If a show like the 62nd All Florida Juried Competition and Exhibition is going to be any good, it needs to be a deeply entertaining cacophony of mediums, styles, aesthetics and meaning. Luckily, this iteration succeeds on all counts.
There are 150 pieces in the exhibition at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, winnowed down from 1,600 submissions, consisting of painting, video, photography and sculpture.
Paul Stock from Miami Beach opens the show with “Inferno” and “Yellow Ring,” both done with beeswax and oil on wood. They’re (literally) glossy abstracts that have a beautiful transparency; they look like something the Hubble telescope might have sent back from the furthest reaches of the galaxy.
Jack Newman from Boynton Beach has a painting called “Picnic Panic,” which shows a hot dog, some cole slaw, and corn on the cob from an extreme perspective. Over on the edge of the frame perch a couple of small bees - the panic! - on a piece of watermelon.
Jami Nix Rahn from Weston offers a hyper-realist painting called “A Game of Chess” done in alkyd resin and oil - a street scene with a large chessboard jutting into the foreground. It’s beautifully rendered but it’s also filled with a sense of bustle mixed with mystery - why does everybody look so focused, so intent? - that keeps you looking.
My former colleague Brennan King from West Palm Beach has done a painting of Paris called “Cafe Le Nemours” with the intense blocks of vivid color that always make Brennan’s work a pleasure to behold.
In photography, Esperanza Gomez of Delray Beach contributes a beautiful photograph called “Oranges,” a textured image of a partially peeled orange on a table, composed and lit like a Dutch painting from the 17th century. Equally artful is “Girl Reading” by Janet Coelho of Lake Worth, illuminated by a north light, while Aaron Ansarov of Delray Beach gets a stunning abstract image out of a close-up of a Portuguese Man o’ War, with colors that hover between the hesitant and the radiant - deep blues and delicate reds.
There are three entertaining photos by Art Siegel of Boca Raton, my favorite of which is “Country Store Office.” Siegel has constructed a frame of pine and cedar around the photograph to better complete the illusion of looking through a window. Siegel calls his frames “virtual windows,” and I couldn’t put it any better myself.
Norman Fleischer of Boynton Beach has done “Bouchart Gardens,” a digital photo that’s been heavily solarized and transferred to canvas. The result is a sylvan shot in mostly primary colors - heavier, more saturated than nature, and startling because of it.
Nature photography is exemplified by John Kearns of Palm Beach Gardens, whose “Roseate Spoonbill at Sunset” catches the bird silhouetted against the brilliant yellow of the setting sun.
As for the video niche, that’s held down by Miami’s Gabrielle Wood, whose two videos show her watching TV while absent-mindedly eating popcorn through a gaping hole in her abdomen - the miracle of latex appliances knows no bounds. As an homage to David Cronenberg’s “Videodrome,” it works magnificently; as a free-standing work of art, it’s probably too derivative to be completely successful.
This is the fifth Juried Competition I’ve reviewed at the Boca Museum, and by all odds the strongest. No matter what interests you in the world of art, chances are you’ll find something stimulating somewhere in these 150 pieces.
IF YOU GO
The 62nd Annual All Florida Juried Competition and Exhibition:
Through July 14, Boca Raton Museum of Art in Mizner Park. Information: bocamuseum.org