The Art Issue of CityLink
By Jake Cline
--Published October 7, 1998, in CityLink
||This publication has tested many
ideas since its inception as XS eight years ago. Some have been relatively good (The Music
Issue, Paul Gailotas "Diary of an AIDS Worker" series), others were
unquestionably bad (anyone miss the Secret Shopper? We dont).
But our most lasting idea came with the very first issue of XS on Jan. 16,
1991, when we devoted an entire, full-color page to James Swarthouts acrylic on
canvas "Journey #14." Without fail, every subsequent issue of XS and now City
Link has featured the work of a South Florida artist.
As if subjecting artists to a week of public scrutiny were
not enough, every fall we round up the previous years worth of Gallery Page entrants
for a final examination at ArtServe in Fort Lauderdale. This Saturday, Oct. 10, the City
Link Best of Gallery Exhibition returns, showcasing many of the 55 artists who have
appeared in these pages over the past year. Judging the affair once again is Laurence
Pamer, former Museum of Art (Fort Lauderdale) curator and present curator of nature
photographer Clyde Butchers collection. Pamer will dole out one award for Best in
Show and several honorable mentions.
As for the artist themselves, they are an impressive bunch
this year, including more than a few nationally (and in some cases, world) renowned
painters (Huong), collagists (Bruce Helander), computer magists (Laurence Gartel) and folk
artists (Purvis Young).
But the majority of the Gallery artists are creative individuals still trying to
elbow themselves a place in the overpopulated, ridiculously competitive art world, whether
regional or abroad. Mimi Shapiro is one of those artists. Since moving to South Florida
from New Jersey 12 years ago, the Fort Lauderdale collagist/assermbiage artist has
established herself as both an active participant and an enthused, if somewhat cautious,
advocate of the local art scene.
isnt the climate for art." admits Shapiro, who nabbed Best in Show honors at
last years Hortt, the museum of Arts frightfully prestigious annual
exhibition. "I think everybody comes here and their brains get foggy from the sun.
But artists make art in spite of whether anyone wants it or not."
Indeed they do. And as youll discover in the following
pages, theyre creating it in droves. From Jody Brewsters computer-generated
pop art to painter Xavier Cortadas colorful representations of "growing up
Cuban in Miami and of growing up in Cuban Miami" to Lynee Krolls unique
appropriation of dead butterflies to Don Shearers arresting and unprecedented
"Positive Heart," painted with the HIV-tainted blood of an "anonymous
|Of course many of the City Link Gallery
artists will remain as anonymous as the day they first submitted their work for our
consideration. Others may strike the proverbial gold mine (provided they abstain from
overusing the color in their compositions), finding acclaim, fortune and a rightful
station among the art worlds upper eschelon. Or they could all end up hawking sad
clown and Elvis portraits at the Swap Shop.
Shapiro says, if recognition doesnt arrive today, tomorrow always yields promise.
"Who knows, in a hundred years from now when Im dead, people will say,
"Did you see the stuff Mimi did?"
But for now these 55 artists are enjoying a talent surge
those of us who render stick figures unrecognizable will never realize. Its a talent
worthy of attention, scrutiny, puzzlement and in the majority of cases, admiration.
Behold. The Art Issue.