By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
IV = 369 (Luna)
Through October 17. Kevin Bruk Gallery, 2249 NW First Pl., Miami; 305-576-2000; kevinbrukgallery.com. Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday noon to 5 p.m.
Jesse Bransford's stellar solo show at the Kevin Bruk Gallery will likely leave spectators howling like loons at the Earth's closest celestial orb. "IV = 369 (Luna)" marks the fourth exhibition in a series Bransford began in 2005 revolving around the planets. He conjures an evocative universe of star maps, hermetic diagrams, talismanic sigils, numerology, the kabbalah, and occult Renaissance traditions. His cryptic take on the moon might well eclipse his equally beguiling ode to the sun, which appeared at the Bruk gallery in 2005. One thing is certain: The artist's mastery of hermetic symbolism and daring interplay of things mystical is a sight to behold. In the project room, Juliet Jacobsen's installation, Earnest Corpse, riffs on a technique invented by the surrealists based on an old parlor game called "consequences." Players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold it to conceal the writing, and then pass it to the next player for further contribution. For her first appearance at the gallery, the New York-based artist has erected a trio of tree trunks whose stalks are crowned with wisps of baby's breath. The ephemeral sculptures, which look like cattails springing from a marsh, convey a sense the artist wants viewers to feel as if they have been transported to a natural setting.
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 features 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. An exotic bird plucks berries off a bush, dropping the ripe red fruit on the unsuspecting women. 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.
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 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. 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.
Palley Pavilion for Contemporary Glass and Studio Arts
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.