Wednesday, November 23, 2016

New Paintings by Victor Bokas and Donne Bitner.

On Third Thursday, I went to Art Gallery at Mills Park (1650 North Mills Avenue, Orlando Florida).  This art gallery is located on the ground floor of a brand new apartment complex right near Orlando's theaters. Since I am hunting for an apartment, I looked at the plan with a discerning eye. I suspect a place this gorgeous is out of my price range. I had seen artist Victor Bokas just a few nights before at the Maitland "Art Under the Stars" event. I got a chance to meet him in his tent, filled with his vibrant abstracts, as the event wound down for the night. Tonight he had a pink beard, probably left over from the Orlando Pride Parade the week before. Unfortunately, I didn't get to pride, but I heard over 100,000 people showed up.

Victor worked as a graphic designer at Tupperware for about 19 years. His early paintings done while he was still at Tupperware are y bit more graphic and controlled. Once he left his colors became more vibrant and he experimented more with his compositions. Victor was at the entrance to the gallery when I arrived. He stood in from of a flaming fireplace and was talking with friends. He gave me a warm hug and then I explored the gallery.

Most of the artwork is hung down a long hall that faces the glass facade, allowing pedestrians outside to get a good look at the art. Snap Downtown has a similar layout in the lobby of a new, modern  apartment complex. Victor and Donne Bitner's paintings look good side by side. They share a similar palette of war and cool colors Donne's colors tend to also incorporate many shades of grey. Donne's work is often inspired by landscapes that become vehicles to push toward abstraction. As she stated, "My intent is to follow the mark to layer and strip away and find the hidden texture and meaning of a piece." Some of Victor's painting are inspired by Florida pools surrounded by rich vibrant foliage. Water and leaves have a fascinating play of vibrant abstract shapes.

Lael Dewahl, one of the gallery owners asked me if I needed any help. I was lost in the process of searching for a nondescript spot Where I could get my sketch done. A tall supermodel in a red dress, Alexandra Philco, showed a couple one of the paintings, offering a personal tour. Boris Garbe, another partner in the gallery, in his excitement, would stand on the furniture to get closer to the art. He gestured like a circus ring master as he explained the artists intentions.This show will remain up for three months, so stop out this holiday season.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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