Category: Art shows, art collecting & more

art palm beach fair 2018 review

Art Palm Beach International 2018 highlights

Art Palm Beach International 2018: highlights

Art Palm Beach International 2018 is a much quieter show in comparison to the Art Basel and Art Context Miami.  The foot traffic commanded a much slower pace that actually allowed for thorough examination of work. Situated at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, the annual show consists of galleries showing art and sculpture with some installation work between January 18-21, 2018. As you often see in such fairs the quality of art hardly matters to be promoted and sold since there is no standard in art to adhere to in the first place. Craftsmanship doesn’t equal sales. We don’t listen to music or singing that is off key, but we are open to looking at and buying terrible ‘art’. Not all presented contemporary art was bad at the fair, but visitors had plenty of chances to feel confusion and doubt in their understanding and appreciation of art. In this post I’ve decided to highlight some of the best pieces that were shown there as well as the worst ones, and a few artworks stuck in between the two categories. A lot of times an idea present in contemporary art overpowers the technique, which weakens message delivery.

A new trend in painting and 3-D art is added sparkle with Swarovski crystal, diamond dust or glitter. I think it cheapens the art for the most part and makes it too decorative. It’s really challenging for the artist to combine new materials with the traditional ones to record a unique vision that stands the test of time. Neon light messages get incorporated into canvas art, and wall art installations may surprise some tech gigs. Paintings look fresh if the artist is able to innovate and to play with the surface itself where the canvas size also matters. Innovation, thought and craftsmanship all contribute to the quality of painting and 3-D art. Here you see these elements at play in different proportions and scale.

If you’d like to learn more about the shown pieces, please contact the artists and galleries directly, I made every effort to identify each picture with the name of the artist or gallery representing him/her. If you see a mistake or want to add a name, please write to

Video of selected works

In the video you see a handcarved/etched glass with a neon sign “Keepworking sucker” by Zac Knudson, 30×51″, Evan Lurie Gallery, and a solar Icd units in plexiglass titled “Perceptual Mirror” 28x17x2″ by Sungchul Hong, Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts.


Highlights from the Art Palm Beach Fair 2018


Fake Fulfillment Center, Shawn Kolodny

Fake Fulfillment Center  at ArtPalmBeach is a 3000-square-foot multi-sensory art installation by New York based artist  Shawn that confronts the reality of modern addiction in a fun way. It consists of a short maze with rooms depicting and confronting the overwhelming drug addiction in our society.

Activation room: raise the caliber

art palm beach 2018
Activation room: raise the caliber

Artists DetroitWick and Crow Studios transform pieces of guns that remain after they’ve been voluntarily turned in through gun buy back and amnesty programs or seized from crime scenes in America, into beautiful sculptures of lucite and prints. Percantage of sales is donated to the Caliber Foundation.

Debra Steidel

Steidel Contemporary Art Gallery

Ethereal and delicate vases reminiscent of the ocean are expertly crafted by Debra Steidel. Their textures look like sand and waves  Coral forms pull you in to touch the form and to feel the breeze of the waves. Visit to learn more.

Arinze Stanley

Hyperrealism from Nigeria, Arinze Stanley, “desolation” | The Art Plug

Marco Grassi

Ransom Art Gallery| Marco Grassi on the left | Isabelle Scheltjens on the right | To learn more:

Isabelle Scheltjens

Isabelle Scheltjens | Ransom Art Gallery
Isabelle Scheltjens | Ransom Art Gallery

This painting is made of glass-fused mosaic! Like in some Dali paintings, Isabelle Scheltjens achieves unusual optical effects with her technique. The abstract image seen up close becomes a giant face observed from a distance.

Unfortunately I don’t know the name of this artist who made this sculpture, but by looking at this man it makes me think of life and balance, and how challenging it maybe to achieve.

Martin C. Herbst

Martin C. Herbst, spheres | Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts |

B.1965, the artist creates a series of painted sculptures that are made of oil/lacquer on mirror-polished stainless steel. They range from 55 to 11 inches in diameter. Herbst paints a face on one half, and the other half of the sphere remains unpainted and becomes a distorting mirror (image below). The spheres rest on hidden rings and depending on the positioning of the sphere, the painted images change quite a bit. The idea for the spheres came to the artist from Italian painting by Parmigianino titled “Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror.”

Martin C. Herbst, spheres


Martin C. Herbst, Hidden treasure
Martin C. Herbst, Hidden treasure

The series hidden treasure explores the mystery of  reflection. We see a woman’s face as a reflection found within the aluminum folds. Mirrored painting moves and disappears in the folds depending on your point of view.

A sculpture found on the floor at the Art Palm Beach 2018.

Pablo Dona

Pablo Dona, Serendipity
Pablo Dona, Serendipity

Pablo Dona creates whimsical installations pink, yellow and blue that are reminiscent of happy childhood. The artist aims to create a sense of magic that every child sees in commonplace objects and surroundings. Installations and photographs of tea cups, books and teacup sets with tiny people engaged in conversation, boat riding, swimming or walking have clean pastel colors that invite us to come back to that pure land of childhood. Whether you want to find it or not, you can contemplate your memories over tiny figures, rubber ducks and marshmallows. Carefully set up photographs seem to communicate a much stronger feeling of a bright childhood moment as opposed to an installation itself.

