If you've ever visited a museum and found yourself alone in a gallery in front of an artwork that has transported you magically to an otherworldly place then Sandra Gamarra is the rare artist who might just commune directly with your soul. The parallels between artistic and mystical experiences are what this Madrid-based Peruvian artist draws her inspiration from.
In her ongoing series of paintings titled The New Worshiper and The Apostles, Gamarra proposes that art museums are comparable to cultural cathedrals or sites for pilgrimage and worshipful contemplation. For her, observing works of art is an act of faith external to any political or philosophical ideal.
At the Bass Museum of Art "Sandra Gamarra: At the Same Time (Al Mismo Tiempo)" features an ethereal suite of the artist's canvases based on photos Gamarra has snapped of visitors looking at works of art previously at museum's galleries.
In these painting's she conjures an eerie sense of déjà vu, as if observing the observers or mirroring anonymous doppelgangers.
Gamarra is best known for instigating the fictional Lima Museum of Contemporary Art in 2002, in which she presented an imaginary collection of paintings with accompanying merchandise based on her hand-painted reproductions of works by her contemporaries.
"For the exhibition opening this Friday, Sandra Gamarra has made new paintings based on photographs she has taken of visitors looking at works of art in the Museum's galleries," says Silvia Karman Cubiñá, the museum's executive director and chief curator.
Gamarra's may leave you feeling with the sensation of being sifted through a weird, spiritual echo chamber. The artist's method of appropriation is intended to raise questions regarding issues of authenticity and the status of replicas.
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"In these paintings, the artist observes the observers, which provocatively alludes to the relationship between the maker, the work, the viewer and the point at which they meet in the museum," Cubiñá adds.
This Friday, Bass Museum of Art celebrates its monthly first-Friday happy hour event, Beats After Sunset, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Guests in attendance will be treated to a preview of "At the Same Time (al mismo tiempo)." Gamarra is scheduled to be present during the reception. Tickets cost $8.
"Sandra Gamarra: At the Same Time" through October 16 at the Bass Museum of Art 2100 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach Call 305-673-7530 or visit bassmuseum.org.