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Watson MacRae presents ‘Florida Abstracted’

By Staff | Jan 26, 2011

“Grand Meduse IV” by Hollis Jeffcoat.

In the upcoming Watson MacRae Gallery exhibit, “Florida Abstracted,” gallery owner Maureen Watson hopes to not only showcase fine works by acclaimed artists, but to expose island residents and visitors to the the subtle intricacies and simple pleasures found in the world of abstract art.

“One of the objectives of the gallery is to bring different types of art to the islands. Last month’s exhibit, ‘Sacred Creatures,’ contained highly representational work, and this month’s exhibit features two extremely accomplished and acclaimed artists, Darby Bannard and Hollis Jeffcoat,” Watson said. “They’re both steeped in art history and are very knowledgeable and they both love to paint. But at that point, other than that they both paint abstract works, their similarities diverge.”

Both Bannard and Jeffcoat came to Florida from New York City, and when they arrived, Watson said, the ferocity of the rich vegetation, the exuberant landscapes and the blaze of color was overwhelming for them.

“So they had to paint that,” Watson said. “But they both do it in different ways. Darby uses vibrant color based on his minimalist roots. He puts splashes of color and indications of an island or sky, and we understand, as we look at it, what it is. Hollis is all about nuance and layering and creating another world that people can enter an experience. This exhibit is about their take on the Florida landscape. To have these two artists showing on the island is really wonderful.”

Bannard, a Professor of Art at Miami University, has exhibited since 1965 in most of the major museums in the United States and published over 300 articles and art reviews. Jeffcoat has exhibited extensively in the United States, Canada and France with many museum exhibits to her credit.

“Sundown: Pine Island Sound” by Darby Bannard.

“Abstract art is often more about the feeling that the artist is trying to convey. But abstract doesn’t mean there isn’t an image, and with both of these artists, you can tell what they’re trying to capture — but you can also feel what the Florida landscape is all about.” Watson said. “As Henry Eckhardt, the longtime gallerist for Robert Rauschenberg, said, ‘Abstract art is an acquired taste.’ That’s what I’m offering the island — a taste of very good abstract art, so they can understand what all the fuss is about. And for people who already love abstract art, this will be a really special show.”

The opening reception for “Florida Abstracted” will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 1, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and both Jeffcoat and Bannard will be in attendance.

On Wednesday, Feb. 2, Jeffcoat and Bannard will speak about their work and their experiences in the art world from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. during Watson MacRae Gallery’s monthly Artist Talk.

Watson MacRae Gallery is located at 2340 Periwinkle Way, #B3, on Sanibel.

Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 472-3386 or go to www.WatsonMacRaeGallery.com.