The setting for heavyweight New York Abstract Expressionist Larry Poons’s new show is anything but traditional. Step outside the exhibiting gallery’s white walls and you’ll be amid the lush grounds of Key Biscayne’s MarjoryStoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center—Manhattan’s crowded gray sidewalks and taxicab-choked avenues have been traded in for mangroves and a sun-dappled shoreline, all teeming with wildlife.
That explosion of color is reflected in this latest batch of oversize canvases by Poons, each covered in eye-popping rivulets of paint flowing around and atop each other to an engrossing effect. Consider it the latest evolution in Poons’s approach, one that has morphed from a geometric minimalism in the 1960s to a thicker Pollock-ian pour in the 1970s, and on to today’s open-the-floodgates aesthetic, as busy as nature itself.
But while Poons is a longtime friend of Nature Center Director Theodora Long, as well as a supporter of the center’s mission of environmental education (which will be aided by proceeds from these artworks’ sale), he insists the setting itself is irrelevant to viewing. “It shouldn’t matter whether you’re looking at a painting in the Vatican or not. A great painting is a great painting,” Poons explains. As for the surrounding greenery of the Nature Center, “It’s a little bit like we’re going to watch a movie—but not in a movie theater. If the movie’s any good, you’re not thinking about whether you’re in the jungle. If the movie’s no good, then you start worrying about the lions coming to eat you.” Larry Poons’s “One and Only Just for Nature” is on exhibit at the MarjoryStoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center through May 3. For more information, call 305- 361-6767, ext. 114