Miami art this week: alien life forms, Summer of Love, and a gallon of human sweat


Through March 5 at Fredric Snitzer Gallery, 2247 NW First Pl., Miami; 305-448-8976; Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Loriel Beltran's artwork focuses as much on the toil involved in producing it as it does on the finished product. The young artist is known for forcing viewers to consider the sweat equity behind his production. For "FALSEwork," his second solo show at Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Beltran is exhibiting more than a dozen arresting new works in a broad range of mediums, primarily sculptures crafted from wood and natural materials associated with manual labor. The work on view is intended to convey a notion of the invisible work performed by artists when rendering an idea into tangible form. To drive this point home, Beltran is also exhibiting a gallon of his own sweat produced while executing some of the works on display. Beltran adroitly forces one to recognize that at the end of the day, artists, like your average blue-collar Joe six-pack, have to earn a living, and that's no mean feat.

"The Changing Face of Art and Politics"

Through April 24 at Lowe Art Museum, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables; 305-384-3535; Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday noon to 4 p.m.

Curated by students and faculty of University of Miami's museum studies program, "The Changing Face of Art and Politics" culls works from Lowe's extensive collection, placing Renaissance-era prints by Hieronymus Hopfer alongside pieces by '60s pop icons such as Warhol. The exhibit — part of the ArtLab series operated jointly by UM's Department of Art and Art History and Lowe — presents a broad array of work and media that cover politically freighted themes that include war, revolution, protest, colonization, repression, equality, segregation, and religion. On view are images that gallop from the medieval combat between cavalry and infantry in Italy to full bore Southern-fried race riots and antiwar Vietnam protests during the Summer of Love. The more than thirty works on display span five centuries of political upheaval and reflect the discourse between artists, the societies they lived in, and the iniquities they wrestled against.

"Rafael Soriano: Other Worlds Within, a Sixty Year Retrospective"

Through March 27 at Lowe Art Museum, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables; 305-384-3535; Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday noon to 4 p.m.

Lowe's retrospective of the prolific career of Rafael Soriano opens with his early explorations of geometric abstraction and culminates with his mastery of a style that has been described as "oneiric luminism." Beginning in the '80s, Soriano's mature works gave flight to a singular vision, resulting in images that are drop-dead gorgeous and oscillate with an inner light that practically pulses toward the viewer from deep within the canvas. He conjures a dreamy illusion of space by applying layer after layer of thinly veiled paint to create vaporous combinations of color and membrane-like forms that suggest spiritual amoebas or ethereal alien life forms. His later paintings are rendered in a distinctive palette that hews mostly to purples, blues, violets, and earth tones and strangely remind one of livor mortis.

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Carlos Suarez De Jesus