Miami Artist JeanPaul Mallozzi's Debut Solo Show Draws a High-Profile Crowd

Last Saturday, during arguably the slowest art walk of the year, one local artist managed to draw a big crowd. 101/Exhibit presented "kn0b0dy," the first solo show by emerging Miami artist JeanPaul Mallozzi. The show, comprised primarily of a series of mixed media pieces with two oil paintings, was a success -- and not just by summer standards.

"The amount of people that came made me so happy," says Mallozzi, "The staff at 101/Exhibit told me they were shocked at the amount of people who came for the opening. They said in the month of August this rarely happens. I can't stop thanking everyone for coming out that night."

Renowned Miami art collector Martin Margulies, MOCA executive director and chief curator Bonnie Clearwater, and Bakehouse Art Complex associate director of exhibitions Ananda DeMello were all in attendance to see Mallozzi's work. Those who know him seem to respond to his positive energy, as evidenced by the fact that fellow Michael Margulies Artist Agency artists Ruben Ubiera and Kiki Valdes were there, as well as Bakehouse's resident artists Gerry Stecca, Olivier Casse, Steve Burzynski, and Carrie Sieh. (Sieh actually posed for many of the pieces.)

Mallozzi's work is a unique combination of technical sophistication and an element of whimsy. Most of the show's works are in Mallozzi's signature style of extremely detailed graphite renderings and with one or two elements done in a blast of color, typically the eyes or entire head which Mallozzi refers to as "keyholes." The juxtaposition of the two diametrically opposed concepts (the painstakingly detailed black and white illustrations and the fantastical, abstract bursts of color) come together magically in many of Mallozzi's pieces.

While many of the works' styles were fairly consistent, their subject matters varied widely, ranging from portraits of the artist's parents, to "Spring Never Falls," the show's largest piece, a depiction of three ugly duckling riding girls bullying a fourth girl who is perched atop a swan. A fresh take on a familiar tale, seen through Mallozzi's very specific eye.

"Spring Never Falls" was inspired by my sisters," explains Mallozzi, "I remember sometimes they would come home one day very upset after coming back from school after this girl would tease them for random reasons."

The big hit of the night, though, was "Lie With Me," one of the show's oil paintings. While a marked departure from the majority of the works on display, it was still unmistakably Mallozzi, hinting at the varied possibilities that lay before this young Miami artist.

"kn0b0dy" at 101/Exhibit, 101 NE 40th Street, will be open by appointment until the end of August, but the show is expected to be extended into part of September when the gallery resumes regular hours Tuesday - Saturday 11 am to 7 p.m. For August appointments, call 305-573-2101.

--Robert Dempster

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Miami New Times staff