By Ciara LaVelle
By Jose D. Duran
By Kat Bein
By Juan Barquin
By Ciara LaVelle
By George Martinez
By Kat Bein
By Ciara LaVelle
Brad Kuhl: Young Miami native Brad Kuhl's most promising pieces at his first solo show demonstrate a keen sensibility for hyperbolized violence. See two large prints displaying closeups of faces clad in gas masks (appropriated from Invasion of the Body Snatchers stills) from which the negatives have been hand-manipulated. The results are haunting, almost suffocating pictures of faces engulfed in a chaotic miasma. Kuhl alters his photographs to create recycled imagery, though it works to lesser effect in some cases (as when he draws directly on the photo). Other series include somewhat trite shots of toy action figures in interplay, as well as a successful collaboration with Monique Leyton of unique, multihued, packaging-tape collages depicting police scenes. -- Omar Sommereyns Through March 5. Open 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. or by appointment, Buena Vista Building, 180 NE 39th St., Suite 214, Miami; 305-490-6906.
Cristina Lei Rodriguez: Multihued like liquid acid dreams, Cristina Lei Rodriguez's series of three gleaming "Experimental Garden" sculptures are cunning representations of her imagined artificial paradises. Made from plastic versions of various flora coated with polyurethane and foam, the works -- florid and verdant -- spill out from the wall in aqueducts. Luscious eye candy titillates the senses; thin crystal raindrops hang in the negative space above each separate geographical region: glossy banana trees, orchids, and bougainvilleas in the tropics; spiny finger and barrel cactus in the desert; fountains and bamboo gardens in the Japanese-inspired setting. Rodriguez's work is very ornamental -- almost decorative at times -- yet she pulls it off by not trying to re-create nature but rather offering a visually interesting and fanciful likeness of it. -- Omar Sommereyns Through March 30. Rocket Projects, 3440 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-576-6082, www.rocket-projects.com.
Divine Intervention: Magnus Sigurdarson likes to tinker with our feelings about iconic images. In his "digital drawings" of Che, Marx, and Stalin, for instance, viewers will instantly recognize these portraits even though they're rendered somewhat hazy by a meticulous Photoshop arrangement of lines and small red boxes derived from well-known historical pictures. They are technically impressive and prompt us to re-examine our perception of these familiar faces, but Sigurdarson's work has a dry and slightly stiff aesthetic. His "Mao and Björk" series of digital prints features a common portrait of the Icelandic singer/songwriter's face tweaked according to her lyrics, which are marked on the individual pieces; the songs also play from a stereo. Humor and subtlety are the artist's strengths here, as in Violently Happy, in which a small yet spiky tooth slyly protrudes from Mao's mouth. -- Omar Sommereyns Through April 2. Marina Kessler Gallery, 2628 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-573-6006, www.marinakessler.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 Triff Through 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 Weinberg Through March 13. Frost Art Museum, Florida International University, SW 107th Avenue and Eighth Street, West Miami-Dade; 305-348-2890.