure. An opening reception takes place Friday at 7 p.m. The exhibit runs through July 10. Call 954-921-3274. -- Jason Budjinski

De Colores

THU 5/12

Being a schooled architect doesn't preclude Pepe Tortosa from getting some paint on his hands. In fact, the Venezuelan artist is quite up on his oil-based creations, which range from impressionist still-life pieces to fauvist figures, be they of human or insect origin. An exhibit of Tortosa's work is on display through May 31 at Art Expressions (1212 NE Fourth Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Call 954-527-7700. -- Jason Budjinski

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Jason Budjinski

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