"Sight Specific: A Painter's Point of View" at Art Space Is Another Photorealism Spectacle

What is it about photorealism that pushes people's buttons, eliciting oohs and ahhs about as reliably as fine chocolate? I can't explain the phenomenon, but I'm just as susceptible to it as anyone. I found myself all cut-cooing as I made my way among the nearly two dozen paintings that make up this excellent little exhibition, curated by local artist Janet Gold. It's a good thing the art is so compelling too — otherwise it might get swallowed up in the so-called Administrative Art Space at Broward College. The space is really just a large conference/training room and the adjacent common areas, which are occasionally pressed into service as a display space. In this case, it's taken up by the work of four South Florida painters: Lee Bianco, Thomas Boone, Pat Rosenstein, and the late David Maxwell. The four are united by their love of art's ability to fool the eye. Bianco typically uses everyday objects (in one instance, an old-fashioned key, a cherry, and a Queen of Hearts playing card) to create vivid little tableaux. Rosenstein is also drawn to the quotidian — a paintbrush hanging against a plywood panel or, in one especially memorable piece, a stack of cardboard boxes. Maxwell, a neopointillist of sorts, went at his realism a little differently, meticulously building up images of industrial subject matter composed of tiny dots of pigment. But it's Boone who is the star here, with such dazzlers as a huge canvas of a sun-dappled coconut palm and a pair of still lifes with fruit and vegetables so lovingly rendered that they make your mouth water. Feel free to ooh and ahh.

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Michael Mills