Irene Wijnmaalen

Irene Wijnmaalen photography, first image: Princess of darkness, 49 inches square, c-print on dibond |

These portraits of women have mesmerizing effect where you just keep looking back at the faces. Influenced by the Dutch painting, Irene creates moving portraits of women that seem to be lost in time.

Erin Anderson

Sirona Fine Art | Erin Anderson, Karen with cloud cover, oil on copper, 36×30″

B.1987, this young artist shows off her incredible talent painting figure on copper sheets. The artist creates visual comparisons between the figure and systems in nature. The metallic texture of the background is fascinating and creates movement and unusual shine, while the painted figure is rooted in classical art.

sirona fine art_erin anderson

Tanja Gant

Tanja Gant, Bacchus, colored pencil on paper | Sirona fine art

Tanja Gant keeps us high on our toes with her colored pencil drawings that have a unique interpretation of ordinary subject, which goes far beyond realism and technical skill.

Sungchul Hong

Anthony Brunelli fine arts | Sungchul Hong, String hands, print on elastic strands

B.1969, Korean multidisciplinary artist Sungchul Hong creates sculptural art out of strings. He prints photographs on elastic cords that he stretches over canvases or within steel frames. The images of grasping arms and hands look beautiful from a distance and puzzling up close. The construction of such images feels disruptive and you want to step back to see the unified piece. Artists often feel disconnected from the world, working alone in their studios. This sense of disconnect reveals itself in separate strings.

 In the video you can notice his wall art installation -blinking solar LCD units titled “Perceptual Mirror.” Grids of identical solar lcd units make changing flickering patterns that communicate life’s impermanence and isolation.

anthony brunelli fine arts_sungchul Hong_ string hands 2

Annalu Boeretto

Ransom | Annalu Boeretto butterflies

B. 1976, Annalu Boeretto lives in Venice, Italy but exhibits her liquid sculptures internationally.  Her mandala-like wall art mesmerizes us with light and lightness, natural beauty and liquidity. Influenced by the long history of Venetian glass blowing and water ways, she creates wall art from different materials that have this sense of lightness and transparency common to water and glass. Fiberglass, resin and ink become Annalu’s materials that “freeze” pieces of nature in art. To learn more:

ransom_annalu boeretto butterflies

Pablo Caviedes

Pablo Caviedes, “On the map”We can look at this image and just see a face, but when a giant plate turns sideways the face becomes the U.S. map.

Jae Yong Kim

Jae Yong Kim, donut think too much be happy 2013-17, ceramic, under glaze, glaze, luster glaze, Swarovski crystals, installation 60×80 | Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts

B.1973, the artist makes playful ceramic donuts. Each has a unique number of glazes and finishes that also include the Swarovski crystals in some. Fun shapes and colorful glazes create a visual feast so much so that you want to run to a donut place to eat some right away.


Gallery art | Mr.Brainwash

Mr. Brainwash established a name for himself in a single show that he organized and promoted to a celebrity crowd in LA years ago. Coming from video taping of street art, Banksy art in particular, this man decided to become an artist himself, making these large canvases that carry instant message in street art style.

Alexi Torres

Universe Einstein, detail, Alexi Torres, oil on canvas, 72×60″ | Evan Lurie Gallery

B.1976, Cuban artist Alexi Torres creates oil paintings that appear woven. These highly unusual brush strokes make this work very different from other figurative paintings.

Zena Holloway

Zena Holloway | the directed art modern | To learn more:

Underwater photography is not an easy fit. B.1973, Zena Holloway takes pictures of celebrities and models underwater. Staged photography involves a lot of prep work with a team and a connection with models to get the shots just right. Her latest projects Sea Women and Body of Water aim to raise awareness of the effects of overfishing and pollution in the oceans.

Oliver Cole gallery: Michael Kalish

Artist and sculptor Michael Kalish makes vivid roses from reclaimed materials that include the license plates. These metal cuts that make up the flowers are suspended above the flat surface to create extra dimension.

Roberta Coni

Roberta Coni
Roberta Coni

Roberta Coni paints women inspired by Flemish painting. Her portraits don’t have the technical skill of the old masters, however, Coni’s eyes have piercing beauty.

Anja van Herle

Anja van Herle, His and Hers, acrylic and Swarovski crystals on wood, 42″ square | Oliver Cole gallery

Decorative and colorful, these sparkling paintings look like fashion ads where a woman’s skin is Photoshoped and lips have heavy outlines. The female faces are playful but not enigmatic.


irreversible projects_skip hartzell

A borderline “genius” art? If you don’t root for cuteness, it’s hardly artistic.

“Genius Art” Conner

Sorry, guys, but this is hardly good art.

Pablo Dona

These pieces are whimsical and fun, but can we really say they are highly artistic creations? Perhaps to some who love toys or want to return to perfect childhood.

Khawam gallery

This concludes the roundup of art you could have seen at the Palm Beach fair. Hope you’ve enjoyed looking at various kinds of contemporary art.

My other posts to check out:

Contemporary figurative realism and more at Miami Art Basel Week 2017

veronica winters artist

Figurative realism and more at Miami Art Basel Week 2017

Contemporary figurative realism and more at Miami Art Basel Week 2017

Art Miami and Context Art Miami at Miami Art Basel Week 2017

Art Basel Miami Beach is one of the largest art fairs held in the country every December. These art fairs also include Aqua Art Miami, Art Miami, CONTEXT Art Miami, Art Spot Miami, Design Miami, Form Miami, Fridge Art Fair Miami, Pulse Miami, Scope Art Show, Spectrum Art Fair and many more!

