In 1972, Ukrainian-born self-taught artist George Voronovsky (1903–1982) moved from Philadelphia to Miami Beach to take up long-term residence in a third-floor room of the Colony Hotel. Over the last decade of his life, he filled the room with hundreds of artworks, covering his walls with dense mosaics of paintings and hand-carved Styrofoam sculpture, his materials salvaged from the detritus of his South Beach neighborhood. A refugee of the Second World War and a former railroad worker, Voronovsky constructed a space at the hotel that one journalist of the period aptly described as a “defiant oasis of color and light.”
As the first major public presentation of this self-taught artist’s work, this exhibition connects his fantastically colorful memory paintings to the places and traditions he cherished back home in Ukraine, which have once again been devastated as a result of the 2022 Russian invasion. Though Voronovsky’s Colony Hotel room is not decorated as it once was, the exhibition gestures to its former magnificence, through imaginative hangings and graphics, as a space for beauty, memory, and healing.