Fine Art Notebook™

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Vickrey’s world too fragile for the real one

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Bubbles, 1976, by Robert Vickrey

Whimsy and wonder dominate in the world that Robert Vickrey creates in his painting. On first glance, there’s not much that is dark or foreboding. In fact, within moments of entering the exhibit, Robert Vickrey: The Magic of Realism, now on view at the Boca Raton Museum of Art until June 19, one feels, well, comforted.

And that’s because the symbolic images are reassuringly familiar. Look around. There are nuns and children and balloons and bubbles and sparklers and bicycles and lions and tigers and bears. Oh my, scratch that last part. There are no lions or bears, but there is, actually, a tiger (Tiger, Tiger, 2009). And, overall, what there is, resoundingly, in Vickrey’s work, is a sense of safety associated with childhood. That quality makes this exhibit remarkably soothing to the soul — at the surface.

It makes it remarkably good, too, as a family-friendly exhibit. The subject matter, symbolism, and references to great artists serve as a good launching pad for talking to children about art. Yet as quickly as one decides that these paintings are simply beautiful, something might seem equally off.

Vickrey works in a style, as the show’s title suggests, known as magic realism. It’s a style with roots in pre-World War II Germany and is built around the idea that beautiful things are not always what they seem. Another artist known for this style is Andrew Wyeth, and his seminal work, Christina’s World, is the quintessential example of something that appears beautiful at first glance, yet has disturbingly melancholic undertones.

Read the full article at The Palm Beach ArtsPaper.



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