Art Miami and CONTEXT Art Miami are two of the art fairs shown under the umbrella of the Art Basel week in Miami Beach that I visit. Unlike last year, this time many galleries have emerged representing figurative realism. Also, there were more Asian galleries as well as galleries showing photography.


This video is a visual roundup of Miami art galleries, international galleries, 3D art and figurative realism art in Art Miami 2017. You’ll find the images and artists’ names in the post below.

Figurative realism artists and galleries

Brad Kunkle

brad kunkle
Brad Kunkle, oil and silver on wood/linen

In Brad Kunkle’s figurative paintings the feminine is symbolic of the intuitive that helps us – the viewers find purpose in life. By teaching us to study and to interpret artwork, the artist wants us to be more conscious of life and intuition and to feel the magic of life through his paintings. Brad Kunkle depicts women in a palette of warm browns set against the shiny silver leaf to express his idea of female softness and confidence.

To learn more:

Yigal Ozeri

yigal ozeri_painting
Yigal Ozeri, oil painting

Yigal Ozeri’s figurative realism is so stunning, it takes a while to believe that these are actually oil paintings. Born in Israel in 1958, the artist works in New York creating large-scale paintings of women set in lush landscapes. The cinematic quality of his work forces us to stare and study every inch of the oil painting to believe that these are real paintings with the softness of distant mountains and trees, The hyper-realistic figures of women have the immediacy of the moment that are about to walk off the canvas. The artist is represented by Zemack Contemporary Art Gallery.

Clio Newton

clio newton, b.1989 sarah, charcoal on paper
Clio Newton, Sarah, charcoal on paper, 81×59 in

Born 1989, Swiss artist Clio Newton creates hyper-realistic, gigantic drawings of women in charcoal that are larger than life.  The artist captures women with unbelievable anatomical accuracy in black and white that become towering statements of this artist’s talent. to To learn more:

Alonsa Guevara

Alonsa Guevara, Fernanda's Ceremony, paintings of women

Alonsa Guevara, Fernanda’s Ceremony, 80×32 in, oil on canvas | Anna Zorina Gallery, NYOriginally from Chile, Alonsa is one of young figurative painters who shows her work during the Miami art fair. Alonsa’s fruit portraits are about desire, desire to move people.  Paintings of nude women that are often self-portraits are mixed with lush cut fruit and flowers that represent fertility and life, mystery and birth.

To learn more:


Mr. Brainwash

Mr. Brainwash at Miami art fair
Mr. Brainwash, Einstein, 94×46″ stencil and mixed media.

If you wish to understand how this street artist Mr. Brainwash made a name for himself and sold art for millions without any previous knowledge or background in art, you must watch the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, 2010. His work continues to appear during the Miami art week.


Mary Jane Ansell

Mary Jane Ansell Miami 2017

Mary Jane Ansell is a British artist, who represents figurative realism in a fresh way by mixing up the baroque influences with military costumes and feelings of love and loss. She creates the narratives around the female figure that appear lost in their own quietness and self-reflection.


Mike Dargas

Mike Dargas painting at miami beach art fair
Mike Dargas

Oversized, hyper-realistic paintings of German artist Mike Dargas depict women’s faces soaking in either chocolate or honey. Discovered on Instagram, the artist often exhibits at the Opera gallery now. To learn more:



FABIEN CASTANIER gallery is one of the Miami art galleries that shows work at the art fairs as well.  The male sculpture is by Mark Jenkins and Speedy Graphito is on the walls.


Bernardo Torrens

bernardo torrens_diana II_art miami 2017
Bernardo Torrens,  The Thinker (top) and Diana II (bottom), acrylic on wood, Miami Art Week 2017

A self-taught Spanish artist paints female nudes in monochromatic colors. He is represented by Louis K. Meisel Gallery.


Carlos Rolon

Carlos Rolon, decadence upon decadence, oil and gold leaf on canvas. Born in Chicago, the artist paints stylized yet delicate floral compositions heightening the baroque luxury with shiny gold leaf.


Fernando Botero

Colombian artist Fernando Botero is one of the most popular representational painters and sculptors today who is known for his humorous ‘fat’ figures that are also expressions of political criticism.


Marco Grassi

Playful and colorful, figurative realism art by Marco Grassi is a visual treat. Although lacking some anatomical accuracy, these portraits of girls have freshness and vigor heightened by the gold leafed shine.



Silvio Porzionato

Italian artist Silvio Porzionato paints large-scale portraits with amazing skill, dragging paint across the background to reveal the humanity of the face and hands.


galerie bhak_art miami 2017
Korean art gallery – galerie Bhak at Art Miami Beach 2017 | Oil on Aluminum, Scratching

Bringing Korean artists to the Miami art fair, this gallery is a pleasant surprise. Figurative realism art becomes a lot more than painting where non-glamorous people star in a space made of scratches on aluminum.

Face, Oil on Aluminum, Scratching, 259 x 200 cm, 2016
Face, Oil on Aluminum, Scratch, 259x200cm, 2016, detail



3D art, sculpture and animation

In the video you see some animation paintings/digital media represented by the Priveekollektie Contemporary Art and Design gallery located in the Netherlands. In Bloomed wall, we study the movement of nature reminiscent of the Dutch still life painting in a series of ‘paintings’ that play animated flowers, birds, and more.

