Phat Art That Needed the Gallery Diet

At Gallery Diet during the first Wynwood arts walk of the season, Nina Johnson agreed the turnout was impressive despite the early downpour. "Once the rain stopped, we got packed, and I was happy to see that even the museum people — like MAM director Terence Riley and Bonnie Clearwater from MOCA — came out to support local galleries," she observed. Johnson opened her season with "Dolos," by Chicago-based artists Dutes Miller and Stan Shellabarger, as part of her ongoing invitational series. She also featured "Steam," by Hills Snyder. Collaborating as Miller & Shellabarger, the Chicago couple performed Untitled (Pink Tube), a never-ending performance in which the artists sit across from one another in the gallery while knitting a pink tube and conversing with the public. The men, who have worked on the piece for the past six years, engaged spectators through a ritualistic performance that poignantly links the two as partners, procreators, and artists. "Dutes and Stan use a generic pink yarn to knit their tube that stretched along the length of the gallery and which the public could walk over and around during the evening," Johnson said. "It's a very touching and heartwarming collaboration they are working on as a metaphor for their relationship. The idea behind it is that they will continue doing so indefinitely until one or the other passes away or can no longer continue while the other partner unravels it when it's over." The gallery also featured Untitled Silhouette (Conjoined Various Numbers), a stunning series by Miller & Shellabarger in which the duo, wearing fanciful hats, appears outlined in Somerset black velvet. Their beards are braided together so the men appear to morph into a single entity. Snyder's "Steam" was presented inside a black-painted room where ambient sounds such as people murmuring and wind blowing was piped in. The artist affixed a montage of what appeared to be fragmented puzzle pieces scattered across the floors and walls. The Plexiglas forms were covered with photos of an azure sky and billowing clouds, adding a Chicken Little effect.
Wed., Sept. 16, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wed., Oct. 7, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., 2009


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