Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz are not the type to gingerly test the depths of mythology. Instead the Miami-based pair has plunged headfirst into the unknown, seeking to fathom the common lore that binds humanity in an Ariadne's thread across the globe. At the Carol Jazzar Gallery in El Portal, the conceptual duo has conjured a realm of enchantment by creating iconic imagery of fantastic creatures lost to time, yet which appeared very much alive to the bygone civilizations that venerated them.
Their richly symbolic exhibit, "Otherworld," offers an imaginative portal through the ages. It deploys found objects and garments to evoke mystical beings that have transcended space and time. The Cuban artists, who have collaborated under the name Guerra de la Paz since 1996, share a studio in Little Haiti, where they have plumbed the neighborhood's streets and shops for the discarded materials that make up their art. To create the eye-popping mermaids, unicorns, witches, warlocks, and angels in their show, they play the role of back-yard archaeologists, dumpster-diving and rifling through piles of clothing at local shops that work in the rag trade shipping used garments in bulk to Haiti.
Feb. 12-March 10, 2009