San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica as Muse for Art and Soul

LATIN American artists are famousfor their use of bright colors and the passionof their canvases. But what happenswhen a native New Yorker, more accustomedto the subtle shades of Manhattangray, trades Delancey Street for the hills ofHeredia?The Galería Alternativa has the answerthrough the end of this month, and takingartist Wilson McCray as a case in point,five years in Costa Rica is enough tobrighten one’s style of painting. “ElJardín” (The Garden), an exhibition of hisworks, provides the evidence.MCCRAY forsook the grind of life inNew York and now paints from his studioin Santa Bárbara. Cattle and horses – inample supply in the hills around town –were frequently the subjects of his firstCosta Rican works, but he has graduallymoved into painting more subtle portraitsand nudes.What has become McCray’s trademark– his stark expressionist colors – has notchanged, however, and is evident in hisnewest canvases on display in “El Jardín.”BUT, inspired by tropical themes, theartist includes a selection of abstract drawingsin the exhibit as well. Their delicacystands in marked contrast to his paintings.“El Jardín” runs through Jan. 29 at theGalería Alternativa, 100 m. south and 500m. west of the U.S. Embassy in Pavas.Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri., and 9a.m.-noon, Sat. Call 232-8500.

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