ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys — The world premiere of a fine art exhibition combining abstract paintings by Lawrence "Larry" Poons and the late Jules Olitski is scheduled for March 16 at The Moorings Photography and Art Gallery, located on the grounds of Islamorada's luxurious Moorings Village & Spa.
The unique exhibit is titled "Painting in Paradise: Olitski and Poons in Islamorada." Its 6-9 p.m. public opening is to coincide with the Morada Way Arts & Culture District's free-admission open-air Third Thursday Art Walk, a monthly event staged between mile markers 81 and 82 in Islamorada.
The exhibit marks the public's first opportunity to view the acclaimed artists' work side by side. After the premiere, it is to be open from noon to 5 p.m. daily through April 1, 2017.
For many visitors and residents, Islamorada's allure is fishing. For Poons, after getting lost in a rented boat during a Florida Keys fishing trip in the 1970s, it was the island's "sense of the wild" that inspired him. Poons shared his Keys experiences with Olitski, who later followed him to the island chain.
Longtime friends as well as preeminent painters, Olitski and Poons each opened a studio in Islamorada — the latter preferring to create his work outdoors. The duo's studio and painting time in the Keys overlapped from the late 1980s through the late '90s.
The Russian-born Olitski, whose paintings are most recognized for their thick impasto surfaces, was the first living American artist to have a solo exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was featured in over 150 one-person shows around the world before his death in 2007.
Poons was born in Tokyo and originally wanted to become a composer, but eventually decided to study painting. Characterized as an optical artist, in 1969 he was the youngest artist featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's landmark Henry Geldzahler painting and sculpture show. Poons still teaches in New York and his work is represented in numerous museums and private collections.
The Olitski-Poons exhibit is curated by Islamorada resident and ceramicist Beth Kaminstein.
Event information: Beth Kaminstein at 305-393-4013 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Islamorada visitor information: fla-keys.com/islamorada or 1-800-FAB-KEYS
"Utah" by Larry Poons.
"Upon a Sea" by Jules Olitski