Flutter-Hologram-Pendulum-by-Dominic-Harris | represented by

Flutter Hologram: Pendulum

In this 3D Hologram two butterflies fly inside a jar when exited by the movement around them. They sit down at the pendulum, which represents life hanging in balance.

To learn more:

Carole A. Feuerman

Carole Feuerman, Survival of Serena, hyper-realism sculpture
Carole Feuerman, Survival of Serena, hyper-realism sculpture, lacquer on epoxy resin with Swarovski crystals, variant of 3, 250 lbs, 81x31x37

American artist Carole Feuerman belongs to the Hyperrealism movement making life-like sculptures. She casts real people to produce sculptural artwork that symbolizes strength, survival, and balance.

To learn more:


Tiny nails map out the painting’s surface of this female face with thin threads moving in various directions to make up the tones.

Josepha Gasch-Muche

Josepha Gasch-Muche

German artist Josepha Gasch-Muche makes glass sculptures from razor-sharp industrial liquid crystal display glass pieces! She breaks and arranges thin sheets of glass into strands to make geometric shapes.  The artist is presented by the Heller gallery at Art Miami 2017,

Metis Atash

Metis Atash, Blooming Life | Art Miami 2017

B.1979, German artist Metis Atash comes from consultancy business in Germany to become the creator of sculptures that represent the duality of life and beyond it. To learn more:

Peter Anton

Peter Anton | BOXED DOUGHNUTS, 27 x 36 x 5.5 inches, mixed media, 2011 | Art Miami 2017

Peter Anton is a popular sculptor whose obsession is chocolate, ice cream and sweets! To learn more:


Liquid Art System



Jeff Robb

jeff robb_lenticular photo_context rt miami 2017
Jeff Robb, lenticular photograph | Pntone Gallery UK, CONTEXT Miami

British photographer Jeff Robb experiments with three-dimensional imaging by taking pictures of the female nudes frozen in action and placing them in his lenticular photography. The lenticular photographs give us a mirage of volume and slight movement of a figure depending on the spectator’s point of view.


Ruud van Empel

Ruud van Empel photography of black children
Ruud van Empel

This is one of few photographs that stood out from a crowd of paintings at the Miami art fair. The unusual part is seeing a black kid in a beautiful, not diminishing way. And even more surprising part is that the artist is white – Dutch photographer Ruud van Empel.  A child with mesmerizing eyes doesn’t really exist because the artist’s pictures are multilayered images. Photoshoped from many photographs, these black girls look like painted figures – symbols of childhood innocence.  This deliberate deconstruction and reconstruction of digital imagery gives the artwork a mesmerizing quality.

To learn more:


Javier Bellomo Coria

javier bellomo coria_face_art miami 2017
Javier Bellomo Coria, Ilze, printing of pigmented inks on textured paper, 86×61 in,

Javier Bellomo Coria is an Argentinian artist who finds his influences in photography and architecture to create the paper sculptures. Realistic portraits look like gigantic puzzle paintings seen from the distance, yet when you walk around one, you find another image – a landscape printed on the other side of the artwork. The multi printed image is cut into numerous pieces and assembled again to reveal human fragility and multiplicity.

To learn more:

javier bellomo coria_art miami 2017
A close-up view


Russell Young

russell young_marylin_art miami 2017
Russell Young, Marilyn, acrylic screen print Femme Fatale series

Russell Young’s oversized and glamorous depictions of iconic celebrities and figures are chosen based on a personal tragedy of each celebrity. Death, addiction or other fatalities brought them down only to glamorize their status even more. Just like Warhol, the artist knows how to attract attention to his work, combining the diamond dust with the iconic imagery everyone is more than familiar with.

To see art:


This sums up my explorations in figurative realism at the Miami Art Basel Week 2017. Hope you like discovering new figurative painters and gain some insight into contemporary Miami art scene and beyond!


Check out my art prints and art gifts at

The Art Deco Fashion show at the Richmond Hotel in Miami Beach

The Art Deco Fashion Show, Basel Edition 2017



Contemporary figurative painting

Thank you all for coming out on a cold night and making it SPECIAL and worthwhile! It was such a beautiful art show with music and fashion show. I had a lot of fun. Thanks so much to Diderot and the hotel. 🙂

Fashion show by Nadjea Art Deco swimwear:

Songs by Diamone  

Veronica Winters figurative paintings
Sinking of Taj Mahal, Miami Beach
The Richmond Hotel, Miami Beach

veronica winters paintings of women, figurative paintings


contemporary art

King Woman: contemporary art show review

King Woman

King Woman is a contemporary art show with epic impact. Occupying two floors, the exhibition features several strong pieces in contemporary painting, photography and sculpture. This art show is a rare gem, sparkling in a landscape of mediocre art galleries in New York. Both abstract and realistic, artworks have a single vision where a woman is King. The curator of the show is Mashonda Tifrere. She said, “My goal for this show is to highlight work by women who question history and deny limitations, persevering in their art despite social mores and norms. These artists have also found a way to acknowledge their gender but at the same time move beyond it by owning it in an unabashed way – showing that women can be more than Goddess or Queen, that they are capable of being ‘King,’ at the pinnacle of power and strength and skill.”

Art transcends the gender roles, and while it shouldn’t be about the division between the sexes, it’s important to see women have equal say, being presented in exhibitions. While we don’t see male artists showing in groups where their art challenges stereotypes and disparity they often face, women seem to unite in their message channeled through their art. That vulnerable is beautiful! Women artists often feel unimportant and invisible, working alone in  their studios, walking the streets, interacting with people around them. However, their art becomes very powerful once the forces are united in the show like this one.

