DON SHEARER

Published on October 10th, 2016

DON SHEARER

Don Shearer

Don Shearer

ph62insertpostersmallborder999Don Shearer’s spectral, scrawly angels still haunt the tricounty 30 years after the painter and sculptor bounded onto the 1980s scene, the first in a wave of South Beach’s arty trendsetters. A vivid example can be found scorching the courtyard wall at Fort Lauderdale gallery-bar Jump the Shark: a collection of crucifixes and tangled, sinister forms frame a Leonard Cohen quote, written in jagged manuscript: “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

On Oct. 14, Shearer’s paintings will likewise haunt the Box Gallery in West Palm Beach, which is hosting “The Work {of} Don Shearer, A Retrospective.” The show, curated by Shearer fan and longtime arts writer Sandra Schulman, aims to inject Palm Beach with flavors of old South Beach, in the late 1980s a hurricane of creativity, stiff cosmopolitans and new beachfront high-rises. “It was a creative explosion. South Beach had the biggest incubator of styles from South Florida and New York, all meshed together,” says Rolando Chang Barrero, whose 4,000-square-foot space will feature 70 Shearer pieces. “Shearer’s style is fresh. It’s clean. You recognize it immediately because of the angels, and in the simplicity in his lines.”

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A friend of Shearer’s from his Miami Beach heyday, Barrero describes the gothic wonder as humble, unwilling to partake in the brash, cocaine-fueled “society scene trap” that preoccupied spotlight-hungry artists of the early ‘90s. Instead, the artist grew prolific in his Design District gallery, dubbed “Of,” painting on furniture he scavenged from the street in a way that echoed Purvis Young, the legendary Overtown outsider artist who painted angels dwelling in urban decay. His works have since collected a pair of Hortt awards and found their way into the collections of actors Willem Dafoe and the late Vincent Price.

The gallery will also feature Shearer’s paintings on patent-leather sofas, upholstered chairs and on window panes, also harvested from Miami’s alleyways. His works will be accompanied by music from Cecilia Cruz. From 6-8 pm on Oct. 15, Louis Canales, Schulman, Liz Balmaseda and Manny Hernandez will discuss “The Art and Culture of South Beach.”

The Work {of} Don Shearer, A Retrospective” will open 7-11pm, Oct. 14 at the Box Gallery, 811 Belvedere Road, in West Palm Beach. The show will close Nov. 12. 786-521-1199 or TheBoxGallery.Info.
~ Phillip Valys

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