Think of Jackson Pollock standing above a blank canvas, holding a jar of paint. Then wave a wand and turn him into a giggly half-Filipino gal from Miami. Her name is Lani and she has big eyes and exceptionally pink cheeks. Can you picture her? She's pretty, right? OK, now for the trippy part: Substitute Pollock's paint for thick red blood -- Lani's own freaking menstrual blood.
It sounds like a scene from House of 1,000 Corpses, but it's what a lot of Lani Beloso's art looks like. Before you run for the barf bag, consider the Brickell-based painter's reason for the somewhat gnarly medium. Ever since puberty, Beloso has had a disorder called menorrhagia. The condition causes long and painful periods. (Imagine Andre the Giant scraping your innards out with a spoon.) Beloso bleeds four times as much as the average woman and is sick three days per month. "Through life, I haven't been able to talk about it," she says. "So this is disclosure: I'm turning my pain into art."
Sure, you could argue her work is a tad narcissistic. ("I want some empathy for what I go through!" she declares.) But also she deserves credit. This isn't some sailboat-on-the-wall collection that folks will soon forget. Her show -- appropriately titled "The Period Piece" -- opens October 10 at GAB Studio (105 NW 23rd St., Miami). It seeks to make something useful out of "a painful, useless burden."
Beloso worked as a model during college and now has a license in nuclear medicine. She's also a photographer.
When it comes to making her art, the logistics make Riptide blush. But it suffices to say that one piece was made while she squatted over a canvas for 12 hours. For another, she stored blood in the freezer. To change a painting's colors and textures, she sometimes dries it in the sun. And afterward, she puts a layer of gloss over the piece.
Whether you love it or hate it, Beloso explains, "It always gets a reaction."
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.