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Slices of NYC on display at SMSU’s Whipple Gallery

March 5, 2011
By Cindy Votruba

New York City artist Sharon Florin had never heard of Marshall until her cousin married a man from the town.

And now many years later, she's doing a solo show at the William Whipple Gallery at Southwest Minnesota State University.

Florin's work "Reflections of the City" will be on display in the Whipple through March 31.

"I love my city," she said.

She is also featured in the February issue of American Art Collector magazine.

Born and bred in New York City, Florin's oil paintings depict the urban landscape. She said she gravitates toward the older buildings of the city, that there's a huge variety of architectural style.

"I thought it would be interesting to show New York-themed art in the Midwest and have a good reaction," Florin said. Florin's work has been exhibited in solo and juried shows since 1980. "I picked out a variety of work." There are 18 pieces in the SMSU exhibit.

Florin had attended Arts Students League in New York City when she was a teen before going to Adelphi University. She said alumni from the Arts Students League include Georgia O'Keefe.

"It's kind of a school where you register by the month," she said. "It's a mix of ages and abilities." Florin said she took art classes there on Saturdays during high school and then during the summers when she was in college.

She had a 35-millimeter camera and started taking photos, which spurred her to do traditional cityscapes and urban landscapes in her artwork.

One of Florin's featured paintings is of a building near the World Trade Center site. A lot of the old buildings have interesting figures on them, Florin said, such as gargoyles.

"That's what delights me as an artist, walking around," she said. "I walk out and

really discover something new even though I've lived here all my life."

Florin said she's not a big fan of the new large boxy glass buildings that have started going up in her hometown, but she does like the reflection of the older buildings shown in those same glass buildings.

Another work in the exhibit depicts the Feast of San Gennaro. Florin said it is a festival that takes place in what's left of Little Italy in New York City. Other works of hers are of restaurants, which includes "Holiday at Carmine's."

Florin said some of the places in New York City she's painted during her career aren't standing, so in a way, she's keeping the history of her hometown alive.

"For me, it's also a way of preserving New York," Florin said.



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