The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Jun 22, 2013

Florida's fascinating landscape in painting

Posted by Anne Tschida

A work from the "Florida Landscape Paintings" exhibit at Guccivuitton.

Florida’s long and interesting history seems to be getting revisited in the art world these days. A place that so often is associated with fairly current associations – post-war tourist center, spring break central, cocaine cowboy hub – in fact has a fascinating background. We could start to understand that with the Frost-FIU’s Seminole Indian painting exhibition, MDC’s "Imagining La Florida" show about the first Spanish explorations in the state, and now a look at Florida landscape painting at a new artist-run space, Guccivuitton.

Landscape painting and photography here have a storied past. After the railroads opened up Florida to the rest if the U.S. at the turn of the previous century, artists such as John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer made their way down to check out the exotic swamplands. More recently, Clive Butcher photographed the unique nature of the Everglades, and some would say his dramatic black-and-white images helped spark interest in preserving it.

And then there was the group of artists known as the Florida Highwaymen, self-taught, so-called “outsider” painters, African-Americans that documented the mid-Florida countryside in the last century.

“Florida Landscape Painting” aims to focus on this history, with some examples of Highwaymen works, along with contemporary expressions from the likes of Jason Hedges and Daniel Newman, and some photography as well. As a side note, one of the artists behind this new gallery, Aramis Gutierrez II, knows landscape well. His sweeping, huge canvases depicting dramatic and sometime traumatic scenes are stunning.


“Florida Landscape Painting” opens Sat., June 22 from 6-9 p.m. The gallery is open Saturdays from 12-5 p.m. and by appointment. Guccivuitton is located at 8375 N.E. 2nd Ave., Miami;;

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