In the paintings of German artist Thomas Hartmann, columns of tiny people walk on massive landscapes like marching arts.
Curating director Daniella Sforza, of the Rosenbaum Contemporary gallery, compares them to "Where's Waldo?" illustrations.
"That's actually what I tell people," Sforza says. "It's like looking at an aerial satellite image from Google Earth. You discover his own brilliant technique, his enigmatic perception of life. Hartmann is really an academic painter, and his intricate brush work becomes more apparent the longer you look at them."
Hartmann's oil paintings, which have been on display in high-profile venues such as The Guggenheim in New York and at Miami's Art Basel, are part of the Boca gallery's new exhibit, "Thomas Hartmann: Immediate Geographies," up through Nov. 23.
Howard Rosenbaum, who has showcased Hartmann's abstract landscapes for 12 years, says he first discovered the artist at Art Basel in Switzerland, "fell in love" with his paintings and flew to Hartmann's Berlin studio to buy several more.
In many of Hartmann's works, hundreds of faceless figures dwell amid snow-capped landscapes, or among shipwrecked boats and rows of tall pine trees grouped in a straight line, a pattern that Rosenbaum says is hardly accidental.
"The way the forest grows, the way the people fall into a consistent pattern and configuration, I realized that he sees symmetry in nature, " says Rosenbaum, who co-curates the show with Sforza. "I think that's his mission statement: finding orderliness in nature. He's talked quite a bit about that in our conversations, and it's always stayed with me."
Other oils, such as "Land and People," in which he depicts hundreds of miniature people strolling a desertlike landscape, speaks to the "consciousness of humanity in the world," Sforza says.
"He's saying how much humanity is making an imprint on the earth," she says. "They speak volumes."
The exhibit will open with a preview and free cocktail reception 7-10 p.m. Wednesday at the Rosenbaum Contemporary gallery inside The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, 9703 Collins Ave., before heading north for a reception at the Boca gallery from 6:30-9 p.m. Thursday. Hartmann will appear on both nights.
If you go
What: "Thomas Hartmann: Immediate Geographies"
When: Wednesday through Nov. 23
Where: Rosenbaum Contemporary gallery, 150 Yamato Road, Boca Raton
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
Info: rosenbaumcontemporary.com, 561-994-9180, 305-864-4968