There's no space more infuriating for the local South Floridian than the driver's seat of a car, on a hot summer day, while stuck in traffic on I-95, the Palmetto, or MacArthur. Sealed off in separate air conditioned vehicles, transportation in car-centered cities has a detached feeling. Unlike pedestrian friendly towns, where people frequently bump into each other, Miamians are removed from the social energy of the bustling street corner.
Chicago-born, and Argentinian-raised, artist Marina Gonella delves into the haunting mix of familiarity and estrangement induced in every driver through her collages and transpositions. Her work is currently on display at O Cinema Wynwood in the aptly titled exhibition, "Going Home." The show is a collaboration between the independent theater chain and ArtCenter South Florida.
For over 12 years Gonella has made Miami her creative home. As an ArtCenter alum, she now holds a studio at Laundromat Art Space were she continues to produce work inextricably tied to the densely populated suburban sprawl that characterizes much of South Florida's neighborhoods.
"What I realized after I started commuting from my house to my studio in Miami, is that there were a lot of places that I had never got the chance to experience by walking but still visualized, and incorporated those places as ones that I know," Gonella says.
Named mostly after the traffic signs photographed in the various pieces, the works in "Going Home" are about highlighting non-spaces. These stretches of highways, overpasses, and off ramps are in-between the typical plots artists are used to featuring in their work, yet they're imbued in all of our collective consciousness.
The spaces are also not specific to one geographical location. Their universality reinforces the routine turned modern-day ritual drivers make on trips around town. These transient terrains carry a fair amount of heft as not just apart for the indigenous aesthetic, but reflective of the loneliness of contemporary life.
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Through her medium Gonella seizes photographic representation as a plastic form– one that can be manipulated as easily as a brush stroke. The mixed medium blends journalistic objectivity, similar in vein to Andy Warhol's work cataloging car crashes (e.g. Orange Car Crash Fourteen Times, 1963) with a color field sense for hues and tones. The result is a photomontage that is erie and sinister, but also familiar to those that make regular commutes traversing South Florida's main arteries.
"What I like about working with collages is that it’s like painting with papers but with the freedom to mix, arrange and rearrange as many times as I want," said the artist of her process. "I can achieve abstract backgrounds that are rich in texture and color."
"Going Home" is on display at O Cinema Wynwood, 90 NW 29th St., Miami, through August 2, when a closing reception and brunch will be held at 11:30 a.m. For more information regarding times visit o-cinema.org or call 305-571-9970.