Carole A. Feuerman

Carole Feuerman is a pioneer artist in hyper-realist sculpture who started the hyper-realism movement in the 70s. She portrays women in steel, bronze and resin so lifelike, you can’t help it but to reach out and touch the sculptures. Tiny eyelashes, hair and droplets of dew make her figures appear incredibly real.  Large and small, her figurative sculptures can occupy a small space in a room or in the entire garden. The sculptures are often integrated into their environment, like you can see in Venice.

On the artist’s website Feuerman explains her work. “She creates visual manifestations of the stories she wants to tell of strength, survival, balance, and the struggle to achieve.”

Chrysalis, 2017, resin, 33 x 36 x 18″

Ingrid Baars

Artemis, 2017, C-print face mounted on dibond, edition of 7, 45″x 59″

This incredibly powerful photograph is inspired by African culture, fashion and women. Romantic at heart, the photo manipulation is the image of  striking beauty and ethereal contemplation.


Yvonne Michiels

Royal Flowers, 2017, Fuji Crystal on dibond with perspex

Based in the Netherlands, the artist creates incredibly moving digital collages of women with floral crowns.  At first sight her portraits of women express confidence and beauty. Women’s faces look so magnificent, you stare at the image speechless, yet we can feel some hidden vulnerability behind the perfect looks.


Roos Van Der Vliet


Roos Van Der Vliet, Storytellers XX & XV, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 37 x 29″

These intimate portraits of women feel incredibly sincere and down to earth. Dutch artist paints women realistically to express her inner desire to replicate reality as close as she can. Her paintings give a sense that women are hiding yet want to be seen. Painting process is always a path to understanding oneself. Here we see the artist making discoveries about her own vulnerability and unimportance in a world around her.


Reisha Perlmutter

Iris, 2017, oil on canvas, 40 x 60″

Reisha paints women floating in colorful water. Abstracted patterns of body and water channel their healing powers where women are allowed to dwell freely in their ever changing environment.

Victoria Selbach

Kali Ma, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 50″

This painting surprises with its size that creates instant sense of power and control found in a figure. She looks like a goddess or warrior who is ready to concur the world.


veronica winters colored pencil drawing
Subscribe to my art notes, get access to a library of free resources! 

The list of artists in King Woman includes:

Rebecca Allan; Azi Amiri; Ingrid Baars; Hunter Clarke; Donna Festa; Carole Feuerman; Lola Flash; Meredith Marsone; Yvonne Michiels; Stephanie Hirsch; Kharis Kennedy; Kit King; Lacey McKinney; Jane Olin; Reisha Perlmutter; Renee Phillips; Trixie Pitts; A.V. Rockwell; Victoria Selbach; Lynn Spoor; Swoon; Tiara; Roos Van Der Vliet; Elizabeth Waggett; Lynnie Z


King Woman is the contemporary art show that runs between October 12th-December 9th, 2017 at Pen+Brush nonprofit art gallery in New York (29 East 22nd street). To read more about the show: 

Venice biennial 2017:  a crappy show with rave reviews

If you regret that you haven’t seen the show yet, don’t. Venice Biennale 2017 is monumental on concept and degraded on visuals, heavy on installations, and weak on any form of painting, huge on scale and tiny on emotion. Chief curator of the Pompidou center in Paris, Christine Macel  has arranged the exhibition in a number of pavilions -realms which flow together with concept art titled “Viva arte Viva!”

While paid entrance to the biennale invites you to visit vast spaces of the Arsenale and the Giardini, a number of other pavilions are scattered throughout Venice in medieval palazzos with gardens with free entrance and somewhat better art. Regardless the location, each pavilion usually represents a single country with its native artists showing off their talent to the multilingual public.

9 chapters or realms, 86 countries, 120 artists- a single feeling of confusion. The show opens up with large-scale installations situated between a long stretch of bare, tall brick halls of the Arsenale (medieval Venetian warehouse for arms and boats).

Karla Black abstract sculptures


Venice biennial 2017: the Arsenale

Overall, the show is missing on making a powerful statement simply because the visuals fall far behind the heavy concept. Boring to the eyes and craftsy at best, the viewer has to read lengthy statements in provided brochures to “get” the idea behind the pieces. To install such exhibition in Venice is like to bring a first-grader to perform a concerto. Venice overflows with art and history, while the biennial rejects any slightest idea of having representational art on its grounds. The exception is the Venetian pavilion itself that defies the curator’s voice with sparkling jewelry, chandeliers, gowns and sophisticated glass that highlights artist’s labor and skill.

A woman’s head is picking out from a hole in the floor with piles of clothes arranged in a circle.

The Romanian Pavilion

Like in a fairy-tale about the naked king, fooling of people takes place in the exhibition stating what they see is ART.  Rooms after rooms visitors encounter piles of materials, fabric, metals or abstract sculptures, that often have profound meaning expressed through riveting writing. However these endless primitive installations and videos leave the spectators  confused on what ART signifies or how artful it really is.

First, art exists to bring our attention to something, to make a statement, or to leave a record of times lived. Curated as apolitical and without a clear message, the biennial misses to deliver on any of these points.

