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Culture

100% Pure Florida Opens at Fifth Avenue Gallery

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A longtime hub of the art scene in Brevard County, Fifth Avenue Art Gallery presents its 11th annual "100% Pure Florida" exhibition opening Aug. 30 that runs through Oct. 1.  The call for entries has been answered by talented Florida artists from Miami to Vero Beach, Tampa to Jacksonville, as well as Palm Beach gardens, New Smyrna and Orlando.

The juried exhibition gives gallery patrons the opportunity to enjoy an eclectic montage of 54 pieces of work from 38 different artists from all over Florida.  A total of 23 artists hail from Brevard County.  Located in the Eau Gallie Arts District in Melbourne, Fifth Avenue Gallery is a delightful space with great lighting and display walls.

The "Best in Show" artist will receive $500 cash and a solo exhibition at the gallery in 2017.  Cash prizes will also be awarded for second and third places, and a select amount of merit awards.

Craig Morris was born and raised in New York, spent more than 30 years in New England and moved to Tampa in 2008.  A painting major at Middlebury College in Vermont, Morris shifted gears, working in the world of professional photography for more than three decades.  Wherever he traveled throughout the United States, Morris always took his camera and captured thousands of images, gathering source material for paintings.

Morris first displayed his work in the Pure Florida show in 2014.  Many of the photographs he created come to life in his thoughtful artworks.  This year Morris has two pieces in the show.

"Many of my photo images have been the inspiration for paintings, where the hand and eye create the light, with greater power than camera and lens," Morris explains.  "I start with a pencil sketch then use classic techniques of under-painting and glazing.  I really like the quality of work at this show which is very good, very consistent.  It's a great venue as well.  I like the idea that everyone is from Florida, so I promote it on my Facebook and web pages."

Juried by a panel of gallery members, the show will be judged by Dana Hargrove, a professor of art at Rollins College, Winter Park who earned a M.F.A. from Southern Illinois in 2002.  Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Hargrove teaches a variety of 2D courses including graphic design, painting and drawing.  Her research focuses upon ideas that frame perceptions of the land and our sense of place and space.  Hargrove's work is represented by the Bridgette Mayer Gallery in Philadelphia.

"I'm honored to be part of 'Pure Florida,'" Morris relates.  "I really like the art scene in Melbourne.  It has a very different feel than Tampa.  Melbourne appears insulated from overdevelopment and sprawl.  I like that the gallery is set in a nice square.  It's Old Florida in a modern world."

The 100% Pure Florida's opening reception is Fri., Sept. 2 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. where patrons can meet and chat with the guest artists.  For more information call 321-259-8261 or visit http://www.fifthavenueartgallery.com

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