Art Opening: Brickell Woman Paints with Menstrual Blood

Think of Jackson Pollock standing above a blank canvas, holding a jar of paint. Then wave a wand and turn him into a giggly half-Filipino gal from Miami. Her name is Lani and she has big eyes and exceptionally pink cheeks. Can you picture her? She's pretty, right? OK, now for the trippy part: Substitute Pollock's paint for thick red blood -- Lani's own freaking menstrual blood.

It sounds like a scene from House of 1,000 Corpses, but it's what a lot of Lani Beloso's art looks like. Before you run for the barf bag, consider the Brickell-based painter's reason for the somewhat gnarly medium. Ever since puberty, Beloso has had a disorder called menorrhagia. The condition causes long and painful periods. (Imagine Andre the Giant scraping your innards out with a spoon.) Beloso bleeds four times as much as the average woman and is sick three days per month. "Through life, I haven't been able to talk about it," she says. "So this is disclosure: I'm turning my pain into art."

Sure, you could argue her work is a tad narcissistic. ("I want some empathy for what I go through!" she declares.) But also she deserves credit. This isn't some sailboat-on-the-wall collection that folks will soon forget. Her show -- appropriately titled "The Period Piece" -- opens October 10 at GAB Studio (105 NW 23rd St., Miami). It seeks to make something useful out of "a painful, useless burden."

Beloso worked as a model during college and now has a license in nuclear medicine. She's also a photographer.

When it comes to making her art, the logistics make Riptide blush. But it suffices to say that one piece was made while she squatted over a canvas for 12 hours. For another, she stored blood in the freezer. To change a painting's colors and textures, she sometimes dries it in the sun. And afterward, she puts a layer of gloss over the piece.

Whether you love it or hate it, Beloso explains, "It always gets a reaction."

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