The German Pavilion

More rooms

Second, Visual arts are called visual for a reason. Because the artist’s call to attention and its impact is visual, conceptual art rarely leaves considerable emotional impact. Even when the concept is heavy, it’s weakened by the absence of the visual perception we all possess. Therefore, such installations should get a specific classification and not get mixed up or promoted as great ART. Such notion lowers and even abolishes any standard for an artist to aspire to, and for people to learn to understand or appreciate. Why did we keep high standard in music or dance and completely abolished the one in art? It’s not the absence of artists willing to travel years in education to achieve something worthwhile of people’s attention, it’s about few art critics and curators, influential art shakers who pick and choose, add and subtract – curate according to their tastes, business practice and economic whims.


The pavilion of Shamans

Art installations that catch attention

On the upside, the exhibition is gender-even, nationality-diverse, with the majority of the unknown artists representing both influential and obscure countries.

There are a few art installations at the main complex of the biennale that caught my eye, making a statement.

The Zimbabwe Pavilion
Zimbabwe pavilion
The Russian pavilion
Russian Pavilion: Change of Decorum. Growing aggression, terror, irrational life of people, control and manipulation of masses are the themes of the art installation with drones, people, soldiers and androids living in the “transparent world.”

The Chile Pavilion
Artist Bernardo Oyarzun explores the theme of the current representation of the Mapuche community, a group of indigenous inhabitants of southcentral Chile and southwestern Argentina. Dark room features an installation of over 1,000 Mapuche kollong masks, traditionally used in ceremonies. Note that 40 Mapuche artisans produced these handmade masks commissioned by the artist who installed them in the pavilion.
The Argentinean Pavilion
Claudia Fontes, The Horse Problem
“Making art is not a luxury. It’s a way of surviving that humans as a species have developed: we are, so far as we know, the only group of living beings capable of calling the attention of others to the meaning of life. That’s something to celebrate.” – Claudia Fontes
Other rooms

The Mongolian Pavilion

The Venetian Pavilion

Official website of the Venice Biennial 2017:

Art off the biennial in Venice

A nice surprise is a solo show by Carole A. Feuerman situated in a peaceful corner of a green garden at the Giardino Della Marinaressa, by the Venice Biennale (open and free to the public). The artist makes hyper-realistic, life-size sculptures of women in painted bronze and steel, resin and oil that look so life-like, you just want to reach out and touch the sculptures!

Kendall Island, lacquer on bronze, life-size sculpture


Project by Lorenzo Quinn on the Grand Canal in Venice. His monumental sculpture of white hands raises awareness about the climate change and the rising sea levels.

Art off of the biennial: street art in Italy

I must mention the performance that I saw on the streets of Turin. A young man pounded the keys of an old typewriter with rare obsession. Here is one of his finished pieces.

The artwork made using an old type writer.

veronica winters artist


Dali art: surrealism & symbolism at the museum in St. Petersburg

Dali art & surrealism

Art is not created in vacuum. It forms as a product of cultural, economic and emotional upbringing of the artist. Dali’s inner world is vast and complex, and his symbols become the hints to discovering and understanding the artist’s true nature, his mind and soul. Almost every artist begins his journey at the same Start line. Dali sets himself on a path with the desire to learn painting, lacking the super powers. The Dali museum in St. Petersburg divides the art collection into several sections from his early works and anti-art to surrealism, nuclear mysticism, and masterworks. Housed in a sunlit, modern building, the show begins with his very early paintings he completes at the 13 years of age.

Early Dali art may shatter your perception of someone’s talent. It doesn’t look great. Dali early paintings show different styles and influences, mainly borrowing from the French impressionists and Fauvism.

Dali art
Dali early works: his self-portrait and a portrait of his aunt


dali artwork basket of bread
Dali, the basket of bread. | Here we can see that the artist masters the classical approach to painting that opens him up to the development of his own style and subject matter.

Dali art styles & symbolism

Artistic styles

Dali (1904-1989) is the most notorious surrealist artist. His artwork has been one of my major influences for many years, mostly because the artist is able to express his psyche in visual terms so well, painting the melting life inside him that goes far beyond his dream state. With remarkable skill, he renders tiny details on small panels and huge canvases alike. In his work, Dali elongates the natural forms and de-personifies people with sightless, stretched or egg-like faces. He scatters the symbols throughout his paintings, and turns the rational world upside down with his vivid, barren landscapes of complex stories.

Deeply influenced by S. Freud’s work “The Interpretation of Dreams,” Spanish artist explores the irrational and his dreams in the beginning of his professional career. The surrealists rejected the rational mind, horrified by the rootlessness of the world war I, and explored the irrational instead. Although Dali is the best-known surrealist in the group, not many of us know that the artist breaks away from the surrealist movement due to some irreconcilable differences steeped in social and political views. The museum in St.Pete explains that Dali didn’t like the surrealists’ ideas of commune living and sharing, and his desire for self-promotion and individuality led him to part with the movement in a decade after he first joined the group in 1929. But at that time the artist gets fascinated with the optical illusions, creating his double image paintings, challenging our perception of rational and irrational.

Dali is a notorious artist who is able to redefine himself and his mission after leaving the surrealists and entering the times of abstraction and subjectivity. He brands himself as a classical artist who loves Renaissance and aims to infuse his art with spirituality and classical ideals, unlike the abstract painters of his generation. He comes up with a new term the “nuclear mysticism,” and begins to paint huge canvases filled with the universal subjects, religious and historical themes. Influenced by the advances in science and technology, Dali’s late works (1949-1989) transform the surrealism style into monumental optical illusions, historical symbolism and the reverence for the universal. Besides having a number of solo shows in Spain and America, in 1974 he opens up his own museum in Figueres, Spain to house his art.


