Crustacean in the Hall of Furies and Orly Genger: Despite the resemblance to your third-grade teacher's bulletin-board decorations, a sense of gloom pervades Locust Projects, courtesy of artist Frank Haines. Dismemberment, jousting, battling with axes and swords by armor-clad medievals, skulls dripping blood, Vikings, and a hellish grotto are selections from Haines's floor-to-ceiling work made of crudely cut and pasted felt, "Crustacean in the Hall of Furies." Obscure references from the dark ages of art history seem forced, and Haines's palette is limited by commercially dyed felt hues. But there is a reward in the Project Room, in the form of a hand-crocheted sculpture from New York artist Orly Genger. Ready You Are Almost There is made of knotted heavy-duty elastic straps, metallic ribbons, nylon ropes, and traditional yarn. It delivers a satisfying sense of weight and movement. The size of the knots gradually narrows from ultra-thick and burly to refined and delicate. The work feels like a giant cosmological model, with an Earthlike globe form perched at the center. -- Michelle Weinberg Through April 22. Locust Projects, 105 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-576-8570.
In a Dark Manner: 1998-2005: The drawings of Mexican painter Hugo Crosthwaite borrow from plenty of disparate sources: José Guadalupe Posada; Mexican novelétas; Baroque figuration; daguerreotype; and the Mexican fascination with death. Imagine this narrative against the hackneyed urban landscapes of contemporary Tijuana, a surrealist collage of decay and misery -- as if out of Paco Ignacio Taibo's noir novels. Crosthwaite's explorations of today's actual issues in Pescadores (dealing with prostitution on the U.S.-Mexican border), Beso Escondido (looking at transvestism), or in his Bartolomé (refracting the Abu Ghraib scandal) are momentous and -- against all this human drama -- even hopeful. -- Alfredo Triff Through May 30. ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries, 169 Madeira Ave., Coral Gables; 305-444-4493.
Southern Exposure and Images from Peru: While Cuban-born Mario Algaze has been shooting in South America for a long while, he now turns his lens to Miami and South Florida's motley expanse (from Miami Beach to Key West). These panoramic black-and-white images are sharply composed (in Savage Look the viewer first sees the swelling clouds and swamps of an Everglades landscape until, in the left corner, you notice the surreptitious alligator creeping in the water) and display crisp detail (see all the minutiae of a Little Havana cafetería in El Rey de los Fritas). Another show, by Algaze's long-time friend and photographer Javier Silva Meinel, presents inventive black-and-white photos of indigenous people in Peru, the artist's homeland. Many of these are posed, though they still are convincing because Meinel respectfully sets up his subjects in accordance with their heritage. -- Omar Sommereyns Through April 12. Barbara Gillman Gallery, 3814 NE Miami Ct., Miami; 305-573-1920.