Trees of Gold on Fields of Fire



Art Uptown Gallery and the Bird Key Yacht Club continue their ongoing collaboration with the opening of a new solo exhibit entitled Luminescence at the club tomorrow evening. Featuring 18 paintings from Art Uptown member artist Cecile Moran, the exhibit follows shows from other Art Uptown creators such as Kasia Bruniany, Jill Krasner and Elizabeth Trostli. With an opening reception with Moran, live music and champagne on July 6 at 6pm at the Bird Key Yacht Club, the exhibit runs through the month.

With a bold color palette rich in deep reds and purples, Moran’s landscapes present a world virtually on fire, with gold-leaf trees alone on fields of vermilion. Often large-scale (one diptych stands nearly three feet tall and eight feet wide), some reach a near-mythical aesthetic—stark and fantastical in their drama—others bring the viewer closer to home, allowing the greens and blues of lush Florida foliage to intrude upon the setting sun’s scarlet transformation for a cooling balance.

As the title Luminescence would suggest, Moran’s work focuses largely on capturing the brilliance of the Florida sunshine, particularly at sunrise or sunset, though not always literally. For this reason, Moran makes a habit of reaching beyond the paintbrush and incorporating gold and copper leaf into her work, “especially to show the subtle nuances of color and light as it glows through the trees,” she says. Growing up, she watched her father work with gold leaf as a calligrapher and sign-maker, and those traditional techniques she still practices today. Far superior to gold paint, in which Moran bemoans a certain flatness, gold leaf, she says, “glows.” In her painting of the Banyan trees on the Ringling Museum campus, the artist uses both gold leaf and gold paint, allowing viewers to see the difference for themselves.

Through gold leaf, Moran hopes to encapsulate the near-endless captivating quality that the sunset or sunrise holds—that experience that never truly gets old. It’s a feeling she knows, and expects others can relate to as well. Looking at the Florida sun bathing the world in red and gold as it slips beneath the horizon, “it never loses its intriguing intensity,” says Moran.

Pictured: "Sentinel" by Cecile Moran. Image courtesy of Cecile Moran.

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