Current Art Shows

Brown Constructions: Curated by Los Angeles artist Amir Zaki and featuring artists Alice Könitz, Anthony Pearson, Tyler Vlahovich. The works here are linked formally by investigations into planar surfaces and solid constructions, which are pierced, impaled or excavated. Pearson's photos of rocky landscapes are backlit in an intriguingly counterintuitive way. Könitz applies humble felt strips on sculptural objects that vibrate between transparency and solidity. Vlahovich's paintings reach into the early Modernist abstract repetoire and reopen some of that dialogue. Operating squarely within genres of photography, easel painting, and sculpture, each artist creates blunt, unpretentious works that have a modest intensity. The volume is turned down low, so it compels you to move closer to hear. -- Michelle Weinberg. Through November 20. Lemon Sky: Projects + Editions, 125 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-790-1797.

De Ida y Vuelta: This show presents eleven artists of Cuban descent who traveled to and worked in Spain before settling in Miami. Yovani Bauta, Julio Antonio, and Arturo Rodriguez have in common their Expressionist language against the background of our human existence. Néstor Arena's surrealistic and ecological photomontages make me wonder whether animals deserve better treatment in our world. Imagine tiny people who spend their lives confronting gigantic insects, when insects are Arena's protagonists. Ramón Alejandro's works on paper are simply exquisite, exalting the pleasures of the flesh. Gustavo Acosta is as skillful with the pencil or crayon as he is with the brush. Florencio Gelabert and Baruj Salinas offer more abstract visions. Angel Ramirez's aquatints are small, carefully unpretentious, and poetically cryptic. -- Alfredo TriffThrough November 19. Centro Cultural Español, 800 Douglas Rd., Suite 170, Coral Gables. 305-448-9677, www.ccemiami.org,

Graphic Novel: Cinematographers of the printed page, graphic novel artists integrate the literary and the visual to produce works with broad popular appeal. Sponsored by the Florida Center for the Literary Arts and scheduled in conjunction with this year's Miami Book Fair International, the artists exhibiting in "Graphic Novel" are published by Pantheon. Art Spiegelman, publisher of RAW magazine, a forum for sophisticated sequential comic art, pulled out all the stops in his purgative work on holocaust survival, Maus. Charles Burns's Big Baby series is a black-and-white retro-noir pastiche mimicking early newspaper engraving techniques. Inkjet prints and original ink drawings are on view by artists such as Iranian Marjane Satrapi, who chronicles her experiences as a guileless student abroad in Europe in Persepolis. The deadpan anomie of Ben Katchor's low-self-esteem everyman Julius Knipl entertains at street level, while the sheer virtuosic draftsmanship and page design of Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan transports readers to an eternal and mythical Chicago. -- Michelle WeinbergThrough November 14. Centre Gallery, Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus, Bldg. 1, 300 NE Second Ave., Room 1365, Miami. 305-237-3696.

Grass, Gas, or Ass: The title of Los Angeles artist Daniel Newman's first Miami solo exhibition is taken from the bumper sticker: "Grass, Gas, or Ass...Nobody rides for free!" Newman's show reflects upon many of the unsuccessful attempts by members of his generation to co-opt Sixties culture while alluding to the dying art of the American road trip. While conceptually strong, the show includes so many seemingly disparate elements that it could be mistaken for a group show. Yet Newman is able to incorporate all these elements into a visually compelling body of work. -- UpaharThrough November 20. Placemaker Gallery, 3852 N. Miami Ave., Miami. 305-576-6695

NY NY (Not Your New York): As Ortega y Gasset notes in Meditations on the Frame, if you reflect on the paintings you know best, you will probably not be able to recall the frames in which they've been set. Argentinean photographer Pablo Garber turns the notion upside down. Frames always presuppose the images they may or may not enclose. In "NY NY (Not Your New York)" Garber probes the idea of processing a digital series of images containing other (already framed) images of day-to-day New York cityscapes. He makes us aware of moments folding onto themselves in ineluctable sequences -- from different perspectives. Is Garber suggesting that all points of view are equally valid?-- Alfredo Triff Through November 18. Marina Kessler Gallery, 2628 NW Second Ave.. 305-573-6006, www.marinakessler.com.

onwords: In a way, graffiti enriched some of our "standard" cultural meanings by simultaneously defacing and embellishing them. All this happened within the periphery of the impoverished modern cityscapes. Now we're far from the 'hood, inside an art gallery. Extremely conscious of this environment, Tao Rey employs the iconic description of these personal hieroglyphics and proceeds to bend it --materially and conceptually. Instead of regular metal sheets displaying your typical "STOP" or "DO NOT ENTER" message, he employs paper panes with an elegant -- though cryptic -- colored calligraphy on them. Meaning is stretched and repositioned. In the end we encounter repositioned, re-manipulated almost-destroyed emblems. Their aesthetic is not devoid of contradiction, but more important, in the process, they've become authentic and original cultural marks. -- Alfredo TriffThrough November 30. Placemaker Gallery, 3852 North Miami Ave. 305-576-6695.

The Portraits: Ivan Toth Depeña exhibits digital prints that are the product of a steady, undistracted gaze. His subjects are contained and precise, approaching sterility. He exposes an obscure cycle of nature in the midst of a banal suburban parking lot. His lens focuses on this nocturnal micro ecology, no cars visible, and he appears to be conducting some arcane analysis. Technically brilliant, and bracketed by handsome frames, these images are tentative, suggesting vague possibilities that are not clearly defined. -- Michelle Weinberg Through November 20. Ingalls & Associates, 125 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-790-1797.

 
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