¨Mix It Up: A Mixed-Media Exhibition.¨ | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

¨Mix It Up: A Mixed-Media Exhibition.¨

Although even under the best circumstances, ArtServe has never been an especially hospitable site for exhibitions ¯¯ a horrible irony for Broward County ¯¯ the place has outdone itself with the current ¨Mix It Up: A Mixed-Media Exhibition.¨ First, it promotes this sprawling group show as opening on May 21, which it didn´t. A phone call after an ill-fated visit on May 22 resulted in a lame response about ¨still labeling the art.¨ Well, a week later, those labels turn out to be strips of paper from the artists´ handwritten applications, crudely taped to the walls or, for a few unfortunate sculptures, actually taped to the works themselves. Sometimes the labels dangle vertically, so that you have to crane your head sideways to read them, and many of the pieces remain unlabeled altogether. This is inexcusable, even for an exhibition that appears to have accepted anything submitted to it ¯¯ there are works so crudely conceived and executed that they wouldn´t be out of place on an elementary school bulletin board. As for the work of a few genuinely talented artists, the show is a travesty, with paintings hung crookedly, crammed into a hallway, or squeezed into awkward spots around the information desk. Some names recur as you make your way through the mess. Dennis A. Dezmain´s turns up on a trio of mixed-media works: The Black, an expressive abstract with clots of impasto pigment in black, white, and gray; The Blue M&M, in which he sends up Julian Schnabel´s notorious plate paintings by smashing the giant title object into fragments and shards; and Platform, a big canvas with dense, abstract expressionist-style imagery that recalls the vigor of some of Jackson Pollock´s early work. Alfred Phillips, who like Dezmain is familiar from other group shows, also weighs in with a few playfully experimental works, and there are other obviously gifted artists included, all of whom should boycott any future ArtServe exhibition that doesn´t have someone clearly in charge of quality control. The artists ArtServe allegedly serves deserve much, much better. (On display through June 15 at ArtServe, 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-462-9191.) ¯¯ Michael Mills


A golden Buddha reverently holds a giant phallus before him like a censer of incense. It´s the central image of Los Angeles artist Jamie Adams´ triptych (each a 12-inch encaustic oil on linen) Big Sur. With a playful juxtaposition, Adams´ work not only holds the penis in high regard but puts it at the center of things ¯¯ the flanking images are a seascape and skyscape, to the left and right, respectively. The first in a series of three summer exhibitions, Mulry Fine Art presents "A Group Show of Landscapes" featuring painting, sculpture, and photography from the gallery´s stable of artists. For the show, gallery directors ¯¯ sisters Fecia and Meghan Mulry ¯¯ have interpreted the landscape theme as creatively as the artists have rendered them, so don´t expect to see a bunch of realistic fields and meadows. Even the photographs have a painterly quality to them. For instance, Wheaton Mahoney´s Sweet Pea, a giant, digitally manipulated close-up of a white-and-pink flower is reminiscent of one of Georgia O´Keeffe´s blossoms. Likewise, Celia Pearson´s photographs capture their subjects in larger-than-life close-ups; however, the artist´s method is a traditional one as she explores light and depth within the image as they capture their subjects: Stem Leaf and Bromeliad. Others, like Robin Kahn´s ¨State of the Art¨ series, take greater liberty with the theme. The New York artist uses a found image (perhaps originally a woodcut or linocut) of a forest-lined river as the backdrop for her cartoon of a woman balancing a man overhead with one arm. The cartoon woman performs a tight-wire act on a piece of string laid across the picture. These works (identical except for the positioning of the string and cartoons) focus more on female roles than they do on nature. Also on display are works by Isabel Bigelow (paintings and monoprints), Peter Burega (abstract paintings), Luis Castro (wood and stone sculpture), Cara Enteles (multimedia), and Marc Leuders (photography). (Through June 30 at Mulry Fine Art, 3300 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. Call 561-228-1006.)

A sort of heaven on Earth tucked away in the Himalayan mountains, Bhutan has been revered as home to gods and Bhutanese mortals. Buddhist since the Seventh Century, the culture reveres all life, so the natural splendor of this Asian country is well-preserved. Until the late 20th Century, the country was closed to outsiders, and even now, to maintain its natural environment, tourism is strictly limited (according to the Bhutan Tourism Corp., only 18,000 tourists were permitted in 2006). So if you aren´t one of the lucky ones who can visit the kingdom of heaven before you die, you can always visit ¨Bhutan: The Cloud Kingdom.¨ In addition to paintings, clothing, jewelry, prayer flags, and other cultural objects, the exhibit provides 60 photographs that document the land, dwellings, people, and culture of this country nestled between Tibet and India. Informative placards accompany the exhibit and let visitors know, for instance, about the symbolism within a flag with a dragon (honors the country´s nickname ¨Land of the Thunder Dragon¨) on a two-toned background (yellow honors the country´s secular authority; orange honors Buddhism) or the waterproof qualities and multiple uses of colorful, woven bamboo bowls. The exhibit´s five paintings (all gouache on paper) are spiritual in nature, depicting the Thunder Dragon, deities, parables, and important cultural symbols, while the objects reveal both the practical lives of the Bhutanese and their aesthetics. (Through July 31 at Society of the Four Arts, Children´s Art Gallery, 2 Four Arts Plz., Palm Beach. Call 561-655-7227.)