By PAM HARBAUGH
We need to remind ourselves that it’s not so much the attention grabbing politicians or celebrities influencing our actual lives, it’s the people around us. The Foosaner Art Museum’s newest exhibition, “RAY TURNER: POPULATION” reminds us of that with its 140 portraits of people around the country. It opens Saturday, May 21, and runs through Aug. 6, 2016.And, 18 of those portraits are of people right here in Brevard, including: Florida Tech’s Dr. Anthony Catanese and Sara Catanese, both of whom have brought forward-thinking change to the landscape of Brevard’s cultural community, especially its fine art museums; Don Hendrick and Dee Negroni-Hendrick, who donated $1 million to Florida Tech to form the Foosaner, named after Dee’s late parents; Jackie Borsanyi, the Foosaner’s former curator and “glue” that held the museum together during many tough months before it merged with Florida Tech; Frits van Eeden, Brevard’s favorite adopted son and ultra generous artist whose absolutely wonderful art hangs in so many of our private collections and who lovingly has donated so much of his art to area causes; and Darcia Jones Francey, Brevard’s own tireless volunteer and leader on both the cultural and charitable fronts.
There is also a portrait of John Roach, whose dear wife Judy passed away last year. Judy was a most beloved supporter of both the Foosaner Art Museum and the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts. John is sponsoring this exhibition in her memory. And yes, Judy Roach, a most enthusiastic, educated and loving woman who filled her Indialantic home to the brim with art, would have loved this exhibition (although probably turned red from all the attention).The artist, Ray Turner, who is from Pasadena, Calif., had met all 18 residents at a museum opening a few months ago. He worked from photos he took of them. Despite their brief interaction, he truly captured the spirit of these poeple. Darcia Jones Francey’s portrait teems with strength and sophistication; she looks as if she just got out of a board meeting and is about to dash to a soiree in Palm Beach or the Hamptons. The portrait of Dee Hendrick so reveals this woman’s wisdom and generosity. And the image of Sara Catanese is warm and gorgeous, which is fitting because, well…Sara is one of the warmest women you’ll meet, and, she’s gorgeous.
The portraits are all painted on transparent glass, 12 by 12 inches. The bulk of the portraits are of people from around the country. The exhibition grows every time it travels to a new venue. All the portraits are for sale.
Florida Tech’s director of museums, Carla Funk (who also has a portrait on display), explained that this is a community-engaged exhibition. While its grid-like installation evokes a sense of community, the expressive style of each portrait invites the exploration of individual identity.“It’s kind of patriotic,” Ms. Funk said. “Every summer we have a show like that. Last year it was the Pop Art show. It’s becoming our summer show — about people.”
“FAMILY DAY” 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 21, in the Renee Foosaner Education Center. Free.
“LECTURE” 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the Harris Community Auditorium will feature the artist Ray Turner discussing his ongoing project “Population.” Admission to the lecture is free for museum members and $5 for general public.
The Foosaner Art Museum is at 1463 Highland Ave., Melbourne. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free. Call 321-674-8916, visit FoosanerArtMuseum.org or click onto their ad on the right side of this page.