Sunday, January 31, 2010

Eco Artist Exhibits at SoBay Festival

Xavier Cortada and Mayor Eugen Flinn at The Deering Estate
(My camera's battery ran out of charge so I apologize for my camera phone photos.)

Last night I went to see the SoBay art exhibit at the Deering Estate. I wish more people would have come to the opening, but I selfishly enjoyed having extra time to meet and talk to the artists. Luckily, I had a chance to meet eco artist Xavier Cortada.

Cortada had two exhibits at Deering. In the Carriage House, he had Ancestral Journeys which explores DNA links as a form of identity. Inspired by Dr Wells' work with The Genographic Project, Cortada took DNA from from some of his friends and was able to find the coordinances for where their ancient relations traveled. From his findings he created dinner plates, prints and an site-specific installation on the Deering property.

In the library, Cortada had information about his Reclamation Project. It's an urban reforestation effort where individuals can personally make a difference. Simply purchase a native tree (and a project flag); plant the tree; reclaim the land for nature by displaying the flag; then ask others to do the same. It is a fabulous sequel to his coastal habitat propagating mangroves.

Jennifer Tisthammer Natalia Reparaz

I also met Jennifer Tisthammer from The Deering Estate and artist Natalia Reparaz who was exhibiting crocheted bonnets. Whether from cancer or genetic, Reparaz examines the experience of baldness in women. Not only does she create the bonnets, but she also sculpts the heads she displays the bonnets on which are equally as interesting.

The SoBay Festival of the Arts exhibit will be on display until March 5th at The Deering Estate at Cultler in Palmetto Bay.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's All About the Dot: Yayoi Kusama

Miami's Fairchild Tropical Gardens exhibit by avant-garde artist Yayoi Kusama is spectacular! Floating red shapes with white dots adorn the lagoon with vibrant color and grace. Huge dotted pumpkins and flowers make the garden scream with happiness. It is hard to believe that this beautiful, joyful work comes from an artist who suffers from paranoia, OCD and depression whom also lives, by choice, in a mental hospital near her studio in Tokyo. She is now 80 years old and is one of my favorite artists.

Check out two documentary films about her, Kusama: Princess of Polka Dots and I Love Me.

Kusama's exhibit is at Fairchild until May 30th. One of Japan's most important artists... a must see!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Fun Cloaked in Pink! Leyden Rodriguez: An Uneven Floor

Last night I went to the opening of the Locust Project's latest exhibit An Uneven Floor. I know I was suppose to be focused on the uneven shapes and texture of the carpet, but instead I stood joyfully watching the children roll down the bright pink hills of carpet. Hills being a rarity in Miami, it was beautiful to see happy children understanding art by experiencing it, not just observing it.

Leyden Rodriquez-Casanova

Luckily, I got a chance to meet the artist, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova. I was thinking more about the color than the shapes, so I asked him why he chose the color pink. He said pink was autobiographical. He explained that growing up he was surrounded by the color pink, even living in pink houses.

I also met Monica de Miguel, Assistant to the Director of Locust Project. When I asked about repurposing the materials after the exhibit, she said the carpet would be donated to a charity and they would save and reuse the plywood that supports undersurface. Yeah!

The exhibit will be installed until February 20. Conversation with the artist will be February 11 at 6:30 at the Locust Projects. Check it out and let me know your thoughts...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Vogels: Epitome of Self-Truth

Last night I saw Herb & Dorothy, a fascinating documentary film by Megumi Sasaki. It's a love story on many levels. A couple who is devoted to each other and their passion for art. Choosing art from their hearts, brave and focussed, they purchased from artists either unknown or unrecognized for over forty years. To many artists they have become like family because of their understanding of the work and their shared love for new expression. Collecting only from New York, their home town, on meager wages and living in a tiny apartment they were able to create a collection worth millions. Not only did I find this film inspiring, I found the Vogels to be a perfect example of what it means to be completely true to yourself.

See the Vogel Collection at the National Gallery of Art. Oh, by the way... they donated their collection.

Yes, its just shoes

I went to MIA last weekend and my favorite exhibit was done by Federico Uribe from Columbia. He uses ordinary objects to create his work. With shoes, rakes, etc. he created an entire forest exhibited at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The exhibit had a lot of bits and pieces (shoe laces that had to be placed one by one) that had to be assemble on site. I would love to find out how long and how many people it took to install.

The message is about about how people try to control nature with a false sense of security, but undeniably we are powerless against mother nature and her destruction.

His process introduces the idea of using materials differently. I love his work; I only wish he used reclaimed materials to further impact his message.