Seeking a Second Renaissance in Sarasota

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As a second renaissance prepares to rock the global art world, artist Charles Miano wants to make Sarasota ground zero. And as founder of the Southern Atelier art school in Manatee County and a recently ARC-recognized Associate Living Master painter, Miano has joined forces with Art Ovation Hotel and Palm Avenue Fine Art for a sprawling upcoming exhibition set to showcase a resurgence in realist and figurative art by highlighting some of the top artists working in the tradition today. Entitled A Renaissance of Passion: A Figurative Exhibition, the rebirth begins January 10 with an opening reception at Art Ovation.

“This is probably the biggest exhibition of representational work we’ve ever had in Sarasota,” says Miano, who will be showing alongside ARC Living Masters Robert Liberace and Dan Thompson, as well as world-renowned leader in figurative realism Steven Assael and illustrator Lina Liberace, in a mammoth exhibition that spans from the Art Ovation lobby to Palm Avenue Fine Art a block away. And for Miano, the exhibition marks one more milestone in a growing shift in the artistic world, as the great cultural pendulum swings back from its 100-year arc towards modernism and abstraction, to re-embrace “classically inspired representation,” and those traditions, subjects and techniques.

And within those practices, says Miano, lies a passion unrecognized by most with little more than a passing familiarity with a still life. Inspired by humanism and the principles of nature, this second renaissance seeks to reignite these passions by reveling in the human form and the natural world, using these representations in a way that, according the artist, abstraction may not lend itself so readily to. “You really see an intensity of emotion conveyed that’s very powerful,” Miano says, in no small part because viewers can understand and relate to the narrative before them. “The viewer can really be moved.”

That’s not to say that there isn’t an element of abstraction in even this realist figurative work, whether through design, composition, subject matter or even the brushstrokes, and Miano finds them all to be pieces of “a much bigger puzzle” that creates the viewing experience. “In many cases,” he says, “you won’t even be aware of how you’re seeing, but it’s there.” Thus the greatest reward comes from looking beyond the obvious, and Miano hopes that, in addition to being a “groundbreaking” exhibition for this second renaissance, A Renaissance of Passion inspires Sarasota audiences to study the work around them a little deeper. “Look at the meaning behind the art,” he says, “and the story of humanity.”

A Renaissance of Passion: A Figurative Exhibition opens January 10 at Art Ovation Hotel and Palm Avenue Fine Art, with an opening reception at 6pm.


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