By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
Girls with Guns
Through October 30. Dot Fiftyone Gallery, 51 NW 36th St., Miami; 305-573-9994; dotfiftyone.com. Monday through Friday noon to 7 p.m.
Natalie Silva's solo show Girls with Guns at Wynwoods Dot Fiftyone Gallery features 14 large paintings inspired by 60s and 70s cinema molls. With tongue-in-cheek titles such as The Day We Killed Them All and Killer Looks, Silvas pop-influenced paintings explode with color and depict solitary women leveling pistols or rifles and raking spectators with gunfire. Silva uses acrylic and fluorescent paint on raw canvas to enhance her works edgy veneer and achieve a glow-in-the-dark effect. She tinkers with symbolism and humor in paintings such as Damn Flies, in which a fetching brunette sporting an eyepatch blows an F-14 fighter jet out of the sky. She succeeds with aplomb at balancing desirable, glamorous vixens and menacing weapons. In Kitten, a painting recently exhibited in a summer group show at Londons Royal Academy of the Arts, a chestnut-haired minx cocks her Saturday-night special with a Sarah Palin-esque wink and a nod at the viewer. Another work, titled Sandra, depicts a woman who looks like the Angelina Jolie assassin from Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The vamp, who boasts visible breast implants, glares sullenly into space while holding a semiautomatic pistol in each hand as if prepared to unleash unrepentant mayhem on anyone dumb enough to get in her way. Despite Silvas bubblegum palette choices and flatly rendered femme fatales, there is an innate psychological tension percolating under her images that keeps the paintings from feeling like the artist is firing one-note blanks.
Rendered in psychedelic spills of color, Luciano Goizuetas pieces strike a jarring note through their portrayals of people and recreational vehicles superimposed over concrete jungles. The artist, who often depicts Costa Ricas native wildlife as a commentary on the uneasy balance between ecotourism and urban sprawl, created several paintings for this show that highlight 60s-era flight attendants clad in funky mod fashions that add a quirky pop sensibility to his works. Fresh Fruit depicts a quartet of stewardesses wearing go-go boots and pink-and-orange uniforms. The women pose coquettishly with their hands on their hips as they seductively flash their pearlies at the spectator. In the upper right corner of the composition, an exotic bird plucks berries off a bush, dropping the ripe red fruit on the unsuspecting women. Another of Goizuetas savory scenes, The One Who Carries the Light, shows a solitary stewardess sporting a scarlet cape. Looking like a cross between Little Red Riding Hood and a British Airways fugitive, she smiles sardonically while palming a jumbo jet in a black leather-gloved paw. A rusty water tower leaks stains across the surface of the picture as stylized rays of pink, yellow, and orange sunlight beam halo-like from behind the womans head. In one of his oddest images, a pair of tourists wearing gas masks stands on what appears to be an airport runway. As the couple, rendered in ghostly black, white, and gray, gambols over the tarmac, a rainbow floods the background in candy-colored splashes. Many of Goizuetas other canvases depict decrepit RVs and people vacationing in the countryside. The paintings seem to employ stains as a metaphor for overpopulation and mans encroachment on the environment.
Dolos and Steam
Through October 3. Gallery Diet , 174 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-571-2288; gallerydiet.com. Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Nina Johnson opened her season with Dolos, by Chicago-based artists Dutes Miller and Stan Shellabarger, as part of her ongoing invitational series. She also featured Steam, by Hills Snyder. Collaborating as Miller & Shellabarger, the Chicago couple performed Untitled (Pink Tube), a never-ending performance in which the duo sits across from each other in the gallery while knitting a pink tube and conversing with the public. The men, who have worked on the piece for the past six years, engaged spectators through a ritualistic performance that poignantly links the two as partners, procreators, and artists. The idea behind it is that they will continue doing so indefinitely until one or the other passes away or can no longer continue while the other partner unravels it when its over. The gallery also features Untitled Silhouette (Conjoined Various Numbers), a stunning series by Miller & Shellabarger in which the duo, wearing fanciful hats, appears outlined in Somerset black velvet. Their beards are braided together so the men appear to morph into a single entity. Snyders Steam was presented inside a black-painted room where ambient sounds such as people murmuring and wind blowing was piped in. The artist affixed a montage of what appeared to be fragmented puzzle pieces scattered across the floors and walls. The Plexiglas forms were covered with photos of an azure sky and billowing clouds, adding a Chicken Little effect. Originally installed in Amsterdam in 2002, the work includes fragments of falling sky based on hundreds of broken bicycle parts collected during a three-week jaunt in Amsterdam, a city of 1.5 million bicycles.