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Underwater Treasures

Raqib Shaw’s paintings smack you in the face with their intoxicating imagery. His shimmering coral reefs burst with psychedelic flora, swarm with glittering mutant fish, and are lorded over by exotic, half man, half beast figures draped in clouds of jewel tone butterflies. The exhibit culls its title from a work by fifteenth century Flemish painter Hieronymus Bosch, whom Shaw dubs the first surrealist. His show, “Raqib Shaw: Garden of Earthly Delights,” opens tonight at 7:00 at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Featuring more than fifteen luscious works, this is the first U.S. exhibition for the London-based Kashmiri artist and reflects Shaw’s freakishly talented approach to painting. Shaw’s otherworldly underwater gardens are meticulously rendered. Partly influenced by his family’s connection to the carpet-making and shawl trading traditions, the works capture a sense of Persian rug miniatures or Japanese screens. Known for a richly hued palette, Shaw uses gold, glitter, and semiprecious stones set in industrial paint or automobile enamel to create visually stunning fairy tale seascapes that appear cloaked in a hallucinatory veil. “I wanted to create a new kind of painting,” Shaw explains. “And for that I was looking for a new kind of material.” Admission is free. Call 305-893-6211, or visit
Fri., Feb. 17, 7 p.m.; Feb. 17-April 16


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