Eugenia Vargas Pereira explores the fairy tale as a source of cautionary cultural instructions and class attitudes in Girl in Red, a four-panel c-print loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood.
Vargas Pereira's version portrays the girl in a bleach-blond Lady Godiva wig and cheap scarlet prom dress. In one panel, she's saucily perched on a scooter; in another, she wrestles a pooch on a dining room floor.
Luis Salazar drops names.
"Tales from the Far Side": Through August 28. Farside Gallery, 1305 SW 87th Ave., Miami; 305-264-3355
In the last one, she sits, legs splayed, on a bed with her squirrel covers provocatively peeking from under her skirt. The striking images are accompanied by text conveying the nature of sexuality and cannibalism implicit in the tale.
"When I was a little girl growing up in Chile, it was not a comforting story," the artist laughs. "We used to stay on a farm in the summer and I was afraid to go out at night because of the wolves. Also I became afraid of dogs because their eyes would turn red in the car lights."
Vargas Pereira says Red Riding Hood's golden locks and crimson cape resonate with colonial structures of class.
"Some Latin women still prefer to dye their hair blond to appear European rather than embrace their roots," she says. "Women who wear red are considered to have loose morals and are immediately thought to be lower class."
Before exiting, visitors pause to admire Odalis Valdivieso's Broken Circus 2.0. The pair of encapsulated c-prints depicts boom cranes atop Miami's spastic skyline. The images are superimposed with what appear to be the shadows of trapeze artists and a bunch of clowns in pyramid formation teetering on a bike in a high-wire act.
A tip of the chapeau goes to Dr. Mosquera for his timely prescription for the summer doldrums. This show might be a long way from Miami's arts districts, but it boils with the city's pulse just the same and is well worth the haul.