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Exhibition: Mythology and Site

‘Mythology and Site’ responds to the Deering Estate’s ongoing interpretive theme of man’s connection to his environment and takes inspiration from founder Charles Deering’s lifelong attraction to the coast and ocean, from Biscayne Bay to the Mediterranean Sea. Moreover, Deering’s decorative art collection is rich with imagery that includes fantastical beasts, ancient Greek mythological references, and Christian iconography. Many of the historic artworks, carved directly into the architecture, embed the site with myth and lore.

The show highlights recent work by Swedish-born, Miami-based artist, Christina Pettersson, a Deering Estate Alumna Artist in Residence (2011-2012). Pettersson explores resurrection and savage demise on a grand scale once reserved for history painting. Her drawings, sculptures, and most recently performances, reference classic mythology and literature, revealing a deep allegiance to the wilderness of a bygone era, the sorcery of the night, and the experience of a world in decline. It is a stage materialized from the often brutal but beautiful landscape of her hometown, which she has spent a lifetime exploring.

She writes, “As my roots in the South have grown so has the landscape. Where I am and what my unique terrain means matters more and more. It is not a backdrop. A voracious reader of local history, as well as an avid naturalist, birder, explorer and wild thing, I am most alive when I am inside the scenery, tramping the landscape barefoot and muddy. I long to restore that epic and mythological dimension, a sense of awe and reverence for the world. The fact is they are not much about my personality. I want to be a storyteller. I want to believe that life is still wild.” The exhibit features an impressive 24 foot wide drawing of architectural ruins, inspired by historical ruins like Tamarit, a Spanish fortress restored by Charles Deering in the early twentieth century.

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