By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
Regardless of the artwork presented, some exhibition spaces still demonstrated a curatorial effort that went beyond the mere mercenary. Galería Thomas Cohn from São Paulo had a cogent array of works by Ruben Torres Llorca, Paulo Queiroz, and others. Oscar Oiwa's four-panel canvas of a city (São Paulo perhaps) in the act of collapsing, as if into a huge waterfall, was a strong statement on how nature and civilization remain at odds.
Mexico's Nina Menocal Gallerycommissioned Juan Luis Morales to curate more than twenty artists to celebrate the gallery's fifteenth anniversary. Menocal's roster is pretty impressive, with names like Glexis Novoa, Ana Albertina Delgado, José Bedia, Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt, Pedro Vizcaino, Gustavo Acosta, and others who created pieces specifically for this occasion. The work, though a little cluttered, was well presented.
Sicardi Gallery of Houston, Texas, featured a nice selection of Jesus Rafael Soto's optic pieces, Carlos Cruz Diez's concrete sculptures, and Marco Maggi's interesting paper structures. Diana Lowenstein Fine Art from Miami looked neat, with works by Carlos Estevez, Tulio Romano, and José Bechara, who showed a delicate diptych canvas with mysterious depth. My favorites were two exquisite photos by Carlos Betancourt.
Viota Gallery from Puerto Rico included a group of talented artists, among them painter Rabindranat Diaz (cartoonish, bittersweet images) and sculptor Melquiades Rosario Sastre, a talent who should get more exposure in Miami. From Brazil Galería Brito Ciminoshowed a worthy selection of artists, some of them gravitating toward neo-concrete style (Regina Silveira and Antoni Abid) and others favoring a more postmodern figurative style (Ernesto Pujol and Eder Santos).
Another interesting gallery exhibiting consistent work was Lyle O. Reitzel Arte Contemporáneo from Santo Domingo. I particularly enjoyed the agoraphobic works of Eleomar Puente, Edouard Duval Carrie's colorful biomorphic abstractions, and the powerful existential riddles of García Cordero, one of Santo Domingo's best painters.
Galerie Bourbon-Lally of Haiti offered a coherent display of primitive imagery. Prominent were a strong painting by Santiago Olazabal and an amazing sculpture by Haitian artist Eugene Andre: a metal skeleton donning a purple tie, glassless goggles, and a yellow nylon cape, revealing a colossal wooden phallus (supported by metal rods) on an I.V.
Other galleries had good artwork. Miami's Cernuda Arte highlighted Vicente Hernandez Ascencion's allegorical paintings of his hometown in Cuba, a biting political commentary on Cuba's present situation. The fine works of Salvadoran Santiago Valladares were featured at San Salvador's Galería 1,2,3. Rigoberto Quintana's little paintings were on view at Galería Botello from Puerto Rico.
Then there were Mexican Hugo Crosthwaite's haunting charcoal drawings at ArtSpace Virginia Miller Galleries; Soledad Arias's you are here neon signs at Alexandra von Hartz Fine Arts(both from Miami); and Ronald Moran's eye-catching felt-covered furniture at Costa Rica's Klaus Steinmetz Arte Contemporáneo.