From Ring Rust to Riches

These galleries offer different takes on panning for gold

"In my mind, what's happening in Wynwood is comparable only to what's happened in Chelsea in New York. Not only are there more than 30 galleries in the area with more on the verge of opening, but with the unprecedented urban development taking place here, I felt like this was the eye of the hurricane and where I needed to be," says Reitzel.

His inaugural exhibit includes several large-scale paintings by Dominican Republic native García Cordero, who divides his time between Santo Domingo and Paris. García Cordero is known for imagery freighted with allegory, irony, and kick-you-in-the-teeth satire. In The Last Batman, a self-portrait at the rear of the gallery, the artist superimposes his head onto the body of a bat that swoops toward the spectator with outstretched wings. García Cordero's ruddy face appears anguished, and his teary eyes look like a pair of maraschino cherries floating in a bowl of buttermilk. His blushing, shriveled pecker mimics the glow of his jowls, adding a speck of color to the darkly monochromatic picture that left me laughing and thinking the artist resembles the chupacabra more than a vampire. Perros Lambones (Licking Dogs) depicts close-up headshots of dozens of leering dogs. Their tails are erect, their haunches coiled, and their swollen pink tongues flap like neckties. Far from friendly, these mutts exude a menacing vibe suggesting mob violence.

One of the most striking images in the show is Ellis's Trampa (Trap), in which a dachshund/engine-block hybrid appears snared in a spider web. The canine cyborg's head is wrapped in a butcher-paper cowl. In Boxes, another arresting piece by Ellis, two of his mutant dogs are isolated in white squares painted in the middle of a black field. Separated by a few inches in their respective boxes, the hounds wear gas masks as they try to sniff each other out.

José García Cordero's Perros Lambones at Lyle O. 
Reitzel Arte Contemporáneo
José García Cordero
José García Cordero's Perros Lambones at Lyle O. Reitzel Arte Contemporáneo
Gerard Ellis's Trampa at Lyle O. Reitzel Arte 
Gerard Ellis
Gerard Ellis's Trampa at Lyle O. Reitzel Arte Contemporáneo


“Enigmatic Figures”: Through June 30. ArtSpace/ Virginia Miller Galleries, 169 Madeira Ave, Coral Gables; 305-444-4493. and “Opening Exhibition”: Through July 26. Lyle O. Reitzel Arte Contemporáneo, 2441 NW 2nd Ave, Miami: 305-573-1333.

Puentes's Coldness, a large diptych featuring a pair of characters frozen in blocks of ice while facing each other, evokes a science experiment gone awry. With their bizarre prosthetic eyepieces, sloping foreheads, beehive coifs, and pointy ears, they give the impression of a burlesque sendup of the Mentats from David Lynch's sci-fi film classic Dune.

Acosta's luscious bird's-eye-view painting of Havana's capitol building conveys a sense of almost sexualized architecture. The sprawling edifice appears phallic-shaped when rendered from above, with a wing or "tip" penetrating a dense patch of bushes. The capitol's dome is ribbed and mimics the head of a spear Acosta has painted to the left of the picture. People are absent from surrounding streets, while many of the buildings are steeped in fleshy red and pink tones.

Sharing a corner with Chelsea Galleria and located next door to the freshly minted DPM Arte Contemporáneo out of Ecuador, Reitzel joins the creeping tide of hustlers looking to strike a rich vein in the hood.

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