If art’s interpretation is truly 90% in the beholder’s eye and ten percent whatever the beholder’s been fed by the artist and/or gallerist/institution, then Locust Projects' recent opening, Roberto Gómez’s “What Happens When Nothing Happens” and Mia Feuer’s “Mesh,” had a particular resonance with this writer for a number or reasons.
The Costa Rican-born Gómez, a longtime resident of Miami, has created an interactive sculptural installation inside of Locust’s main room that is colorful, confusing, painterly and appealing to the senses with the slight acridness of industrial footprints. For his first solo exhibit, Gómez has tented the room with clotheslines draped in dried and manipulated paint drippings that resemble clothes drying in the summertime heat and are a direct jump from his work on canvas.
He has retained his labor-intensive paint drip stripping process, but has now done so with plastic sheets that have been converted to sculptural objects through revealing layers and the contortions of the paint’s drying grip on the plastic.
My first thoughts transported me immediately to South America, where I resided for roughly the first 15 years of my life and the multi-colored bang of these objects, paired with the remaining scents of the paint made for a strong, nostalgia-based impression that was followed by the following thought: “I left the Third World in order to avoid this shit.”
But Gómez knows, like anybody who has lived for an extended period of time in a developing nation, he has been shaped by these landscapes of cloth swaying in imperceptible breezes. That his paints are sourced from local chemical waste management sites adds to the work.
The Canadian-born, California resident Mia Feuer has taken the small project room and given it a three-dimensionality that reaches far beyond its confines. Blending sculpture, installation and the conceptual, Feuer has created a powerful piece that demands contemplation.
Taking the issue of climate change and rising sea levels, Feuer meshes Miami and the Gulf Coast, Calgary, and the Arctic Circle into one seemingly innocuous, 3D scanned plane of reality.
The rising sea levels is not a new piece of information nor is it as alarming an issue as it should be. One would think that with Miami and the Gulf Coast being at the very top of the list of vulnerable cities, there would be more widespread concerns voiced around town. Even recent figures by scientists putting South Florida under water at an earlier date than previously expected has done nothing to rally the masses into action.
Well, because apathy, right?
This has been alarming me, now as a resident of South Florida for some time... why continue putting roots down here if this whole damn town’s going under? Feuer manages to inflict the violence of this natural process (which we as a species have undoubtedly sped up) into a hanging sculpture of concrete and Styrofoam activated by sound recordings of glaciers melting and calving in the Arctic Circle. These sounds cause an indigo blue aniline dye to drip unto a salt model of vanishing Louisiana coastline.
These are real-time sounds previously recorded but the impact of seeing the drips’ steady and unflinching pace brings home the idea of climate change and humanity’s eternal quest to destroy the planet closer to home that I believe Feuer might have originally intended. This particular dye was one of the first substances to be synthetically produced through an industrial process and it is a perfect strengthening point to neighbor Gómez’s work.
Locust has, for this show with two independent voices sharing one roof, experimented in a kind of symbiosis.
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Gómez’s work is a socio-economic and cultural reflection of how much the ethnic and racial construct of South Florida has changed in the past decades, an ever in flux tide of humanity forced to deal with one another; often with varying degrees of outcomes but always in a manner that is endemic and colorful to South Florida.
Feuer forces the South Floridian (new and old) to take stock in their neighborhoods, to take responsibility for our coastlines and the future of this town. She challenges the question of roots while Gómez shows the familiar tones of the quotidian. These are indeed two, wildly different voices but this exhibit is one and it begs to be heard – first through the agitprop of immersion and then by the vacuum drip of the tides rising to wash your clothes away.
The question now is, what are we going to do about it? What am I going to do about it?
Roberto Gómez’s “What Happens When Nothing Happens” (Main Room) and Mia Feuer’s “Mesh” (Project Room) on view through June 13 at Locust Projects, 3852 N. Miami AVE, Miami. Call 305.576.8570 or visit locustprojects.org.