Art is not created in vacuum. It forms as a product of cultural, economic and emotional upbringing of the artist. Dali’s inner world is vast and complex, and his symbols become the hints to discovering and understanding the artist’s true nature, his mind and soul. Through his art Dali reveals many of his fears, such as his sexual fear of women and his intense relationship with his short-tempered father. Dali also had a brother. Also named Salvador, he died as a toddler less than a year before Dali’s birth. This family tragedy was deeply embedded within the artist’s psychic and affected his perception of himself. Numerous surrealist paintings project the artist’s sexual anxieties in his self-portraits with soft, stretched heads and figures.

In his paintings, Dali often explores the authoritarian rule of his father during the surrealist period, depicting his father faceless and indifferent. The artist also paints small, father-and-son figures representing former closeness. Small, distant figures give a feeling of warm memories the artist longs for. The surrealist landscapes often have the airless, orange-yellow glow that contrast the dark blue sky sky and the mountains.

One of the main subjects for Dali is women. He often depicts women deformed, stretched or as the cut-out figures during the surrealist period. He often depicts his nanny as an old figure with a cut out body supported by the crutches.  Women often turn their faces away from the viewer to conceal the artist’s emotions towards women. In his late works women become Venuses, saints and symbols of female beauty for the artist.

During the surrealist period, Dali paints elongated figures supported by the crutches. The crutches represent a fear of impotence, death. In his work, rotting, limping bodies suggest the horrors of wars.

Ants and flies are symbols of death and decay, decomposing the pray.

Roses represent female beauty and sexuality.

Venus represents female love and beauty.

Melting watch represents the fluidity of time. The “Persistence of memory” is influenced by the discovery of the atomic energy and the sub-atomic world. Dali breaks the word into rational sub elements where Time stops limiting us. The image of the melting clock came to the artist after seeing a piece of cheese melting under the sun.

Melting, broken eggs are symbols of memories in the mother’s womb.

Keys represent unlocking the unconscious mind.

Piano represents a fond memory of summer concerts at the beach, and a scary memory of books his father placed on the piano that had the illustrations of the sexually transmitted diseases (St.Pete museum reference)


Gala: Dali’s muse & promoter

Dali was a tireless self-promoter. Together with his Russian-born wife and manager – Gala (Elena Ivanovna Diakonova) they worked on connections, marketing, and new job opportunities for the artist. Dali might not have achieved his fame during his lifetime, if he and his wife didn’t pursue those relationships. The couple lived between the U.S. and Europe, while Dali not only painted and exhibited his work in galleries, but also worked on his jewelry, opera sets and costume design. He also contributed to the art scene with his book writing, numerous illustrations, holograms production, and the creation of the dream-like sequences for Hitchcock’s film Spellbound. 

It’s interesting to see how close Dali and Gala were, how she influenced the artist, and how strong their partnership was despite their open marriage arrangements. Considerably older and not a striking beauty, Gala captured Dali’s heart at once when they first met in 1929. She quickly began an affair with Dali, and became his life-long muse. Gala divorced her husband, French poet and one of the founders of the surrealists, Paul Eluard to marry Dali.

We can recognize Gala’s face in many of his paintings where she models for the artist both clothed and nude.  Gala becomes a symbol of female perfection for the artist. In the Dali museum at St.Pete you see Gala in a double painting of “Lincoln” and as virgin Mary in “Columbus.”

Dali dies in 1989 after receiving the international acclaim with the retrospective shows in Germany, Spain, U.S.A, Holland, England, and Japan. Almost every artist begins his journey at the same Start line, but not everyone gets to the finish line. As artists, we go through several developmental stages, and only the persistent ones win. Dali succeeds threefold.

The Dali museum in St. Petersburg, FL

Below you’ll find some of the Dali artworks shown at the Dali museum in St. Pete.

“Archaeological reminiscence of Millet’s Angelus” is an important surrealist painting for Dali. Inspired by the original of Millet, Dali saw this painting as a reproduction during his childhood and its figures haunted the artist for life. Dali paints his version of Angelus depicting two primordial people, male and female. We also see Dali twice in this painting as a boy with his father in the center and with his nanny at the bottom of the figure. The primordial couple symbolizes human relationship and destruction, showing the deforming, anguished figures set in a melancholic, colorful landscape. His painting projects an intense feeling of loneliness, loss and inevitability.


Dali artwork
Dali surrealist work (see the symbolism section for the descriptions).


dali artwork
“Slave market with the disappearing bust of Voltaire,” 1940 shows us two images. In this double painting we see a bust of Voltaire as the symbol of reason hiding within the two female figures in the slave market. Here Dali argues that we’re enslaved to rationality, while the artist tries to open up a different channel for our perception, painting the irrational dreams and the unconscious. Dali suggests that the rational mind can’t always lead us to the truth. What do you see?


Dali artwork Lincoln
Dali, the portrait of Abraham Lincoln, see the description below.


