“Chairs found and fixed” Kerry Phillips>

All Florida show at Boca Raton museum is the states oldest juried competition providing Florida artists exhibition opportunities and critical exposure. 474 Florida artists submitted 1,398 works from which 91 were chosen by Juror Linda Norden, New York based curator, writer and historian.

After twenty-some years of looking at art with exhibitions in mind Ms Norden explains, that she looks for artists that are serious in their convictions yet haven’t lost his or her sense of humor. She admits that juried shows tend to attract art that is closer to the ground, “more attuned to local idiosyncracies, less preoccupied with artworld constraints…”

Showing no bias toward medium, or mode of representation, Ms Norden gave us a show that is truly as eclectic as the 82 artists that are represented.

Drawing and Painting in this show range from the hyper realistic, to abstraction. There are works that draw on the regional culture and landscape as in Vero Beach artist Pamela Fessel’s intricately rendered pencil drawing “Florida gator fairy” and others that are urban inspired as is Fort Lauderdale artist Nolan Haan’s “Friday”, realistically rendered stacked cinder blocks painted on silk shaped canvas.

Digital technology is dominant yet not always evident, as it has become the 21st century tool of choice for artist to accomplish their work.

In “Nothing much happened today: for Eric and Dylan”, Tampa artist Noelle Mason appropriates a digital film still from surveillance video, showing Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris in the midst of a killing spree, that will forever be etched in the psyche of America. This award winning work re-creates a haunting scene in the cafeteria of Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Skillfully stitched with embroidery floss on cotton weave and simply framed, this work evokes strong personal emotions.

Artists Ania Moussawel of Miami and Francie Bishop Good of Fort Lauderdale, give us upfront and strong digital images addressing issues of female identity and survival in this twenty first century.

While two dimensional works dominated the show, it was the sculpture that broke the silence. “Tied and knotted packages” by Miami artist Patricia Gutierrez are delicately stacked packages made from architectural tracing paper, beeswax, and twine. Resting on a table in the middle of the room. These small packages evoke visions of past memories.

To make a case for visiting a show more than once and especially if the once was opening night, two works that were missed by this writer the first time around were pleasant surprises on round two. Miami artist Tom Scicluna’s “Err”, mirror with flag mount is so minimalist that it indeed becomes a part of the architecture while simultaneously calling out for your attention and Best in show prize winner “Chairs Found and Fixed” by Miami artist Kerry Phillips, could only be viewed through a plate glass window outside the museum store.

Props to Boca Raton museum of art and all of it’s staff for continuing to support Florida artists.
Jami Nix Rahn 2010