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The Museum of Florida Art and Culture (MOFAC) at South Florida State College will mount an exhibition featuring the work of a husband and wife who split their time between cattle ranching and art.
“The Art of Life: Works by Sean and Sharon Sexton” will be on display Dec. 7 – Feb. 9 in MOFAC’s gallery on the SFSC Highlands Campus in Avon Park.
The Sexton’s live and work on their 610-acre Treasure Hammock Ranch in Vero Beach, Fla. They’re known equally for their environmentally sensitive cattle ranching and quintessentially Florida-inspired art.
“The Sextons’ integration of art-making into their daily lives is an inspiration. I remember Sean Sexton giving a talk about carrying a sketchbook with him so that he could draw even while sitting in a saddle as he herded cattle. That dedication has always stayed with me,” said Megan Stepe, MOFAC’s curator.
Stepe said some of Sexton’s best-known paintings depicts Florida’s rugged landscape and traditional ranching lifestyle. His work not only portrays the natural beauty of South Florida, and the human connection with nature, but also touches upon themes such as religion and mortality.
In addition to his painting, Sexton writes poetry. He also channels his creativity into ceramic sculptures.
The creativity in the Sexton household extends to Sean’s wife, Sharon. She is a recognized artist for her work with paintings, ceramic sculptures, and tile murals. Sharon is one of six owner-operators of the Tiger Lily Art Studios and Gallery, now in its 25th year operating from a space in downtown Vero Beach, Fla. Her work will join that of her husband’s on display in the exhibition.
Accompanying the art of the Sextons, MOFAC will also feature “Keeping Tradition Alive: Pinecone Quilts by Betty Ford Smith.” This part of the show will showcase the quilting of Betty Ford Smith.
The pinecone quilt is also called the “pineburr” or “cuckleburr” quilt because of its pinecone design. An old, flat bed-sheet is used for the base. Hundreds of 5-inch squares are cut, then folded twice to create individual triangles. Each is then hand-sewn onto the sheet in a circular fashion. Pinecone quilts can weigh anywhere from 15 to 30 pounds–a welcome addition for cold nights in northern Florida.
“Quilts have traditionally played an important role in many peoples’ lives, for both their functionality and beauty. Ford’s quilts seamlessly embody the theme of the exhibition,” Stepe said.
MOFAC is located in the Wildstein Center at SFSC, 600 W. College Dr., Avon Park. The museum is open to the public on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 12:30 – 4:30 p.m., or by appointment for group tours. Patrons of the Wildstein Center may visit the museum one hour prior to matinee and evening performances.