By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
All My Lies Are Wishes: Rubén Torres-Llorca is a conceptualist with superb craftsmanship. His photo series features blurred images, laid-over symbols, and tangential titles. They work like a personal domestic still-life sequence, though a bit cryptic. The show's pièce de résistance is a spider-web installation, made of rope and filled with pegs and bound figurines as prey -- and it pays to decode this one. The web has a wooden human ear at its center. Is Torres-Llorca conjuring up a correlation between hearing and loss of self-determination? -- AT Through May 23. Mosquera Orthodontics, 1245 SW 87th Ave., Westchester. 305-264-3355.
i am the resurrection: Works by Daniel Arsham, Ian Cooper, Jay Heikes, and Rachel Howe circle cautiously around Goth culture and the spate of recent school shootings by teenagers. The works suggest the saturation of violence permeating contemporary life, and explore the twin afflictions of victimization and vengeance plaguing youth in the United States. Also examined here is the fact that some teens have turned to Satanism to redress their suffering or expand their fashion horizons. Rachel Howe's drawings on paper are penetrating. Daniel Arsham's renderings of pristine modernist high-rises are overwhelmed by inky, dreamy, cavelike settings. A snarky, hipsterish sensibility floats over the entire show, a perfect milieu for discourse on the banality of evil. -- MW Through June 11. Locust Projects, 105 NW 23rd St. 305-576-8570.
Mariano Rodriguez: An Homage: Rodriguez, a Cuban painter whose works can be found in America's best museums, was a rebel and an autodidact. This retrospective (collected in America) provides a context in which to study how Latin America appropriated and morphed European aesthetics during the first half of the Twentieth Century. There's plenty of the early Picasso in Rodriguez, but who in America at the time didn't borrow from Picasso? The work is luscious in color and themes, reflective of an epoch before political discourses destroyed our innocence. The book Mariano 1912-1990 (available at the gallery) is an indispensable document. -- AT Through June 19. Cernuda Arte, 3155 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables. 305-461-1050.
Ralph Provisero: You must see Provisero's "New Work" at the Dorsch Gallery. Executed with huge maple-wood slabs and imposing iron beams (painted black), this is one of the best sculpture shows I've seen in Miami in years. It gives us the artist's creative process from conception to execution. Provisero's tubular abstract structures borrow a bit from Joel Shapiro, industrial mechanics, and kinetic art, but above all from graffiti art. The pieces, which carry Italian titles, are large and weighty, yet they look light and gracious. Provisero (who returned to art-making after a brief hiatus) has a deep sense of balance and elegance of form. -- AT Through May 22. Dorsch Gallery, 151 NW 24th St. 305-576-1278.
"71" A Cuban-Chinese Journey: Cultural assimilation is not stress-free. Then to our surprise, we learn that our heritage is already mixed. We are walking layers of various places and cultures, as shown by María Lau's exhibit at Diaspora Vibe Gallery. In a show that is just right for this venue, Lau, whose work was chosen by the Grupo Promotor of Havana's Chinatown, documents the lives of her Chinese and Cuban-Chinese kin by superimposing photos of old family images against what's left of the Chinatown neighborhood in Havana. It's a moving narrative of acculturation and search for identity. Lau's I'm Chinese installation of hanging, painted, wood tablets with token phrases is a must. -- AT Through May 26. Diaspora Vibe Gallery, 3938 N. Miami Ave. 305-573-4046.
Superstes: If Moderns merely appropriated, Postmoderns reappropriate. Painter Edwin Montalvo belongs in the latter category, but we must make distinctions. He does not represent the verbatim ironic trend of Ken Aptekar, nor does he indulge Yasumasa Morimura's iconoclastic conceit. He borders Mike and Doug Starn's Romantic historicism, but with less glum. I fathom one reading: Montalvo blends Rembrandt school and Goya in the themes and the execution, plus some low-key accessories. He has imagination, but is he serious? Answer: Not if he translates Adultus Compleo Recuso Flere as Broken Man too Tough to Cry. -- AT Through May 26. Kevin Bruk Gallery, 3900-B NE First Ave. 305-576-2000.
This Ain't No Retrospective (I'm Too Young): Karen Rifas's show at Bernice Steinbaum Gallery is a study in contrasts -- one metaphysical, one matter-of-fact. On the pragmatic side, Rifas shows wit, Dadaist adroitness, and a flair for decoding ordinary household chores to flesh out a comment on domesticity, one in which the critique keenly brings in the critic. As dysfunctional as Dadaism was with machines, so Rifas is with her Americana assemblages. Then suddenly you walk into her trademark webs of threaded oak leaves, a transparent realm of geometric harmony, a crossover of the spiritual and the rational -- and a hopeful gleam of doubt. -- AT Through May 22. Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, 3550 N. Miami Ave. 305-573-2700.