Current Art Shows

 Animal Xing: Joshua Levine's viscerally mutated animal sculptures are fiercely contemporary and relevant, dynamic figures resulting (in concept) from the conflation of biology and technology. Starting with taxidermic models of squirrels and beavers, Levine refashions the creatures by elongating their limbs with steel, urethane foam, acrylics, and epoxy resin. He ends up with alien, salmon-hued beasts that suggest oversize lizards gone through one too many mutations. The most compelling of the group are rather wiry and hang vertically, legs extended, posing as animate organisms and illuminated to induce intricate shadow plays on the floor. -- Omar Sommereyns Through February 19. Ambrosino Gallery, 769-771 NE 125th St., North Miami; 305-891-5577.

Collage Series: Matthew Rose offers the best work in this show of four collage artists. Using lithography, Rose combines images cut from ads from the Twenties and Thirties and transforms them into personae who would feel right at home in the creepy parlors of Max Ernst, particularly the Victorian Lady with the campfire for a head. In Christian Duran's work, silhouettes traipse through a forest of arteries, rendered on newspaper classified ads. Graphically pleasing in their grim way and much less intensely colored than his paintings, their supports come off as wordy distractions. Square-ish arrangements of paint and ephemera by Mathilde Denis and Christina Stahr look merely decorative. -- Franklin Einspruch Through February 26. Art Vitam, 3452 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-571-8342, www.artvitam.com.

Ideas About Time: Mark Klett's photographs are the products of an intense and passionate occupation with the art and science of photography, and the works currently exhibited at FIU's Frost Museum provoke thought about the nuances inherent in that art form. Klett's photos for the Rephotographic Survey Project of the American West revisit the sites of iconic photographs or paintings of prominent vistas in the Western landscape. Often dramatic changes have occurred in the scenery. Refreshingly, equally as often not much has changed. His investigations into the nature of time and change range technically from mapping, creating panoramas, and collaging rephotographed images into his work. "Ideas About Time" compels viewers to think about the nature of recorded history, and of what is left out. --Michelle Weinberg Through March 13. Frost Art Museum, Florida International University, SW 107th Avenue and Eighth Street, West Miami-Dade; 305-348-2890.

Matheu's Opportune Desire at Dot Fifty-One
Matheu's Opportune Desire at Dot Fifty-One

Just on Time: Leonel Matheu's paintings have a stamp. They're simple (with recurring symbols), accessible, odd, inquisitive, and geometric. The execution is careful and clear, with earthy colors that elicit warmness. Paper boats, the face with a Pinocchio nose, the cricket, the bow tie, the letter, and the cartoon bubble hanging over people's heads with a question mark -- all this against weird city vistas make for the narrative. It's kind of humorous but very serious. Check Matheu's peculiar video and his installation of a huge white-feathered suit against a black wall, with long shackles and balls on the floor. In its simplicity, it is cryptic. -- Alfredo Triff Through February 20, Dot Fifty-One Gallery, 51 NW 36th St., Miami; 305-573-9994, www.dotfiftyone.com.

Neil Whitacre: Neil Whitacre's careful drawings, on exhibit in Locust Projects' project room, take us through the artist's voyage and explorations as a resident of the Everglades for a year, during 2003. Part Robert Louis Stevenson, part William Gibson, part Cesar Romero, Whitacre's images are complex, bizarre, and filled with exquisite detail. The influence of comics is palpable: a bit of Lee Elias, Weird Chills's Bernard Baily, and Creepy master José Ortiz. Whitacre's line, shading, dot, and cross work are simply superb. But the work is poorly hung, which is a pity. -- Alfredo Triff Through February 25. Locust Projects, 105 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-576-8570, www.locustprojects.com.

New Work: Kerry Ware is one serious painter. And you can see he's coming from different places outside art. There is his love of topography, which brings the abstraction. Then there is music (his Dionysian impulse for coloring). You might wish Ware would do more with color on those washed, peg-perforated surfaces. But he won't. His art is about that which may be overlooked, or seen and forgotten, or quitted right before a discovery (just as one cannot notice the beauty of a wall). Ware's art makes us think of something huge and banal: the miracle of coming across something meaningful only to take it for granted. -- Alfredo Triff Through February 12. Dorsch Gallery, 151 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-576-1278, www.dorschgallery.com.

She Sank on a Shallow Bank: Self-taught filmmaker Clifton Childree brings his life-long obsession with kitsch and classic horror movies to life in this collaborative film and accompanying installation at the alternative space run by local artists Hernan Bas and Naomi Fisher. Working with dancer Nikki Rollason and featuring a musical score by Dan Hosker, the film creates the fantastical, posthumous world of a girl whose body has washed ashore at low tide. Utilizing a unique mixture of stop-motion animation and dance, Childree constructs synchronized movements as the girl interacts with flotsam on the beach and other mementos from her life. Accompanied by photography and an installation re-creating the bedroom from the film, "She Sank on a Shallow Bank" is a compelling experience beyond the film itself. -- Upahar Through February 10 by appointment only. Bas Fisher Invitational, Buena Vista Building (second floor), 180 NE 39th St., Miami; 305-773-2139.

 
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