The Art of Painting: Malcolm Morley's exhibit at MoCA features more than 30 large works dating from the Sixties. The twists and turns of the artist's formative years pepper his paintings. Born in England in 1931, Morley ran away from home at the age of fifteen and later served a two-year stretch in London's infamous Wormwood Scrubs prison. In 1984 Morley was the first recipient of the prestigious Turner Prize for British artists, twisting the adage that crime doesn't pay. Marking a return to his superrealist works of the Sixties, his most recent canvases dynamically portray athletes in action. Perhaps the most stunning painting in this exhibit is Death of Dale Earnhardt, which dramatically depicts the demise of the legendary NASCAR champion. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through April 16. MoCA, 770 NE 125 St., North Miami; 305-893-6211, www.mocanomi.org.
Borrowed World: Peruvian pollenatrix Cecilia Paredes seduces the senses with this stunning show. The artist deftly cavorts across the boundaries between man and nature with poetic elegance and a fertile imagination. The exhibit is split into two distinct viewing spaces, with sculptural works on one side and Paredes's performance photo pieces on the other. One of the more interesting Cibachrome prints, Gnome, depicts the nude artist in a vibrantly hued emerald forest clearing. Her body, painted white, sprouts a pair of black-and-white wings. She squats under a tree covered in thick, ropey vines as sunlight filters like tiny needles through a dense canopy of leaves. One might swear the artist has entered a mythical realm and is just a twig-snap away from taking flight. It seems that in the deepest recesses of her mind, Paredes is navigating toward a space for reinvention, for liberating clarity, for disappearance; toward a place where she can magically change her world. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through May 8. Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts, 2043 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-574-1804, www.dlfinearts.com.
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Eleventh Hour: Brian Reedy farcically hashes out the end of the world as we know it in his new body of work where man, nature, and technology collide calamitously in the aftermath of a warped cataclysmic spasm. The drawings, paintings, and woodcuts in this exhibit project the sense that damnation is around the corner and that an ungodly disaster might be crashing the party. Combining science fiction, pop comics, fantasy, and a feverish imagination, Reedy engages in bizarre visual high jinks that give pause in a climate where war, terrorism, economic uncertainty, and famine fray the nerves of contemporary consciousness. A deeper immersion into Reedy's postapocalyptic world conveys visions of lethal mutations, biodegradation, overpopulation, financial collapse, foreign invasion, and technological implosion. The scenes they depict play out like low-rent cousins of outtakes from campy low-budget movies or the occasional Hollywood blockbuster. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through April 1. Dorsch Gallery, 151 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-576-1278, www.dorschgallery.com.
Natalia Benedetti: Luminosity: This exhibit marks the artist's first solo museum show and comprises two videos on continuous loops projected onto nine-by-twelve-foot screens. One work depicts Benedetti skydiving; the other is a fluid study of sunlight as it ripples across the surface of a lake. Both videos are shown together, which creates an engulfing experience enhanced by a soundtrack of rushing wind. Sublimely thrilling, the sensory-seducing sounds and vast expanse of sun-dappled water on one screen next to the gorgeous blue sky and shimmering coastline on the other transport the spectator to a space somewhere between Heaven and Earth. This exhibit trumpets that Benedetti has parachuted into her first solo museum show with head-turning aplomb. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through June 4. MoCA at Goldman Warehouse, 404 NW 26th St., Miami; 305-893-6211, www.mocanomi.org.
Current Art Shows
Paris, Barcelona, and Miami: This exhibit at David Castillo's recently opened, eponymously named gallery features a handful of works by the Cuban vanguard generation, anchored by an unusual piece from modern master Wifredo Lam that has never before been publicly displayed. Eschewing the sardines-in-a-can approach of shoehorning dozens of paintings into a catchall exhibit, Castillo has elegantly displayed nine works in the main gallery. Completing the second part of the show in an adjacent room is contemporary Cuban artist Quisqueya Henríquez's multidisciplinary installation Intertextualidad. Trs Niñas (Three Girls), painted by Fidelio Ponce de León in 1937, is among the show's more arresting pieces. The work teeters between the genuinely ugly and seductively compelling and lingers on the senses with mystical undertones. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through March 31. David Castillo Modern and Contemporary Art, 2234 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-573-8110, www.castilloart.com.
Vik Muniz: Reflex: On a recent Friday afternoon, squadrons of turkey buzzards circled the Claude Pepper Federal Building while a skywriting plane created childlike pictures of clouds in the pristine blue sky. The ephemeral work, Cloud Cloud, was part of Muniz's latest exhibit, which features more than 100 large-scale photographs the Brazilian artist created from a stupefying grab bag of materials. Since 1988, the artist has reconstructed well-known images from history, the media, and popular culture using dirt, sugar, chocolate syrup, diamonds, junk, string, and ketchup. It's not every day that one stumbles across B-movie monsters made from caviar. Most effective are his poignant works rendered in sugar that depict the children of sugar-cane plantation workers. The pieces are exquisite and convey the artist's haunting sense of sorrow and unease at the specter of hopelessness with which these children exist. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through May 28. Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000, www.miamiartmuseum.org.