Seeing Red

A Review by Candice Russell:

The title of the new exhibition “Seeing Red” by the artists’ organization 2 + 3 at ArtServe in Fort Lauderdale could be taken literally as getting angry and motivating action. But it is doubtful that the artists involved want to prompt anything but thoughtful contemplation from viewers of the two-dimensional artwork on display.

Red may be the theme, but its usage wasn’t mandatory for a few of the works. Symbolically, the color has associations with fire and blood, war, danger, strength, fortitude, passion, desire and love. It has a very high visibility, exerting a physical reaction of stimulation. Red can increase enthusiasm and motivate energy, nowhere more boldly than in Joan Keirstead’s “Separatism” in mixed media. An extension of her fascinating planetary series, this large work pulsates with the vibrancy of red, as well as a heavily applied purple with accents of green. Keirstead pictures the vastness of space as forbiddingly strange and unknowable.

With works in different sections throughout the gallery, Liora Davis continues to evolve and inspire with her art, no matter what form it takes. Embarking on a new series in line with a personal cause to save elephants from poaching, the artist contributes “Mandala for Elephants” with a mother and baby elephant. It is straightforward without being sentimental, yet anyone with a feeling for these imposing yet gentle animals will be moved.

Davis is also responsible for the mixed media “Prague Dancing.” Utilizing a sense of whimsy that we have seen before in her work, the artist creates a joyful scene of a castle-like building and other structures in a riot of color, with red happily marrying with other hues.

The stick figures with down-turned mouths in “Women’s Work,” a mixed media and oil piece by Lorraine Maxwell, speak to the drudgery of domestic goddesses everywhere, burdened by chores. The child-like charm and sweet simplicity of the composition belie the grim message, with clouds emitting rain as the final touch of dread in this portrayal of one gender’s unending duties.

One of the best works in the show may also be the smallest. “Taipan Sunset” by Tristina Dietz-Elmes, made of encaustic wax and mixed media, uses postage stamps from foreign countries to dot the surface of her composition with a few curvy lines. It is meditative and beautiful without trying too hard.

More than a few paintings go the abstract route. There is an upsurge of drama in “Red Wind Rising” by Nancy K. Neidich. Several works by Barbara Longwill are worthy of study, including “Spring Blossom,” an oil with a Japanese resonance. She is also represented by the oil “Calm Before the Storm,” as anyone who has lived in South Florida has experienced. Longwill captures those moments of clouds darkening and wind-whipped palm trees before the sky lets loose with a deluge of rain. Also dealing with nature of a different sort is Eleanor Clarke in the lovely watercolor “Birds.”

Seeing Red is opening at ArtServe, 1350 E. Sunrise Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33312
Friday October 18, 2013 7PM – 9PM