People's Painter

Wyeth keeps it real

THU 1/27

When Andrew Wyeth's parents pulled him from public school in the middle of the third grade (due to his whooping cough), the boy might have become one of those home-schooled weirdos who think the devil lurks around every corner of our flat Earth. Fortunately, Andrew's father, N.C. Wyeth, was a noted illustrator whose art lessons turned the sickly boy into a career painter. And it was a long career too -- the fruits of which can be seen in the exhibit "Andrew Wyeth: American Master," showing at the Boca Raton Museum of Art (501 Plaza Real, Mizner Park, Boca Raton).

Featuring more than 60 paintings done in oil, watercolor, drybrush, and tempera, the exhibit spans Wyeth's long and celebrated career, which bridged most of the 20th Century. Often referred to as the "painter of the people," Wyeth's anthropocentric scenes show why he was heralded as a master of realism. Paintings like Baleen force the viewer to stare a little longer, making sure that, indeed, it is only paint. Only a few noticeable brush strokes betray the photo-esque quality of the poised and incredibly lifelike figure, the painting's lone subject.

Accompanying the exhibit is the documentary film Andrew Wyeth Self-Portrait: Snow Hill, which is shown Wednesday at 3 p.m. "Andrew Wyeth: American Master" runs through April 17. Call 561-392-2500. -- Jason Budjinski

Amazon Woman

Laabs' for the birds

TUE 2/1

As a wildlife photographer, Claudine Laabs has made good use of the Everglades and its natural subject matter. But with the specter of the Scripps Research Institute looming like a giant bulldozer, it's a good thing Laabs frequently visits Central and South America as well. Laabs compiled photos from her recent endeavor along the Peruvian Amazon River, where she captured concrete-free images of birds and their surrounding habitats. The resulting exhibit, "Up the Upper Amazon," is shown Tuesday at the Anne Kolb Nature Center (751 Sheridan St., Hollywood). If you're thinking Laabs is just some nature nut with a camera, you obviously haven't seen her work; she's as much an artist as an activist. Stop by at 7 p.m. and see for yourself. Call 954-822-6068. -- Jason Budjinski