Visions of a collapsed utopia and self-doubting ceramic figurines flatter each other at the Frost Art Museum, where two Florida International University profs, Jacek J. Kolasinski and Kathy Dambach, present complementary solo shows: "After History" and "DEMONS nurture/nature."
Kolasinski, who grew up behind the Iron Curtain in Krakow, Poland, and moved to Miami in the early '90s, was inspired by Francis Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man, a weighty tome speculating about whether humanity has reached its evolutionary endpoint. "I've created this dystopian scene of a society in decay," says Kolasinski of the sprawling piece.
His installation features tiny toy planes and zeppelins buzzing over the skeletal remains of high rises and ghostly ruins in the wake of some unknown cataclysm. "I visited Cuba this past March," Kolasinski explains. "It reminded me of some of the hardships we faced back home during the Cold War. Buildings falling apart, no paint or cement and the strangeness of Red Bull vending machines next to pictures of Fidel Castro on the wrecked streets."
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Meanwhile, Dambach created 26 tiny sculptures that riff on Dostoyevsky's Demons and reference 18th-century English Staffordshire ceramic collectibles. It all amounts to a psychologically freighted exploration of social values. "This particular series of work is looking at self-doubt and how we negotiate our place within society," Dambach explains. "I'm interested in how we collect these mementos and how they mark certain periods of our lives."
Meet & Mingle with Jacek J. Kolasinski and Kathy Dambach. "After History" and "DEMONS nurture/nature." Wednesday, September 8. Frost Art Museum, 10975 SW 17th St., Miami. The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m., and it's free. Call 305-348-2890 or visit thefrost.fiu.edu.