9 stunning visual arts shows opening this month in Central Florida 

On the agenda

click to enlarge Photograph from "Transcommunality" by Laura Anderson Barbata at Cornell Fine Arts Museum

Photograph from "Transcommunality" by Laura Anderson Barbata at Cornell Fine Arts Museum

The first month of the year is often a fine one for visual arts, as institutions return from the holiday break refreshed and reinvigorated (as we may hope we ourselves are). But this year brings an especially notable crop of shows – almost an embarrassment of riches – to our museums.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of art shows around town (for that, you'll want to browse our calendar of events); it's merely a list of recommended shows and openings for art lovers to use in planning their agendas.

And heads up: The following week, covered in our Jan. 20-26 issue, contains goodies like the much-anticipated opening of Snap's new downtown space (with work by four artists in three separate exhibitions: Nu Werks by Mark Gmehling and New Sculpturings by Rebecca Rose, Continuum by Chris Robb, and Seasons Change by Earl Funk), an ambitious group show of video, installation, illustration and photography at Time Waste Management's A Place Gallery (keep me in your prayers/fears, opening Jan. 21), a major retrospective of West Coast plein air painting at Museum of Art – DeLand (California Impressionism: Selections From the Irvine Museum, opening Jan. 22) and a groundbreaking collection of photography by female National Geographic photographers at the Orlando Museum of Art (Women of Vision, opening Jan. 23).

THURSDAY, JAN. 14

The Encounter: Baalu Girma and Zora Neale Hurston
Presented in collaboration with the upcoming Zora Festival, this exhibition highlights Hurston's role as a public intellectual and folklorist while imagining the conversations that could have been shared between Hurston and Ethiopian writer Baalu Girma, the celebrated African diaspora novelist and journalist. Opening reception 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14; through Feb. 18; UCF Art Gallery, 12400 Aquarius Agora Drive; free; 407-823-3161; arts.cah.ucf.edu.

click to enlarge "Steneby Seven" by Albert Paley at Mennello Museum
  • "Steneby Seven" by Albert Paley at Mennello Museum

FRIDAY, JAN. 15

Albert Paley: Forged Works
The "industrial poetry" of the internationally acclaimed metals artist is explored in the Mennello's first show of the year. Patrons may already be familiar with Paley's forged-steel works on the grounds of the museum, Interlace and Star. Opening reception 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15; through April 10; Mennello Museum of American Art, 900 E. Princeton St.; $5; 407-246-4278; mennellomuseum.com.

Art Legends of Orange County: The Grand Experiment
Maitland's Art & History Museums celebrates some of the visionaries who made the Orange County art scene what it is today. Featuring works by Maitland Art Center founder André Smith, Maury Hurt and Bill Orr. Opening reception 6:30-9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15; through Feb. 21; Art & History Museums – Maitland, 231 W. Packwood Ave., Maitland; $5; 407-539-2181; artandhistory.org.

Jim Couper: There Are No Other Everglades in the World
The river of grass, with its space, its stunning colors and an ever-changing panoply of moods, provides everything that a landscape painter could wish for. Jim Couper strives in his work to reflect a deep appreciation of this Floridian treasure. Opening reception 5-7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15; through April 3; Museum of Art – DeLand, 600 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand; $10; 386-734-4371; moartdeland.org.

click to enlarge Photo from "The Mirror Stage" installation by Leah Brown at Valencia
  • Photo from "The Mirror Stage" installation by Leah Brown at Valencia

The Mirror Stage
Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, sculptor Leah Brown creates a fantasy world of dreams through scenes and sculpture. Viewers walk through a dreamscape installation populated by hybrid creatures in a woodland setting. Opening reception 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15; through March 4; Valencia College East Campus, 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail; free; 407-582-2298.

click to enlarge “Woman and White Cat” by Will Barnet at Museum of Art – DeLand
  • “Woman and White Cat” by Will Barnet at Museum of Art – DeLand

Will Barnet: Graphic Retrospective
One of America's most distinguished graphic artists, Will Barnet captured a dreamy, contemplative mood in all of his work. This show charts the evolution of Barnet's career, including both prints and paintings. Opening reception 5-7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15; through April 3; Museum of Art DeLand, 600 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand; $10; 386-734-4371; moartdeland.org.

"Zora Neale Hurston and Afro-Futurism"
Presented in collaboration with the Zora Festival, Dr. Julian Chambliss lectures on Afro-futurism, the intersection of historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity and magical realism. 6-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15; UCF Art Gallery, 12400 Aquarius Agora Drive; free; 407-823-3161; arts.cah.ucf.edu.

SATURDAY, JAN. 16

click to enlarge Painting by Doris Leeper, from "Doris Leeper: Hard Edges" at CFAM
  • Painting by Doris Leeper, from "Doris Leeper: Hard Edges" at CFAM

Doris Leeper: Hard Edges
Florida's Doris Leeper, founder of the Atlantic Center for the Arts, was also a renowned artist in her own right. Several of her clean-lined, graphic paintings are gathered here, loaned from public and private collections. Opens noon Saturday, Jan. 16; through April 3; Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, 1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park; free; 407-646-2526; cfam.rollins.edu.

Transcommunality: Laura Anderson Barbata, Collaboration Beyond Borders
Textiles, sculptures, photographs, videos, and projections document the social practice collaboration between Mexican-born, New York-based artist Laura Anderson Barbata and stilt-walking communities in Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, and Brooklyn. Opens noon Saturday, Jan. 16; through April 3; Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, 1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park; free; 407-646-2526; cfam.rollins.edu.

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