“It’s a very balanced exhibition and the artists are as colorful as their work!”, says The Box Gallery curator Rolando Chang Barrero of his ambitious and wildly colorful new show Flora and Fauna. “I was fascinated learning their lives as well as their outstanding interpretations of the natural world.”
If it’s one thing Florida has in unique abundance it’s our wildlife and landscape, there’s no other state in the US that can compare. It draws artists of course, and how they interpret the world around them in all media is fascinating.
“From our famous flamingos to our rare spotted rabbits, from our dense beds of sawgrass to the elegant water lily, over 30 artists have come together to showcase the beauty that is Florida though their creative and masterful works of art,” says Barerro.
It’s a large group show with some new names along with high profile South Florida artists exhibiting here.
Known for her large scale horses, Maureen Fulgenzi also excels at floral paintings. Born in Westchester N.Y. from her earliest memories Fulgenzi knew and concentrated her efforts on becoming an artist. After 4 years at the School of Visual Arts in NYC studying fashion illustration Maureen landed a freelance position with Sassoon Jeans and designed their first marketing poster. She then worked as a sketch artist for Fairfield publications who publish W Magazine.
Fulgenzi’s talents and pioneering spirit in the late 70’s launched a new hand painted fabric & silk trend that sprung onto NY couture scene & was quickly picked up by the “A”-list department stores and boutiques nationwide.
Maureen brought both; her technical skills and innate color sense to custom create and apply silk dyes to fine fabrics. She created a standardized and branded design trademark in the fashion industry. She designed for Mary McFadden, Diane Von Furstenberg among others. She then went on to have a successful career producing a line of clothing with hand-painted fabrics, forming Horito/Fulgenzi designs in 1982. The company’s list of notable clients, such as Mary Tyler Moore, Betty White, Cecily Tyson, were sold in department stores, catalogs and boutiques nationwide.
In the early 90’s Fulgenzi ended the fashion business to pursue her painting career. Answering her own, long-smoldering desire to become a recognized fine artist, Fulgenzi left the city to immerse herself in creating a fine-art portfolio, working in the Hamptons and later Italy and traveling through Europe gaining new sources of inspiration and sophistication in her work. Color, with its wealth of possibilities is the basis for her work.
“I began painting from memory – large landscapes, still life’s and florals,” she says.” They began selling through NY galleries and through networking with former fashion clients. This morphed into abstraction, complicating the paintings themselves, taking them into another realm.”
Elliott Block creates intense close ups of flowers, whose colors vibrate with life.
“I look for a unique, artistic view of a flower, bird, architecture, equipment that imparts its character,” Block says. “Sometimes just the structure; other times a combination of colors, shapes and rhythm. I convey the ineffable, transitory nature of beauty by capturing a fleeting mental view and converting it into a lasting picture that incorporates what I experience. Many times an image of detail provides a better appreciation of the whole structure that is not visible, yet is filled in by our mind.”
Bonnie Wilburn concentrates on flora as well. She says: “My art is inspired by my love of horticulture. Surrounded by beautiful flowers and plants in my Florida home, I am continually amazed and inspired by their beauty. My art captures the intense color and structure of the tropical plants using a unique and elegant style I have developed over the years. My botanical paintings are a combination of realism and fantasy capturing the essence of each plant.”
Chris Kling received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1978. Since then Kling has received numerous awards from shows for her landscapes and portraiture throughout the southeastern region of the United States and with the Portrait Society of America. She has received many commissions for her oil portraits and landscapes and her work is in numerous private and corporate collections in the United States as well as international collections. Those collections include the painting of John Peyton, Mayor of Jacksonville, Florida.
Chris states “Being an artist is not just my career. It is an integral part of who I am and is something that I am compelled to do. I work in oil primarily in a traditional manner but with a contemporary flair through color, composition, value, and application of paint. Color sings to me and I try to use its harmony to evoke an emotional connection with others. I love to paint plein air which helps my studio work retain an authenticity that only comes from observation from life. Painting, to me, is reaching out to find the common emotional connection between all of us and life around us.
Artist Same Makela is from Helsinki, Finland. As a son of a well-known World War II illustrator, Reijo Makela, Sami grew up appreciating all types of art. After finishing art school in Helsinki and making a name for himself as a graffiti mural artist, Sami travelled to Paris to seek inspiration. Finally in 1994, Sami decided to pursue his dreams in America.
As an owner of Makela Art Studio, art restoration, murals and decorative painting is close to Sami’s heart. He has also continued to create his original Recycled Paper on wood Cityscape paintings for clients. Sami also paints Sea Turtle paintings which he sometimes donates to Juno Beach Marinelife Center. Profits from those paintings go to their Sea Turtle Programs. He has also been involved in street art events and work since the mid-1990s, and many of his murals are still in existence around Palm Beach County. Overseas, one of his mural works “History of Helsinki” (1992) is part of a permanent exhibit in Helsinki Museum of Art.
Deborah Bigeleisen takes an unusual approach to her art. ”Having started my fine art career by painting Rembrandt-like portraits of illuminated white roses, I credit my discovery of fractals for transforming my artistic vision and giving a new energy and voice to my work. Fractals have taken my vision of a single image of a flower to depths beyond what the naked eye can see – the point of pure abstraction. My vision is in sublime chaos. ”
If you visit:
The Flora and Fauna exhibition opened with a reception on Friday, September 9 at 6 p.m. and will be exhibiting until October 2, 2016. The gallery is located at 811 Belvedere Road in West Palm Beach. More information at www.TheBoxGallery.com
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