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January Second Saturday Art Walk Guide: A Feeble Economy, Gunpowder Sculptures and the Hysterical Sublime

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Want to figure out what's addling the collective unconscious? No need to consult a shrink. Just head to Wynwood this weekend for the first Art Walk of the year.

Beginning at 6 p.m. this Saturday, several psychologically freighted new exhibits will riff on unnerving themes. Offerings will explore everything from the anxiety caused by a feeble economy to the harshness of living in contemporary society to notions of the hysterical and sublime.

You can also catch a whiff of the angst-ridden orchestrations of the GOP's top power-grabbers at a pair of shows mining notions of mass manipulation or Cold War annihilation. As the election season heats up, both these exhibits offer a timely reminder of how ultimately it's the public that gets burned by a scorched-earth approach to political campaigning.

Here are our picks for this month's edition of the Second Saturday arts crawl.

​Show Me The Money
Rubem Robierb crumples cash to create a sort of inkblot test that evokes thoughts of a weary public struggling to make ends meet in an economy gone mad.The Brazilian artist crushed bills and photographed them against stark black backgrounds to create images that skew perception while inviting reflection on the influence of institutional power and the plight of the powerless. Use of ambiguous designs is an idea that goes back to artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli. In 1921, Hermann Rorschach, a Swiss Freudian psychiatrist, invented his famous test based on inkblots designed to reflect subconscious parts of an individual's personality. But Robierb appears to be more engaged in a critique of our economic condition than experimenting with what makes people tick.

Curator's Voice Art Projects (2509 NW Second Ave., Miami) Call 786-378-6381 or visit curatorsvoiceartprojects.com.

​Speed of Life
Mauricio Gonzalez agitates the senses with a challenging exhibit delving into the chaos and harshness of contemporary society. His show features an imposing suite of sculptures created from discarded materials that are difficult to pigeonhole. Gonzalez's works appear to have been created in a slapdash fashion; they are the artist's spontaneous response to the unpredictable nature of his environment. Some bring to mind the fragmented armatures of skyscrapers left unfinished following Florida's building bust. At times seeming to teeter between structural balance and imminent implosion, his work speaks to the precarious state of our landscape and the jarring reality of the foreclosure calamity.

Fredric Snitzer Gallery (2247 NW First Pl., Miami) Call 305-448-8976 or visit snitzer.com.

​Hysterical. Sublime.
Richard Höglund's third appearance at Gallery Diet features photography, works on paper, and video, and represents his ongoing research into the nature of the sublime. Those who have encountered his work at Diet in the past might remember the parsing of Benedict de Spinoza's Ethics in a series of conceptual translations recording human labor. But Diet's press announcement seems to indicate that Höglund might have switched from the cerebral to the visceral: "No longer a notion limited to the grandiose natural experience, the pain-pleasure paradox of the sublime is found within the fissures that compromise our constructed quotidians." It suffices to say that whatever this artist is up to, it's unlike anything he has offered before -- and it's likely to inspire deep thought and amusement.

Gallery Diet (174 NW 23rd St., Miami). Call 305-571-2288 or visit gallerydiet.com.

This Is Not Taxidermy
Enrique Gomez De Molina tinkers with Mother Nature with the zest of a mad scientist. His exhibition boasts a bizarre flock of pigeons -- created from mixed media, leather, ermine and spotted skunk pelts, and rooster and ostrich feathers -- and a mutant menagerie of other creatures that both tantalize and repulse. De Molina, whose ingenious creations raise questions regarding a host of ethical and environmental issues, are both dramatic and whimsical yet pack the power to induce viewers to rethink their relationship with reality while instigating wonder.

Bernice Steinbaum Gallery (3550 N. Miami Ave., Miami) Call 305-573-2700 or visit bernicesteinbaumgallery.com.

Victor Sydorenko's provocative solo features large-scale paintings of male figures stripped down to their pants and floating off into the ether as reminders that those living in totalitarian societies should maintain level-minded or risk becoming the puppets of the powerful.

Black Square Gallery (2248 NW 1st Place, Miami). Call 305-424-5002 or visit blacksquaregallery.com.

Black Sculpture
Fernando Mastrangelo sears the peepers with his solo presenting a series of explosive works rendered from compacted gunpowder.The New York-based artist, known for once creating a life-size statue of a Colombian coca farmer cast from pure cocaine, was inspired by the post-WWII work of Frank Stella and Ad Reinhardt to create pieces conveying notions of impending extinction.

Charest-Weinberg Gallery (250 NW 23rd Street #408) Call 305-292-0411 or visit charestweinberg.com.

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