"The more horrifying the world becomes, the more art becomes abstract," claimed Paul Klee, the renowned Swiss artist who once painted camouflage on airplanes during World War I. Perhaps, then, "Abstraction: A Group Show"
is a sign of the times. If so, the signs are lovely and contemplative despite what they may indicate indirectly about the state of world affairs. A dozen artists lend their talents to this show, which ranges from the expressively abstract like Peter Bocour, whose oil paintings are rendered in colorful, gestural swishes, to the objectively abstract like Ronald Lusk, whose C-prints reduce the visual experience to straight lines of bold color. Some use dimension in their abstraction: Patrick Wilson, for instance, layers his acrylic in squares and rectangles so that the hard edge of the shape imposes on another visible beneath it. Similarly, James Zyver uses rectangles as literal building blocks of his work, whether it is a statue of stacked, colorfully stained wood or a collage of pieces of gouache-stained security envelopes. Many of the artists abstract from nature, particularly landscapes: Isabel Gouveia's oil and wax paintings were inspired by her native Brazilian landscape, and Dennis Aufiery's oil paintings find inspiration in Florida's beachscapes as well as from the work of abstract expressionist Hans Hofmann. Also on display are works by Isabel Bigelow, Peter Burega, Luis Castro, Robin Kahn, Wheaton Mahoney, and Patrick Wilson. (Through November 11 at Mulry Fine Art, 3300 S. Dixie Hwy., No. 2, West Palm Beach. Call 561-228-1006.) Marya Summers
Providing a little opportunity to show off, a good faculty exhibition disproves the adage "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." You can generally expect a range in style, media, and subjects. And the potential is there for an astonishing show, if the exhibit is thoughtfully and sensitively curated and installed. The Armory Art Center's "2006 Faculty Exhibition" is more like a potluck dinner than a well-planned meal: The offerings are good (some better than others), but they don't necessarily complement one another. This showing of just a few works per faculty member does, however, provide an idea of the range of workshops that the center offers. If you're shopping for an art instructor, the exhibit is a good opportunity to identify which artists inspire you: The informational "tag" for each painting includes a list of the courses taught by each faculty member. For instance, if you're tempted by Clarence "Skip" Measelle's Apple, a sensuous rendering of the red fruit with puddles of lacquer across the canvas, you might consider taking his "Trying New Techniques" workshop. Perhaps you'll admire Sam Perry's skill with pen and markers in his sketch The Independent and opt for "From Drawing to Painting" or "The Search for an Image" offerings. Or you might marvel at Victoria Skinner's surreal collage, Spore (which impresses on you like a dream that you understand but can't explain), and wonder why she's not teaching a workshop in that medium. (Through November 17 at Armory Art Center, 1700 Parker Ave., West Palm Beach. Call 561-832-1776.