Miami Mosaic: Portraits by Inez Hollander

February 12 - May 5, 2013

Miami Mosaic is a portrait series created by Inez Hollander, a life-long resident of Miami, includes bold and vibrant colored paintings and sketches people representing Miami’s multifaceted and contrasting community.

A self-described chronicler and storyteller, Hollander’s Miami Mosaic series documents the Miami of today: a community teeming in diversity. Through Hollander’s use of primary colors and strong, unrelenting brush strokes, she captures the emotions of her subjects, enabling the viewer to see not only the many faces of Miami as a whole, but also as individuals. Her work is influenced in color, style and composition by artists such as Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh, David Hockney and Elizabeth Peyton. Hollander states that she “teaches through the eyes of Matisse.”

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The inspiration for the Miami Mosaic series began with models from Hollander’s class at Miami Art League in 2003, where her subjects included a lawyer, real estate agent, floral assistant, construction worker, hairdresser, mother of three trying to become a singer, Tango dance teacher working with blind students and a retired civil service worker known as the “King of the Nude Beach.” Hollander realized that this diverse group coincidentally represented a cross-section of Miami and thus began her Miami Mosaic series. Hollander considers the series a work in progress, with more than 200 portraits to date, including watercolors, oil pastels, water-soluble crayons and acrylics.

Hollander’s impetus for the series stemmed from her frustration of the media representing the city as a crime and drug ridden home to gangsters and delinquents. The first piece, “Time Flies Over Miami” depicting a pelican and a Rolex, was in response to the media’s over dramatization of finding a Rolex watch on a crime victim in the 1980s. It was her artistic statement that Miami has more to offer, such as its ecology and unique sub-tropical environment.

Hollander is a graduate of Miami Beach Senior High School, where she had her first art education internship. She earned her BA from the University of Miami, where she studied with Gene Massin and Clayton Charles (who was the head of the liberal arts program at the time). Upon seeing her work, both Massin and Charles were instrumental in finding Hollander a scholarship, enabling her to study full-time. In 1983, after a 13-year hiatus from painting, Hollander took a workshop with renown artist Roberto Juarez in Miami. Previously she had painted with watercolor and oils, and with this workshop, she began using acrylics and mixed metaphor.

Hollander has been teaching and exhibiting in the South Florida community for more than 40 years. She has been involved with The Bass Museum School, WLRN, South Florida Art Center and Miami Watercolor Society and her work has been featured in American Artist Watercolor magazine and Palette Magazine.