Dali late artworks
Late works: “The Ecumenical Council” shows Dali in the left corner and Gala as St.Helena. She connects the artist with the spiritual world above. Influenced by Velasquez, the artist paints on a huge scale with the monumental themes of science, history and religion.



dali artwork nuclear mysticism
In his late works, Dali paints optical illusions on a monumental scale. #1 the double image painting shows “Gala contemplating the Mediterranean sea which at twenty meters becomes the portrait of Abraham Lincoln.” Gala is a symbol of perfection and the Lincoln’s head with the crucifix give references to death and the fleeting nature of beauty. #2 “The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus” shows the vast discoveries of humanity as well as Dali as an explorer. He paints Columbus as a young man stepping out to a  new world. #3 “The Hallucinogenic Toreador” depicts Venus 33 times. The goddess of love and beauty, the second figure hides a Toreador face within her body. The toreador represents masculinity, a boy represents and artist, and a dying bull shows death. The bust of Voltaire symbolizes reason, and at the top left we see Gala’s face again. This painting represents Desire and Death.


The Dali museum houses a pretty vast, once private art collection of A. Reynolds and Eleanor Morse. They started their Dali collection in 1943. In 1982 the Dali museum in St. Pete was inaugurated. They simply ran out of wall space and decided to build a museum to gift their art collection to the public. What’s amazing to see here is how many artworks they acquired from one artist that included both huge canvases and tiny pieces, all of which hung in their house in Cleveland.

I recommend to sign up for the virtual tour of one of the Dali’s paintings on the 3d floor (free with admission). It’s really fun. Also, download the museum’s app that guides you through the collection. Check out their special events schedule and evenings at the museum.

Official websites: St.Petersburg and Spain


dali quote


Check out the art lovers guide to surrealism by Angela Latchkey here:



veronica winters artist


frida kahlo art st petersburg

Frida Kahlo Art in St. Petersburg

Frida Kahlo endured 34 operations in her 47 years. She lived a life haunted by her tragedy, painting her pain. Sometimes I ask myself what if she didn’t go through a horrific accident at 18, would she still paint her pain and not some other inner problem in her life? Moreover, if she didn’t spend so much time in bed, would she become a great artist technically? The show seems a bit small but well-presented. It summarizes Frida’s relationship with her art, her famed husband Diego Rivera, and her pain.

“The Broken column,” 1944

Every aspect of Frida’s life is set against her pain. And lots of it. Surreal paintings and a few drawings focus on the breaking point in her life, the car-train accident. A broken metal handrail pierced through her pelvis that led Frida into a dark place of endless suffering, surgeries and miscarriages for many years to come. She documents her suffering on small canvases, often painting in bed.

After many surgeries, Frida spent lots of time in bed, refused to eat, and became very weak. Frida was forced to eat food through a funnel to recover that she illustrates as torture in this painting.

Frida’s art is highly symbolic and powerful despite the obvious lack of technical skill. She explores the symbols of her dreams just like French surrealists. Frida also saves herself from endless suffering by painting symbolic pictures that represent her thoughts. We encounter her husband Diego, blood, fetuses, bed, and animals.

For example, in this painting the artist documents the pain of her miscarriage with 6 symbols: the lifeless fetus, her pelvis, the snail pace of recovery, the fragile tulip, the medical machine, and some anatomical structure, illustrating the nature of her problem.


In the show we also see a number of pages taken from her childhood journal. Tight sentences fill in the pages with stories and doodles where we can see Frida’s desire to travel across time and space creatively.

Below you see a sketch of her accident.


Frida’s art is her self-portraits. By comparing her paintings to the black-and-white pictures, I think she paints herself too masculine with a hint for dark mustache and her signature arching eyebrow that looks like a wing. While nude or semi-nude artist appears serious, or even cries in her self-portraits, Frida’s photographs show the artist dressed colorfully, and even with some noticeable flare. She wears long skirts, shawls, jewelry, and the real flowers put in her hair that all point at her girly, untouched by the inner sorrow cheerful personality. 

“A few small nips,” 1935.” When Diego had slept with her younger sister, Frida began to have her own affairs. Inspired or perhaps traumatized by the newspaper’s crime report, the artist paints a horrific crime scene showing blood and stabbing of a woman. The blood spills on the frame as well. The museum interprets the artwork’s symbolism as stabbing infidelities of Diego.

We tend to idealize people once they pass away, give them heroic qualities and subdue their pitfalls. In this show I wished to see the subtle layers of her personality that I couldn’t pick up from her art. Did she feel like a victim who suffered and longed for pity from people around her? Or did she consider herself a hero who overcame her physical and emotional struggles? Did she have any considerable friends who supported her artistic purpose besides Diego? Why did she stay with Rivera despite his countless infidelities? Was it love or weakness? In her art and photographs we see Diego almost too often, and not enough of her surroundings or people who may have helped her heal.


The art show is up at the Dali museum in St.Pete till mid. April. I recommend downloading the museum’s app that guides you through the exhibition, making it memorable.

 Copyright: All images were taken from the art show at the Dali museum. 



art Basel: context art miami

Context Art Miami 2016: video paintings and flexible paper sculptures

Being a realist painter, contemporary shows like Context Art Miami rarely captivate me. There is plenty of weird work shown under the pretense of being great ART. A lot of it is not, in my opinion. I think it’s difficult to create a good work of art whether it’s abstract or realist, or somewhere in between. What excited me about this show, however, were two things: video paintings and flexible paper sculptures.

In this short video you’ll see some innovative works – video paintings by Daniel Cherbuin and flexible paper sculptures by the Chinese artist Li Hongbo. Enjoy!