For most Wynwood galleries, August's Second Saturday Art Walk brings all the excitement of a Marlins home game. During the sweltering dog days of summer, many larger spaces shutter their doors for vacation while preparing for the upcoming high season. Those who do open for the art crawl often feature hold-over exhibits.
But for some, such as Black Square Gallery director Anna Milashevych, the hottest month of the year is the perfect time to rise above the noise and introduce audiences to exciting new talent.
"Yes, summer is traditionally a slow time for the galleries," says Milashevych. "[But] I can say there are still many collectors and tourists coming to Miami," adds the Ukrainian dealer who finds August the perfect month to explore unusual media.
And she is not alone. Here are our picks for what not to miss during this weekend's rollicking arts bash, offering something unexpected for everyone beginning at 6 p.m. this Saturday.
Black Square Gallery's traditional summer group shindig features the work of Ukrainian Alexiy Say, Argentina's Camilo Guinot, and Spain's Carlos Zerpabzueta, each of whom create unusual pieces that combine mundane objects and small elements to startling effect. For instance, Say builds his pieces using the world's most boring office software, creating one-of-a-kind digital paintings of landscapes and flower fields using Excel spreadsheets as his medium. Born in Kiev in 1975 and trained as a graphic artist at the Ukraine's National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture, Say began his project as a protest of the corporate world after working as a wage slave at an advertising agency while in art school.
Zerpabzueta, who is making his debut at Black Square, also creates perception-tweaking pieces that riff on digital and social media. From a distance, they appear to transform before visitors' eyes. His 3-D installations of little pieces of plastic attached to each other are freighted with signs, codes, or letters printed or hand-painted on them and often also represent the digital world the artist mentions.
But for our money, the most appealing draw at Black Square might be the work of Argentina's Guinot, who is also making his gallery debut. The 42-year-old artist creates sensory-challenging mixed-media installations using wooden matches that Guinot says can be seen as symbolic of the human condition.
Black Square Gallery, 2248 NW First Pl., Miami. Call 305-424-5002 or visit blacksquaregallery.com.
A compulsive fixation on an idea can lead some people to the asylum, but for the folks over at Now Contemporary Art in Wynwood the neurotic impulse is the fodder for an exhibit showcasing the banal nature of everyday living. Now Contemporary weighs in on the issue with a group show featuring the work of Colin Sherrell, Todd Pavlisko, Augusto Esquivel, Federico Uribe, and Magdalena Murua, all of whom explore the shelf life and transformation of mundane objects in schizzy art works. On view you'll discover Pavlisko's intricately detailed pieces employing retail fasteners while Uribe transports visitors to sensory inciting rainbow landscapes elaborately rendered with architectural layers of color pencils.
Don't miss Esquivel's "Never Upon a Time," installation where the artist unfolds the story of man's maniacal conquest to conquer the heavens after realizing the sky was no longer the limit.
Now Contemporary, 175 NW 25th St., Miami. Call 305-571-8181 or visit nowcontemporaryart.com.
The World Is Yours
Franky Cruz's art career nearly derailed three years ago, when he let a local tattoo and piercing artist known as Pinhead hang him from the ceiling of his studio.
In this show, Cruz references many of his past experiences, including the quest for a mystical awakening that got him booted off the New World reservation when school administrators got wind of his antics. His solo debut features objects found in Hialeah and Little Havana trash bins, including an iconic Tony Montana poster from which Cruz's exhibit takes its name. There's also a dilapidated red vinyl armchair and several large plasma TV screens featuring video coupled with music from the Beatles and Led Zeppelin.
Cruz's videos directly reference his Pinhead piercing escapade. Filmed in his Hialeah kitchen using a camera placed atop a turntable, they suggest the view one might see if spinning while suspended by a wire. Another short film is screened on a large monitor that dangles overhead, re-creating the idea of Cruz soaring from the rafters. A hoodie obfuscates his face as he bobs in and out of the camera shot under his studio's yellowing popcorn ceiling. Not unlike the Icarus legend ― an idea echoed in real life by his New World School of the Arts suspension from his studio ― the Tony Montana reference alludes to hubris. The broken furniture and plants bursting through the gallery concrete are commentary on nature reclaiming what man builds.
Spinello Projects, 2930 NW Seventh Ave., Miami. Call 786-271-4223 or visit spinelloprojects.com.
In this atypical summer solo show, Maria Sultan employs recollections of growing up in Gotham City in lyrically abstract mixed media works on paper that reflect the vagaries of life in the concrete jungle. On view you'll discover paintings that capture everything from the energy and buzz of the tenement where Sultan spent her early childhood years to the jazz soundtrack that carried her into marriage and family. Her work seeks to convey the antithises of the mundane to offer a glimpse of life's twists and turns of a poetic nature.
Alberto Linero Gallery, 2294 NW Second Ave., Miami. Call 786-286-7355 or visit albertolinerogallery.com.
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Think of forgotten Florida, and those old mementos discovered in grandma's attic -- like a Weeki Wachee mermaid photo or a carved coconut head -- likely come to mind. But in this two-person exhibit featuring the work of Miami artists Dogan Arslanoglu and Johnny Laderer, fading memories of the Sunshine State are the thematic engine fueling the show. Don't expect to find a flamingo figurine or an alligator ashtray here. Instead, Arslanoglu's photography and Laderer's sculpture function as conceptual souvenirs, marking a personal experience while articulating a nostalgia for Florida as it once was, as it can be, and as it is for the outsider.
David Castillo Gallery, 2234 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-573-8110; davidcastillogallery.com. Opening reception 7 to 11 p.m.