Local artists are showcased in three new exhibitions opening at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach. Two of the exhibits open Friday, and the third opens Sept. 21. A joint reception with the artists will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 20.
Here’s a recap:
Mark Cohen: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Friday through Oct. 19. This exhibitions features 35 large-scale, abstract portraits, designer Cohen says, “to take a second look at iconographic figures in our society.” The subjects — including dregs and heroes, from mass murderer James Holmes to saintly Mother Teresa — are juxtaposed together. “Hopefully,” Cohen said by phone from his home in Palm Beach Gardens, “viewers will say, ‘What is this all about? Why is he painting these people?’ But my answer isn’t important. The question is, ‘What is your opinion?’ and there are multiple answers to that.”
His subjects “run the gambit: some good, some bad and some ugly.” And his painting style is messy, full of drips and dabs of paint that might look careless, but which Cohen says, show that paint is infused with energy. “The drips happen accidentally and I don’t do anything to correct it because I’m not interested in technique. I’m more interested in letting the paint do what it will do.”
Cohen became a painter late in life, just 3 years ago, although he worked as a graphic designer and art director for 35 years before devoting himself to painting. “In the back of my mind, I always wanted to paint. When I finally decided to do it, I did a lot of research about where I could do it, and I found the Armory and instructor Miroslav Antic, a generous teacher who knows more about art history than I ever met.”
Red Morgan: Witness — Gospel by the Cane Fields. Friday through Oct. 26. Morgan is a freelance photographer with more than 30 years of experience, whose work you’ve probably seen in magazines (Time, Life, Newsweek, People, Forbes) and advertisements, but it’s Morgan’s ability to capture the essence of humanity in his photographs that drives this exhibit. You’ll get an intimate look into the religious practices by the New Zion Holiness Church, located on the outskirts of Pahokee, including its bishops, pastor, gospel singers, gospel band and congregation.
Collaboration: African Diaspora. Sept. 21 through Nov. 9. In partnership with A.T.B. Fine Artists & Designers LLC, the Armory hosts a Harlem Renaissance-style art exhibition showcasing 25 visual and nine literary artists of African Diaspora, “which is based on the historical background of the artists not necessarily the subject matter of the work,” according to a news release. Featured artists include jewelry artists Lea Jefferson and Simone de Bernard, and fiber artist Barbara Cheives, as well as nine artists whose medium is words and whose art is writing.