Longtime Sarasotans feel a natural hometown pride in the artwork of Syd Solomon, who lived and worked here for decades and was a prime mover in the colony of artists and writers that took shape after World War II. But, of course, the abstract expressionist’s paintings drew attention far beyond Sarasota, and continue to do so even years after Solomon’s death in 2004.
Latest case in point: the exhibition Views from Above, now on view through Jan. 20 at St. Petersburg’s Museum of Fine Arts. The show, hanging in the Acheson Gallery, displays a wide range of Solomon’s work from 1945 (when he came home from the war after serving as an aerial camouflage specialist) through the 1980s. The multilayered paintings are characterized by sweeps of color contrasts; many of them are inspired by nature and the Florida landscape. He and wife Annie (who still lives in Sarasota and recently turned 100) had a home and studio on the water on Siesta Key for many years.
During his life in Sarasota Solomon helped to establish the Fine Arts Institute at New College, where friends and fellow artists like Conrad Marca-Relli, Larry Rivers and Philip Guston taught. Solomon was also the first living artist to be included in the collection of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
Works in the St. Petersburg exhibition are from the MFA’s collection and the Estate of Syd Solomon. For more information visit mfastpete.org.