By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
Artformz: The video accompanying Alette Simmons Jimenez's installation gives the viewer the illusion of moving through the walls of a green labyrinth. Suddenly a voice says: "Fiddle dee dee" (it's actually a dub of Vivien Leigh in an excerpt from Gone with the Wind). A sign on the wall reads: "Wrong way," but a tape-recorded voice declares: "People go both ways." Who is Fiddle? Perhaps an agile, tiny, voracious mammal, the ideal science lab pet. However, mice quickly learn the easiest way to find food inside a labyrinth. Check out Pathway-Leaves, a green maze that might shed some light on Fiddle's destiny; perhaps it might even help you better understand yourself. As Spanish poet Antonio Machado said, "Walker, there's never a clear way ahead, but you make it as you walk." -- Alfredo Triff Through October 10. Artformz, 130 NE 40th St., Miami; 305-572-0040.
Black Lungs: In his latest exhibit -- surrounded by darkness -- Cooper centers our attention on an abandoned trailer, from which a soft reddish light emanates. We hear a recurring cavernous grunt produced by a huge, malignant lung. It repels and invites simultaneously. Inside the vehicle, a sinuous groove on the beaten wooden floor is filled with a brown stinking viscose that sticks to the soles of our shoes. It drips onto the ground from what appears to be an IV, a machine I could swear has a mind of its own. Freaked out, we leave, but not before looking back and realizing the liquid has already made it to the door, scorching the metal as it trickles into the barren soil below. -- Alfredo TriffThrough October 4. Fredric Snitzer Gallery, 2247 NW First Pl., Miami; 305-572-5810.
Hanging by a Thread: Crafts have always battled for acceptance in the contemporary art world. During the Nineteenth Century, weaving was considered a noble tradition, in spite of it's role in the exploitation of women. Curated by José Diaz and Nina Arias, this exhibition provides viewers with a great opportunity to become acquainted with the fiber media phenomenon: weaving, stitching, upholstering, quilting, draping, and collaging. Local and international artists impart a fresh and unique flavor. Marvel at Tracey Emin's loud quilts, Orly Cogan's labor-intensive vintage cloths, Jon Pylypchuk's funny and twisted fabric collages on paper, Kent Henricksen's perverse embroideries on printed fabric, Misaki Kawai's exaggerated space station, and Frances Trombly's lifelike piñata. -- Alfredo TriffThrough October 22. The Moore Space, 4040 NE Second Ave., second floor, Miami; 305-438-1163.
Impenetrable: Eugenio Espinoza's installation mixes the disciplines of painting, sculpture, and conceptual art. Transforming the conceptual standard and painting's historic monumentality with lots of canvas, wood, and the systematic application of black paint and wit, Espinoza revisits his own art history and heady era of international Geometric Abstraction. The Venezuela native has constructed a horizontal, waist-high, paintinglike grid structure that completely dominates two conjoined spaces in Locust Projects. -- Kathleen Hudspeth Through October 29. Locust Projects, 105 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-576-8570.
...then I woke up and it was still there: "Show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are," reads the end of Hugo Montoya's artist statement. One of six young photographers whose works are now on view at Ambrosino Gallery, Montoya displays shots that seem posed and unspontaneous, complete with blatantly forced emotion -- a desperate attempt to emulate the raw candidness of Nan Goldin or Vicemagazine imagery. For his sake, it is hoped he's being ironic. The exhibit's only standouts are Sara Padgett's Mondrianesque streetscapes with right angles, primary colors, and light and dark hues. Padgett skillfully shoots buildings, signs, brick walls, and benches, composing the objects in a way that reveals beauty in their simple geometric shapes and spatial interrelationships. -- K. Lee Sohn Through October 1. Ambrosino Gallery, 769 NE 125th St., Miami; 305-891-5577.
Una Tal Juana: Ninth-century Englishman John Anglicus was a brilliant scholar who lectured at the Trivum in Rome before becoming a cardinal and eventually pope in 853 A.D. Two years later, riding from St. Peter to the Lateran, he stopped to give birth to a child. Pope John VIII was really Pope Joan. According to legend, after learning the truth, the people of Rome dragged her behind a horse and then stoned mother and baby to death. Colombian artist Flora Cohen transforms this outrageous story into a beautiful narrative-exhibit with a mixture of humor, perversion, and gloom. Enjoy Cohen's delicately drawn quizzical black-and-white panels, and learn more about a certain aversion, popular among Joan's court following, to beards. -- Alfredo TriffThrough October 15. Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, 3550 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-573-2700.
Wangechi Mutu: Amazing Grace: The collage drawings of female figures by Kenyan-born artist Wangechi Mutu on view at Miami Art Museum are harsh and seductive, violent yet equally beautiful. Their mottled surfaces glitter like distant planets, like microscopic organisms or rare fungi. They are ephemeral but also monumental in size, many as large as 86 by 51 inches. Emerging from weblike tangles created by plants and their roots, humanoid forms twitch and jive, seemingly elastic and animated. A certain science-fiction element pervades some of these works, causing images of body-snatching aliens and swamp things to haunt the imagination. The women Mutu depicts could be zombified witches or innocent victims of real-life violence. Mutu says, "Females carry the marks, language, and nuances of their culture more than the male. Anything that is desired or despised is always placed on the female body." -- Michelle WeinbergThrough October 9. Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000.
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