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Filmmaker Harmony Korine makes South Florida his backdrop once again. This time on canvas.

Filmmaker Harmony Korine makes South Florida his backdrop once again. This time on canvas.

Yadira Lopez

Most people know Harmony Korine as the filmmaker behind neon-tinged movies of trouble-making teens and beach bums traipsing through Florida. But Korine, who’s lived in Miami for six years, has also been drawing and painting since he was a boy. A series of paintings completed in 2020 document suburban corners of Miami that Korine first captures on his cellphone while on long drives and walks throughout South Florida. The exhibition is now on view at a popup location for the Jeffrey Deitch gallery in the Design District through Feb. 28.

Korine’s oils on canvas feature the same neons that characterize his color palette on film. The paintings depict “Twitchy” — a character he used to scratch onto paper as a kid. The doodle that Korine describes as “this nervous little guy tripping out under the palm trees drinking coladas and causing trouble” shows up like a garden gnome popping up in random places — posing by a fountain, petting dogs, hanging off the edge of a dock. Or a buzzed local taking psychedelic selfies and chilling under the South Florida sun.

“I always think Florida is almost like science fiction,” Korine said. “When you set something in Florida immediately anything can happen.”

Miami further inspires him because it sticks out from the rest of the state, he added.

“Its history is always reinventing itself and it’s got this kind of strange, tropical otherworldly vibration. Miami is so different than the Keys and so different than Palm Beach — it has these pockets and personalities and different looks.”

In a slight nod to the city’s multicultural flair, the exhibition on view is titled “Joven Twitchy” rather than “Young Twitchy” like his past exhibition of similarly inspired works in New York. Korine’s latest painting spree came about as the pandemic made filmmaking tricky. He needed an outlet so he took to his studio in Miami to paint, inspired by the beauty of what he called the mundane around him, like the way a parking lot contrasts with the skyline or the yellow lines on the highway melt into the sun.

As South Florida swirls with change due to the pandemic and a flurry of out-of-towners moving here, it’s those quirks he hopes will stay the same.

“I hope it doesn’t become overly corporatized,” he said. “I hope it still stays wild. It feels like its own country within the United States which is something I like.”

The gallery at 182 NE 39th Street opens Tuesday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. To schedule an appointment, contact [email protected]

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