Art's Big New Home

A fine first show for a splendid space

In his earlier work, Gean Moreno explored baroque psychedelic drawings, semiabstract patterns, conceptual graffiti, and other overloads of information. Now he's approaching a still-elaborate but more controlled style. Kissing Cousins and Diamond Girl are hybrid, layered paintings with carefully done dotted circles over slices of found fabric. His assemblages, such as Monster Ballad, are sparse, archaic skeletons, clusters of modern art history, found objects, and recycled waste. Moreno's work keeps morphing.

Views on technology move from dystopian to utopian; Marx loved it blindly, Heidegger despised it. Robert Chambers's pieces defy such extreme views. They reposition and reinvent the bric-a-brac of apparatuses greater than the original sum of their parts. I perceive three constants in Chambers's art: light, sphere, and air, which he combines with the flair of a Fifties science fiction mad artist.

He's a difficult artist to categorize. His art lies between conceptualism and technology, yet his exploits are never self-important; rather they are humane and a bit seditious. This projects an aura of (as Paula Harper aptly puts it) "playful exuberance, quirky humor, and the embrace of overload."

Untitled (Turntables) by Luis Gispert: He is to 
Miami social iconography what Guillermo Cabrera 
Infante was to Havana's
Untitled (Turntables) by Luis Gispert: He is to Miami social iconography what Guillermo Cabrera Infante was to Havana's

Chambers's installation A Group of Objects Assembled to Suggest a Kinesthetic Experiencecomes with a huge screen inside a big rectangular room, furnished with two sleek chairs and a pair of rear speakers that send a low-frequency ommm into the walls. Sections within the screen glow crimson, orange, and yellow, then into green, blue, and purple, and then the cycle comes back. The experience is "part disco, part shrine ... with sight, sound, and color merging into a single energy field," writes Harper in the exhibition's catalogue. In addition Chambers's piece elicits an uncommon metaphysical serenity.

Finally there's Sergio Vega's installation El paraíso en el Nuevo Mundo. Vega presents a modern interior with colored photos of modern Brazilian architecture, Eero Aarnio's ball chair, and Vega's appealing architectural maquettes. It's the interior-decorating version of a "Girl from Ipanema" music mix. Outside this bourgeois lounge, he reproduces the wretched exterior of a favela. The rich/poor contrast works. Vega gives us tropical paradise, social disparity, and the transplantation of modernism into the New World. But there's also the impact of the Brazilian dictatorship of the Seventies, and Vega's personal quest for a paradise. I think the installation would work better with a less didactic -- and more focused -- output. My advice: Get rid of the texts, some of the photos, and make it smaller.

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