Natural Beauties

Artist's Argentina stimulates stunningly calm canvase

 Thursday 5/22

Painter Sebastian Spreng is an utter romanticist, and his sublime landscapes swell with the heartbreak that surrounds true beauty, or the lack of it. The large works in Spreng's current exhibition at the Americas Collection are richly colored and textured and slightly surreal -- paintings as poetic paens to trees, water, sky, and one's own connection with nature. The Miami Beach-based artist, who in the past has often chosen ocean scenes as his subject matter, has said that these new works were inspired by the landscape of the Pampas in his native Argentina. While the paintings may stir feelings of longing and loneliness reminiscent of a desolate tango, they ultimately convey the spiritual strength better associated with a Buddhist chant. -- By Judy Cantor

Sebastian Spreng's paintings remain on display through Saturday, May 31, at The Americas Collection, 2440 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Coral Gables. Admission is free. Call 305-446-5578.

Friday 5/23

Clothes Up

Before he showed at New York's Fashion Week, wunderkind designer Esteban Cortazar was a student at Miami's Design and Architecture High School. Fashions by Cortazar (shown above), a junior, and his still-undiscovered classmates will be paraded at 6:30 p.m. at the Buena Vista Building (180 NE 39th St.) to benefit a students' scholarship fund during the DASH Fashion Show. Paradox is the theme, so expect a dress incorporating fancy lace and cotton cheesecloth, and, inexplicably, a lot of pleated skirts, says teacher Rosemary Pringle. Students will also produce lighting, stage design, and backstage videos. "We try to make the fashion show as real-life as possible," says Pringle. Should we expect models' hissy fits and designers' ego trips as well? Tickets cost $20. Call 305-573-7135. -- Judy Cantor

Friday 5/23

Yo La Tango

Dancers move pleasurably

For the fifth consecutive year, legendary Argentine tango dancer Juan Carlos Copes will headline the Tango Fantasy extravaganza at the Fontainebleau's Club Tropigala (4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) tonight at 7:30. Copes choreographed Carlos Saura's Tango and introduced the Argentine dance to Japan, France, Germany, Canada, and Spain. In the U.S. he's worked on Broadway and in a number of renowned U.S. universities. Copes is also a part-time teacher to celebrities like Liza Minnelli, Robert Duvall, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and the classically trained Argentine dancer Julio Bocca. Attracting people from all over the world, the perennially sold-out week-long gathering combines workshops, daily milongas, and a big show. The secret of its popularity? Organizer Lydia Henson says combining "vacations in Miami with a tango trip is orgasmic, no less than that." Tickets cost $35. Call 305-274-2705. -- By Javier Andrade

 
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