Art Capsules

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 Wynwood’s 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, Silva’s 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 work’s 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 London’s 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 Silva’s 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.

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Shuffle

Through October 12. Lyle O. Reitzel Gallery , 2441 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-573-1333; lyleoreitzel.com. Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Rendered in psychedelic spills of color, Luciano Goizueta’s pieces strike a jarring note through their portrayals of people and recreational vehicles superimposed over concrete jungles. The artist, who often depicts Costa Rica’s 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 Goizueta’s 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 woman’s 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 Goizueta’s other canvases depict decrepit RVs and people vacationing in the countryside. The paintings seem to employ stains as a metaphor for overpopulation and man’s encroachment on the environment.

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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 it’s 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. Snyder’s “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.

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Palley Pavilion for Contemporary Glass and Studio Arts

Ongoing at the Lowe Art Museum, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables; 305-284-3535; lowemuseum.org. Open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.

Public funding for local culture might be sinking, but philanthropists Myrna and Sheldon Palley are throwing a lifeline. Last year, the couple donated nearly half of their vast glass art collection to the Lowe, along with a $1.7 million gift for the construction of a new wing to house the work. "They are amazingly generous," says William Carlson, an internationally renowned glass artist and UM art faculty member. "At a time when government grants are dwindling and even collectors are hesitant to buy art, the Palleys have plunged headlong in supporting both the university and the community." The Palleys, who have collected glass for more than 30 years, gave the Lowe more than 150 pieces by 53 artists. Their gift is valued in excess of $3.5 million and is considered one of the nation's finest collections of studio glass. When the Palley Pavilion opened in May 2008, it marked the first expansion of the Lowe in more than a decade. The Palleys' comprehensive collection at the museum includes works by Howard Ben Tré, José Chardiet, Dale Chihuly, Dan Dailey, Michael Glancy, Harvey Littleton, Stephen Weinberg, Stanislav Labinsky, and Lino Tagliapietra, among others.

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Through the Lens: Photography from the Permanent Collection

Arnold Newman: Photographic Legacy

Through October 4 at the Lowe Art Museum, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables; 305-284-3535; lowemuseum.org. Open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday noon to 4 p.m.

A new exhibit at the Lowe features a rare image of the Taj Mahal photographed in 1855 by John Murray. The physician produced the 19th Century's finest visual record of historic sites around Agra. Murray's picture is part of "Through the Lens: Photography from the Permanent Collection," displaying 100 photos from more than a thousand of the Lowe's photographic holdings. The stunning collection spans the development of the art form from its earliest inception in the mid-1800s to the present day. The museum's greatest-hits parade continues in the contemporary section of the exhibit, spinning with works by Vito Acconci, Sol LeWitt, William Wegman, Cindy Sherman, John Baldessari, and Gordon Matta-Clark — among the best-known figures of the late 20th Century. Also on display, in the rear of the museum, is "Arnold Newman: Photographic Legacy." Newman, considered one of the greatest portrait photographers of his age, has created incredible studies of artists such as Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, and Jasper Johns at work. It's an impressive complement to the Lowe's sweeping history-of-photography exhibition.

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Joyas Latinoamericanas

Through September 25 at ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries, 169 Madeira Ave., Coral Gables; 305-444-4493; virginiamiller.com. Open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday by appointment.

Where most dealers wouldn't dare exhibit the work of masters alongside that of relative unknowns, Virginia Miller welcomes the risk with aplomb in "Joyas Latinoamericanas," a show including paintings by titans Wifredo Lam and José Clemente Orozco smack next to whippersnappers such as Marco Tulio and Sergio Garval. The exhibit features artworks by more than a dozen Latin American artists, spanning nearly 80 years. Miller says that because of the recession, private owners are offloading long-cherished works, in some cases masterpieces, offering the general public a chance to see art previously off-limits. Among the highlights is a 1930 oil-on-canvas titled Dama Sofisticada (Sophisticated Dame), created with rough, slashing strokes by the late Mexican muralist Orozco. Also on view is a handful of Lam paintings, including an unusual early gouache-on-cardboard from 1942.

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