Museum of Art
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Tropical Terrain: South Florida Landscapes
Roslyn Kirsch, Change in the Weather, 1997, oil on canvas, 36 x 72 inches
Celebrating this region's natural wonders, Tropical Terrain: South Florida Landscapes opens on April 25, and runs through September 13, at the Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale. The exhibition features twenty-four canvases by six of the best contemporary landscape artists working in South Florida. The artists are: James Couper (Miami), Joseph Davoli (Fort Lauderdale), John David Hawver (Islamorada), Rostyn Kirsch (Boca Raton), Fenol Marcelin (Miami), and Mary Louise O'Sullivan ( Palm Beach).
"Weatherwise, South Florida is really paradise," says Curator of Exhibitions Laurence Pamer. "I think that's why so many noteworthy landscape artists are working in this area. If Monet were alive today, he'd probably abandon Giverny and get on a plane to Ft Lauderdale. You just can't find direct, unfiltered sunlight - like we have here - in many other places on this earth. That's what this exhibition, Tropical Terrain, is all about - paying tribute to our lush and colorful natural surroundings that make South Florida a distinctive and really splendid place to exist.
Right: Mary Louise O'Sullivan, Mrazek Pond, 1998, oil on canvas, 48 x 72 inches.
Pamer continues: "In putting this exhibition together, first of all I chose the six artists represented here simply because they're among the best landscape artists working in this area. But I also wanted a variety. I wanted each artist's work to be clearly distinguished, whether it be in style, treatment, subject, or in the use of color and light. I think it's interesting that you can find six different artists, all working here in South Florida and painting the natural world around them, yet their work looks so different."
Couper, for example, often paints scenes of the untouched wilderness of the Everglades, a typical subject for artists of this region. Yet the liveliness of his brush strokes imbues his work with a dynamic sense of animation uniquely his own. O'Sullivan may share his love of the Everglades, but she is more fascinated by the birds and other water creatures that inhabit swampy areas, which she renders in vivid colors and a profusion of details. Kirsch, as well, may sometimes choose the Everglades as her subject, but her direct and deftly painted homages to the Florida terrain always suggest (however slightly) the incursion of humankind, represented for example with a boat or a high-rise visible in the distance.
Hawver usually paints coastal scenes - again a typical subject - yet his expansive landscapes are distinguished by his concern with light and the shifting colors that occur in nature as weather conditions change, which he expertly depicts with neo-impressionist brushwork. Davoli, too, is fascinated with the color and light of South Florida, but he is more interested in uncovering the sense of geometry that occurs in nature, and his minute analysis of the natural world often results in landscapes that are highly atmospheric and almost abstract. Finally, Marcelin - influenced by his Haitian heritage - paints lush, fantastic, vividly colored landscapes that may be derived from the environment of South Florida, but they are also subject to the flights of his imagination.
"This is one of those exhibitions that is visually stunning," adds Pamer. "There's no angst here. You don't have to ask yourself, 'What is this artist trying to do?' You can simply enjoy the beauty and the mastery of technique."
This exhibition is sponsored by the Museum of Art's Exhibition Fellows. Funding for this organization is provided in part by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, the Broward Cultural Affairs Counoii, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Arts Council.
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