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. Squareish 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.

Evolution/Revolution: A Century of Modern Seating: Why has the chair become the prime example of furniture design? If you're interested in the expressive possibilities and functional awareness of seating, visit this exhibition at the Wolfsonian. See some of the most distinguished pieces from the late Nineteenth Century: August Thonet's 1888 curvaceous reclining couch and Peter Behrens's renowned 1902 chair, designed for the dining room of his Darmstadt House. Stop by Frank Lloyd Wright's 1937 armchair for his S.C. Johnson & Son Co. administration building. Imagine yourself reclining on a Paimio by Alvar Aalto. Or examine a unique room devoted to Dutch architect Michel de Klerk's outstanding pieces. -- Alfredo TriffThrough June 5. Wolfsonian-FIU Museum, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-531-1001, www.wolfsonian.org.

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 though, equally often not much has changed. --Michelle WeinbergThrough March 13. Frost Art Museum, Florida International University, SW 107th Avenue and Eighth Street, West Miami-Dade; 305-348-2890.

Just on Time: To develop a style is difficult, particularly in painting. 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 extremely 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. See the bearded artist disguised either as a cowboy dandy, a Captain Morgan, or a scuba diver searching for a treasure chest. Whitacre's comics influence 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 and The Last of Their Kind: Both Kol Solthon and N.B. Dash have discovered how to make art during their travels, with no studio in sight. And it has worked to their advantage. The two shows here are stylistically disparate, but both stem from a very lucid desire to see the world anew, or as Marcel Proust put it: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Peek into Solthon's Shelter, a gray, tentlike tarpaulin with a DVD player on the floor. On the small screen a tiny, silhouetted figure (the artist) executes obscure movements in a variety of landscapes around White Sands, New Mexico. Dash has photographed pieces of cotton fabric she's worn down with the tips of her fingers. On their white or black backdrops, they appear as odd lab specimens or numinous creatures, making us reevaluate these otherwise insignificant objects. -- Omar Sommereyns Through February 26. Ingalls & Associates, 125 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-573-6263.

 
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