Stand before one of José Bedia’s enigmatic paintings and you can almost hear the ancestors beating on the resurrection drums centuries ago. “José Bedia’s work has a distinct anthropological quality and is imbued with his rich experience of diverse cultures, religions, and histories,” says Tobias Ostrander, chief curator at Miami Art Museum (101 W. Flagler St., Miami). “It expresses the connections between the physical and spiritual worlds, natural and manmade, as well as rituals created across time, region, and culture in a deeply personal yet openly accessible manner that draws the viewer into his world.” Bedia, who was initiated into the mysteries of the Afro-Cuban religion Palo Monte in the early ’80s, often includes ritual artifacts such as a nganga (cauldron) in his works. Other pieces feature iconic ghostly figures and animals inspired by Native American and African spiritual traditions. During the past three decades, Bedia has crisscrossed the globe, from the North American plains to the Central African savanna, the Amazonian rain forest, and Mexican desert. The results are on view in “Transcultural Pilgrim: Three Decades of Work by José Bedia,” featuring 35 artworks including large-scale figurative paintings, installations, and drawings at the Miami Art Museum marking a major career retrospective of the local artist’s oeuvre and the first exhibition to examine his complex iconography.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: May 24. Continues through Sept. 2, 2012