International College's Falciglia Art Gallery to Showcase Citrus Paintings of William North

The artistry and history of oranges will be revealed during the latest exhibit at the Falcigilia Art Gallery at International College. “The Color Orange: Reflections on Its Chroma,” which runs from September 27 to November 1, features the Impressionistic paintings of the distinguished William C. North.

North's collection will include 24 pieces from his "Real Florida Oranges" series, depicting still lifes of Florida’s seasonal oranges and exploring the complexities of their shapes, colors and unique markings. Ten of the pieces were created specifically for the Falciglia Art Gallery exhibit, North said.

Interspersed between North’s paintings will be copies of correspondence and photographs from the Florida Citrus Archives collection. The letters and photos detail the evolution of the citrus industry in Florida from the early 1900s.

One letter from Buckeye Nurseries, which introduced the Temple orange, dated November 1922 reads: “The lure of the orange is the magic attraction which brings people to Florida. The Citrus industry is the backbone of Florida’s wealth and prosperity … The Temple orange is a proven factor and, we repeat what we said at the time of its introduction, it is destined to revolutionize the citrus industry.”

Gulf Citrus Growers Association Executive Vice President Ron Hamel voiced his support for the exhibit.

“Citrus is an integral part of Florida's rich agricultural heritage, as well as a vital part of its present-day economy. We're honored that a gifted artist like William North has chosen to showcase the unique aspects of Florida oranges and share our industry with the community in such a creative way,” Hamel said.

Melody Hainsworth, Ph.D., Vice President of Information Resources and Services at International College, said people who attend the free exhibit will be in for a very unique experience.

“The point of the exhibit is not only to show the beauty of oranges in art, but also to depict the big business in oranges and its impact on Florida’s economy,” Hainsworth said. “The letters and photos from the archives, as well as the paintings, should give people a different perspective on the industry.”

The Gulf region produces approximately one-fifth of Florida’s citrus crop. Citrus has a $1 billion impact on the five-county region, according to the Florida Gulf Citrus Association.

North, who exclusively uses oils, began his “Real Florida Oranges” series 10 years ago. He experienced an epiphany while at a produce stand. The oranges jumped out at him artistically.

“Florida oranges have character. They are not perfectly round, not perfectly orange. I picked oranges for color, shape and surface pattern,” said North, 75, of Fort Myers. “This isn’t my hobby. This is my profession.”

North’s work is shown at the Sanibel Gallery on Sanibel Island and the Crossed Palms gallery on Pine Island. He looks forward to his showing at International College’s Falciglia Art Gallery, so he can lead a discussion on the challenges of orange and chroma, or brightness of color. North is known for portraying the essence and character of his subjects through the interpretation of the atmosphere and light.

Hainsworth encouraged people to see first-hand how strikingly realistic North’s paintings are.

“I like the color and shades of the oranges,” she said. “Specifically, I like the singularity of painting only oranges, because most artists use the orange as one of many fruits or use oranges as part of a scene.”

A “Meet the Artist” wine and Mimosa reception, partially underwritten by the Gulf Coast Citrus Growers Association, will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Sept. 27.
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