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Go figurative: Pembroke Pines exhibit focuses on the human form

"Still Waiting," a bust by artist Judy Polstra, is covered in buttons, beads and locks, including one at the center of each breast. The head is a clock, reading 7:49. Sharon Dash also depicts the human figure, but in ceramic works. One portrays an orange-haired, blue-eyed woman from the waist up. She wears a blue sweater, and her dark-red lips are parted, perhaps in song. In the palm of her right hand is a bird, which also has orange hair. Its red beak is open and pointed upward, as though it's chirping. Hence the piece's title, "Singing Muse."

Polstra and Dash are two of 10 artists exhibiting in "Figuratively Speaking," which will open Friday at Studio 18 in Pembroke Pines.

"When you think of figurative, you might think it's all going to be nudes or full bodies," says Studio 18 cultural arts coordinator Robyn Vegas, who curated the show. "I wanted it to be beyond that, so I was thinking of artists who had really different ways of approaching the human form."

The roster includes Serafima Sokolov, whom Vegas describes as a young Russian immigrant who's very interested in the history of America.

Vegas says Sokolov's series on the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression concern universal struggles, while her installation about child soldiers addresses a subject many Americans are unable to fathom. Titled "Memorial to Innocence," it includes square, wood platforms, each containing a colorful pair of children's shoes and a dowel topped by a helmet. Near the installation is a series of very large portraits of helmet-clad children. Sokolov says each represents "hundreds of lost child souls."

Also exhibiting is Frankie Curran, whose oil paintings include "Penance," which presents a pierced, tattooed and shirtless male holding rosary beads, and "The Jellyfish," a portrait of a tattooed and pierced Buddhist woman who has pink-and-orange hair and wears a Hello Kitty T-shirt. "It's a painting about simply looking behind the outer appearance of a person," Curran says.

"I love that Frankie has such a traditional way of painting and is so masterful with his techniques, but the subjects he uses are so modern-day," Vegas says.

Contrasts are plentiful in the show, as are styles, media, techniques and subjects. The one common element is the figure.

"The human form is something everyone relates to because we're all human," Vegas says. "What better topic for an exhibit?"

Colleen Dougher operates the South Florida arts blog Arterpillar.

Figuratively Speaking

When: Opens 7-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, and runs through March 28, with a studio salon on March 1

Where: Studio 18, 1101 Poinciana Drive, Pembroke Pines

Cost: Free

Contact: 954-961-6067 or

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