Books & Arts
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Posted July 28, 2003
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Ecletic art gallery is a mind-boggler
By MARCIA FREIDENREICH Special to The Herald

A new art gallery in downtown Hollywood allows patrons to tour the world of art and experience many cultures simply by walking through the door.

Even looking in the gallery windows can be a treat. Bizarre themes such as dinosaurs invading a Haitian village are on display.

The Primitive Art Gallery at 2000 Harrison St., Bay 6, features Haitian folk art, Native American masks and sculpture, American portraits, and Gothic, esoteric and Russian art. Go in with an open mind and be prepared to experience extreme flights of fancy.

Husband-wife team Randy and Evena Horenstein own the gallery, which also houses their private investigation business in a rear office.

Randy Horenstein said they've had the detective business since 1987.

The couple acquired interesting artworks as they traveled the world working on cases. Their first gallery was in downtown Miami, but ''parking was a nightmare,'' he said.

''We decided to move to Hollywood, so customers would have easy access to our store, with the parking right in front, on Harrison Street,'' Horenstein said.

On any visit, customers may encounter the artists themselves and can ask questions about their works, like what inspired a particular painting or how the artist decided on a color palette.

Haitian folk artist Eddy Jean Francois Augustin, originally from Port-au-Prince, uses voudou themes in many of his paintings, which are alive with energy and movement. One features human sacrifice, probably not something to hang in the dining room.

''That painting depicts something that may have taken place in Haiti hundreds of years ago, but not today,''

Augustin said. ``However, I have attended voudou ceremonies like those depicted in my painting The Treatment.'' The painting shows practitioners using candles and an instrument called an asson, a noisemaker similar to a maraca, to summon spirits to cure a person's ailments.

Augustin's favorite painting is an upbeat creation entitled The RaRa Band, in which geometric shapes and muted colors are used to depict Haitian country musicians using drums, trumpets and bamboo pipe instruments.

Portrait artist Irv Rudley was doodling the faces of classmates on the edges of his schoolbooks as early as the sixth grade. He moved to Florida in 1952 and started drawing pastel portraits in Miami Beach. His career took a U-turn when he married, gave up painting, and became a graphic artist to support his family. Three years ago, his love of portraiture resurfaced.

''There is so much character in a person's face,'' Rudley said. ``It's the most interesting type of art for me to do. I like doing faces. They are all unique, like snowflakes.''

Rudley has been commissioned to paint a portrait of Hollywood Mayor Mara Giulianti which will hang in City Hall.

Leonard Terry Antoine is a Native American and member of the Coast Salish Nation, a tribe that spans parts of the United States and Canada. Antoine, a medicine man in the tribe, specializes in making ceremonial masks and sculptures. He uses human hair, mother-of-pearl, abalone, and wolf skin in some of his creations.

He said he is a member of the Sxwayxwey Society, which specializes in making traditional Native American masks for all occasions: for dances when a girl becomes a woman, when someone gets his Indian name at age 19, even masks for a dance for the dead. ''There are dances and masks for every stage of a person's life,'' Antoine said.

Gothic and esoteric art by artist Mark Bell was inspired by Bell's admiration for such artists as M.C. Escher and Salvador Dali, as well as the literary themes of Edgar Allen Poe and fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft.

The gallery also carries Evena Horenstein's own line of fragrances, called Love Attraction.

Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and Sunday by appointment. Call 954-923-3317.

Reprinted from The Miami Herald of July 27, 2003., the scholarly journal of democracy and human rights
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