Miami Artist Robert Flynn Gets His First Retrospective Five Years After His Death

The first retrospective for artist Robert Flynn will open at Bridge Red Studios in North Miami next month, showing the raw yet delicate paintings, drawings, and sculptures of the late artist in "Robert Flynn: Paintings and Drawings."

Flynn, who died unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 39 in Vermont, lived and worked in Miami for many years. Flynn's surroundings were a major influence on him, and his Miami years are evident in many of his works, such as the series "Palms."

Kristen Thiele, who runs Bridge Red Studios together with her father and husband, explains his process: "Flynn would take photos of the trees from his perspective while walking to his studio in Miami Beach and then use the photos as a reference in his paintings." The artist turned the daily experience into a diary, creating hundreds of images. Thiele adds, "His last series came entirely from the flora and accompanying ephemera of maintaining his lawn when he moved to Normandy Shores in mid Miami Beach."

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A prolific artist, Flynn generally worked in series, and Bridge Red Studios will be showing works from series dating from 1994 to his final series in 2007. Highlights in the exhibition are the early series "Cows," in which over 100 breeds are represented on canvas as well as the series "Peeps," which Thiele describes as "large-scale, delicately articulated paintings of birds swirling on a frontal plane against monochromatic backdrops." His final series, "The Great Lawn," explores the yard as nature and an objectified trophy for the picket fence suburbanites while also celebrating each sod plug.

Co-curated by Kristen Thiele and her father Robert Thiele, the show is a tribute to a close friend and admired artist, opening exactly five years after his death. Says Thiele, "He was a highly regarded artist here, and has not had a retrospective of his work, which I think is something that needs to happen. I'm happy that we can do this and hope that one of the major institutions in South Florida may pick up on this and give him an even more full retrospective, including works from various collections."

The opening reception for "Robert Flynn: Paintings and Drawings" takes place September 9 from 6 to 9 p.m., and is free and open to the public. The exhibition will conclude with a closing brunch from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 11. The exhibition can be viewed by appointment, between these events, by calling 305-978-4856.

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