Renee Foosaner Exhibition Features Cocoa Mixed Media Artist Grace Leal
By Adam Lowenstein, FIT News Bureau // September 2, 2016
Encaustics, Acrylics, Sculptures, Assemblages
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA — The works of Cocoa-based mixed media artist Grace Leal will be featured in a new exhibition opening Sept. 13 at the Frits Van Eeden Gallery in Florida Institute of Technology’s Renee Foosaner Education Center.
The Education Center is located at 1520 Highland Ave. in the Eau Gallie Arts District of Melbourne.
Leal, a Havana, Cuba, native, moved to the United States as a child before settling in Cocoa in 1979. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, and that subject, and its cousin, anthropology, are powerful influences on her art.
Migration, acculturation, and the interrelations between peoples from a range of cultures have provided fertile ground for Leal to explore and themes for her multimedia art works.
Leal began her art career working in clay. After several years producing glazed pots, she started to make non-utilitarian vessels that she painted with acrylics. Ultimately, painting became a passion, and canvas and paper replaced clay. Soon after she began exploring sculpture, installation art, collage, and most recently, print making.
The works in this exhibition portray Leal’s preference for using found objects in creating her sculptures and assemblages, from pieces of rusted metal and tools, whose original purposes are elusive, to broken glass, bones and toys.
The Frits Van Eeden exhibition features Leal’s encaustics, acrylics, sculptures and assemblages, all inspired by the human need for protection and safety. Dwelling spaces, both physical and spiritual, are also explored as spaces and sanctuaries for rituals and myths.
Leal has had solo and group exhibitions in the United States and around the world, including many in Florida, Georgia and Texas, as well as in Cuba, Bulgaria, and New Zealand.
• An artist’s reception is scheduled for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7. And a Gallery Talk will be held starting at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18. Both events are free and open to the public.
• The Fritz Van Eeden gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, as well as from 5:30-7:30 p.m. the first Friday of each month. Admission is free.
ABOVE MAP: The works of Cocoa-based mixed media artist Grace Leal will be featured in a new exhibition opening Sept. 13 at the Frits Van Eeden Gallery in Florida Institute of Technology’s Renee Foosaner Education Center. The Education Center is located at 1520 Highland Ave. in the Eau Gallie Arts District of Melbourne.