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Local Artist Shows Recent Collection Featuring Nature's Four Elements
7/25/2002

FORT MYERS, FL - A collection of paintings “The Four Elements: Earth, Air, Water and Fire. A Contemporary, Environmentally Focused Interpretation of the Classical Greek Philosophies” by Fort Myers artist and Florida Gulf Coast University student Jeff Lewis are on display for public viewing until Sunday, Aug. 18 at the FGCU Library Art Gallery.

The exhibit’s 16 works question current social systems and their impact on the planet. Elements, such as a disposable paper ketchup cup from a fast food restaurant filled with red paint, are added to painted canvases that have newspaper and magazine images, as well as found objects.

“Artist Jeff Lewis has recently created an ambitious cycle of paintings that combines the classical elements of Earth, air, water, and fire with modernist painting strategies such as the use of symbolic color, collage and text within the image. The work on display has a sophisticated design sensibility and a compelling visual presence,” professor and gallery director, Morgan T. Paine, said.

The exhibit includes a broken Waterford crystal candleholder in the collage Fire Series #1. The crystal appears to allude to fire’s destructive capabilities, yet the artist says that it refers to creative impulses associated with the element as defined by fifth century B.C. Greek philosophers.

“I accidentally broke the candleholder while stretching the canvas for the painting. At first, I was upset at having broken a beautiful item. Then I realized that lead crystal is formed by fire. The candlestick demanded to be a part of the work. Juxtaposed against parts of a car engine, a burnt artist mannequin and mirrored fragments, the work is a celebration of the agent of change.”

Lewis, FGCU art junior originally from Bremen, Ga., spent four years as a display artist and merchandise presentation specialist for Walt Disney World. He has developed visual merchandising for national distributors such as the Ace Hardware Corp., Dillard’s and Scotty’s.

Lewis earned an Associate of Arts from Valencia Community College in 1983. He anticipates graduating from FGCU next year.

Recently, Lewis was awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award and an Honorable Mention at the Emerging Artists Awards. In addition, the Arthouse Foundation awarded Lewis a scholarship for “The Four Elements” body of work. He says his artistic influences include Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso.

The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. All events in the gallery are open to the public free of charge. The gallery is located on the FGCU campus east of I-75 exits 123 and 128, formerly exits 19 and 20.

For more information about the exhibit, contact Jeff Lewis at (941) 267-7450 or jsl0910@aol.com.

For more information about upcoming exhibits or the FGCU gallery, contact Paine at (941) 590-7164 or mpaine@fgcu.edu.

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