Put a bit of innocuous paper in the hands of an artist and God knows what you'll get. Dolls, confetti, a banal figure study, an oversize book, a giant airplane? Such and more can be seen in ArtCenter/South Florida's current exhibition "Pa-per-view." Ostensibly energized by the renovation of the facility's print room, twenty resident artists have put their inimitable stamp on purely paper works.
Picture perfect: A paper doll by Vicenta Casan Olmos mugs for the camera
ArtCenter/South Florida, 800 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach.
Stroll into the gallery and a quartet of crimson David Bowie faces in Ziggy Stardust mode (plus a center one rendered in gold) stare blankly beyond the couple of blue Kellogg's Pop Tarts' logos that overlap them in Lazaro Amaral's print Pop Tart Diva Bowie. To the left, a colorful silkscreen by Kristen Thiele features her ubiquitous dog perching on the edge of a striped couch, remote control resolutely in paw. (Perhaps it's watching another disheartening episode of Cops on a free broadcast channel, or maybe this year's installment of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on cable?)
Across the room Nina Ferre offers a nearly five-by-eight-foot sheet of white paper tacked to the wall, highlighting a multitude of dripping pear-shaped dots that begin in an icy, almost white blue and gradually increase in intensity to powder blue, aquamarine, and navy. The methodical work seems to be a series of glacial raindrops covering a window, out of character for our climate. Gaze too long and they undulate, playing tricks on unsuspecting eyes.
More sleight-of-hand arrives via Pedro Gonzalez's crystal archive print USDA Judy, featuring Judy Garland's face, circa The Wizard of Oz, glowing pale blue. Eyes open wide in wonder, the phosphorescent icon looks aghast from her perch overlapping a bright photo background of red meat. Juicy Garland?
Six smiling paper dolls by Vicenta Casan Olmos are suspended separately via poles protruding from a nearby wall. Not naked by any means, each wears a skillfully tailored outfit fashioned from a variety of color photographs. Several mix-and-match ensembles dangle below on three tiny makeshift clotheslines, creating a dazzling three-dimensional effect.
Glancing only at walls and not looking up toward the ceiling might deprive one of the show's most playful piece. Looming over the proceedings is Daniel Fiorda's paper airplane on steroids -- all graph paper, electrical tape, and black paint, bearing the artist/engineer's signature at the bottom of a wing. Hanging serenely, it seems ready to take off at any time and sail right through one of the gallery's large plate-glass windows, shattering its stifling confines toward freedom. Artistic freedom. It's a sight many might pay to view. In this case, it's free.