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Kiki Valdes' "The Outsiders": Art For the Anti-Basel Crowd

Kiki Valdes with a work in progress
Kiki Valdes with a work in progress
Photo by Robert Dempster

You can't say you didn't see it coming. With the growth of Miami's arts scene have come trepidations about the effect of our creative community's largess on the artists and the work within it. There's been a backlash brewing for awhile now, and Kiki Valdes' "The Outsiders" exhibit, opening Saturday, might just be the beginning.

Set in a remote warehouse, and held outside of any organized art event, "The Outsiders" all but dares you to ignore it. This, of course, is all by design. Valdes always wanted to do an exhibit at a warehouse, he says, and this location, off the beaten Wynwood/Design District path (one side is bordered by railroad tracks) seemed to be the right space for "The Outsiders" -- a show intentionally held outside of Art Basel Miami Beach, any organized art walk, and even outside of a traditional gallery space. In selecting the artists he would invite to participate, Valdes deliberately refused to confine himself to a preconceived theme or concept for the show, opting instead to select artists with whom he feels a certain kinship. The result: a show "celebrating the bravery of the creative outsider."

A work in progress by Kiki Valdes
A work in progress by Kiki Valdes
Photo by Heike Wollenweber

"I picked "The Outsiders" because all the artists in the show do

not necessarily show all the time," Valdes explains. "They do their

thing. A lot of times, artists tend to feel like outsiders because they

might not follow a particular trend, so automatically they are like

outsiders. They might not care about what's 'in.' I do not think that's

how art should be measured. It should be measured by its merit, its

devotion, and its time and sincerity. When you are sincere, you tend to

be an outsider, too."

Valdes himself produced 10 paintings for "The Outsiders":

one in the style of expressionism mixed with cartoon elements, and nine

paintings based on nine Miami women who affected his life, each based

on one of the nine Greek muses. "I did the portraits off my memory, so

they are really abstract," Valdes says. "The muses and the mythologies

were carried on verbally and through memory, so that's how I went about

it when I did the work."

The other "outsiders" in the exhibit

are a diverse group. Eric Torriente's contribution is a  nine-foot-tall

sculpture entitled "Aphrodisian." The mixed media piece, according to

the artist, "consists of a central male character surrounded by

seductive females. The universally themed sculpture depicts the male

character fantasizing and lusting for a variety of women while his wife

or partner sits alone in the back of the sculpture reading ambiguous

letters."

Kiki Valdes
Kiki Valdes
Photo by Robert Dempster

Not surprisingly, thinking outside of the box is a common characteristic of the artists Valdes has chosen for "The Outsiders".

David Marsh incorporates unconventional materials such as old jerseys

in his paintings. Miami artist Nicole Soden will exhibit a sculpture

that was voted "Best Female Sculpture" at the Nada Art Fair, while a

photograph of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Madonna taken by Soden's close

friend Dianne Radler represents the many iconic images Dianne took in

her career prior to her suicide.

Edward Crowell II, whom Valdes

calls "the quintessential outsider" because "he is not from Miami and

does not know a lot of people," will show pieces from his "Romantic Ramblings"

series, "focusing on text/poetry as visual art while being very

disconnected from an absolute visual understanding," Crowell explains.

"It's completely up to the viewers' senses to chose whether or not they

want to see the lines and shapes of the words, or they want to actually

try and read the poems within the paintings."

"The Outsiders" also

includes George Sanchez-Calderon's "A Painting and a Rolling-wall

Become an Altar." "Sometimes a painting on a wall is just that, a

painting on a wall," Sanchez-Calderon explains. "Sometimes a

rolling-wall is built to support and display paintings. In this case,

the rolling wall is open on one of three sides, allowing it to serve as a

sculptural element. This allows the wall to serve other functions, in

this case as an altar."

If you are not scared to step off the beaten path, come out to the wrong side of the tracks Friday night to see "The Outsiders." The show takes place at Ironside Warehouse, 7630 NE 4th Ct., and runs Jan. 7-14.

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Ironside Warehouse

7630 NE 4th Court
Miami, FL 33138

786-315-8369


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