Miami might be facing its first hurricane in a decade, but that's not stopping Locust Projects from opening up two new shows this weekend. Jedediah Caesar and Michael Namkung are both California natives fascinated with Miami's physical and cultural landscapes. Each exhibition tackles a different aspect of the South Florida mood from an outsider's perspective. Both their work takes inspiration from the immediate environment, with an eye towards the unexpected.
Michael Namkung's Flying Towards The Ground is an ode to, believe-it-or-not, ultimate Frisbee. An avid player himself, Namkung was intrigued with the idea of flight– that point just before falling where an individual experiences a rather unsettling weightlessness. His installation unpacks the emotional turmoil of flying and falling by way of sculpture.
On a sweltering afternoon, Namkung preps his work by filling Locust Project's back gallery space with a foot and a half of sand. Then he gets a running start, setting off from the parking lot before making dive, catching air for split seconds, then crashing down in the makeshift dunes. He carefully gets up, making sure to leave the impressions he made in the process intact. These will serve as casings for the plaster molds he'll set. Once dry, the will be suspended above the space to resemble cloud-like objects. '
"I was interested in playing off the idea of negative space," explains Namkung. "Taking that non-space and creating three-dimensional objects is completely new to me."
Apart from the clouds, he also plans to project a recording of his flights onto the floor, leaving behind two different records of his attempts.
Born in Oakland, California, Namkung formally came to the arts later in life, receiving his MFA from San Francisco State in 2009. For the past several years, he's been teaching art at Florida International University, where he mentors young creative talent. His current exhibition is also accompanied by a publication titled Flying Towards the Ground: A Reader on Flying and Falling, a compilation of short texts that reflect on the desire to fly and the fear of falling, from a range of perspectives.
Michael Namkung in Flying Towards The Ground
Courtesy of Locust Projects
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Jedediah Caesar's Stone Underground is inspired by Coral Castle, an architectural landmark in South-Dade, built entirely of coral rock by a Lithuanian immigrant in the early 20th century. For Caesar the building constitutes a radical turning point in the history of architecture. It was the first time the structural and figurative line between landscape and architecture was blurred, to create a dream-like edifice.
His exhibition features dyed blocks of Oolite, Florida Keystone, and Hemingway limestone extracted from a vast underground field. Their colors correspond to the US Geological Survey's
Both exhibits will be on view from August 29th to October 10, during gallery hours– 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information contact Locust Projects at , or visit their website.