Tis that time of year when Basel inches ever closer and local galleries continue cracking out their skull-staving arsenals to tune up for the December arts confab.
For those who have been living under a rock, the art romp begins at 6 p.m. in Wynwood (between 22 and 29 streets along NW Second Avenue) and in the Design District (roughly 35 to 41 streets between NE Second and N. Miami avenues). Here are our picks headlining the marquee this weekend.
Zack Balber has titled his solo after the Hebrew word that means pure, unblemished, and complete. But for Balber, the word is elastic enough to reflect his notion of the "Bear Jew." Balber's photographic portraits reveal subjects at the far edges of the Jewish mainstream. At first blush, the young men in his pictures appear to be imposing figures.
Not unlike Balber, a product of the mean streets of Pittsburgh, many of his subjects were raised in gritty inner-city neighborhoods throughout the country and, like the artist, might have concealed their culture behind a gruff exterior to fit in. But here Balber cracks through the façade and captures their vulnerabilities. Fredric Snitzer Gallery (2247 NW First Pl., Miami). Call 305-448-8976 or visit snitzer.com.
It's not easy dealing with divorce. The person abandoning ship typically ends up anchored with guilt while the other drowns in rejection. But for Lamia Khorshid, an Egyptian-born local artist who teaches photography at the University of Miami, the experience led her to hole up in a Coral Gables hotel room to come to terms with the recent breakup that torpedoed her.
Her resulting suite of self portraits snapped during a contemplative sabbatical eulogizing her marriage; deliver a dexterous measure of both the introspective and universal. Curator's Voice Art Projects (2509 NW Second Avenue, Miami) Call 786-378-6381 or visit curatorsvoiceartprojects.com.
Richard Haden's hyper-realist, painted-wood sculptures of imploded fire extinguishers or crumpled truck fenders and milk jugs are instantly recognizable. He's also an avid long-distance runner. So for his new show, Haden has moved beyond carving wood to create a collaborative video with Bill Bilowit titled Entering the Republic of Misery for an exhibit that also includes sculpture and digital prints.
While training for the upcoming New York Marathon, the artist strapped a GoPro athletic camera to his head and navigated through Miami's toughest inner-city neighborhoods. There he encountered a young woman who goes by the street name "Mercedes." The video portrays Mercedes's roller-coaster life of prostitution, drugs, jail, rehab, and intuitive urban survival. Dorsch Gallery (151 NW 24th St., Miami), Call 305-576-1278 or visit dorschgallery.com.
In his first solo project since 2007, Kenton Parker transports viewers to the City of Angels' hardscrabble streets with work that swallows then vomits mainstream cultural imagery, subverted with aggressive visual and textual commentary.
With his wacky installations, films, sculpture, and wall-based works, the artist channels multiple roles, such as the vagrant, the journalist, the graphic designer, and the taco vendor. Expect to see Parker's miniature replica of his fully-functioning L.A. taco shop and a pair of stunning, mouse-sized installations nibbling at the edges of consumer vanity. Primary Projects (4141 NE Second Ave., Ste. 104, Miami). Call 954-801-3945 or visit primaryprojectspace.com.
Bhakti Baxter's highly anticipated exhibit is the locally based artist's first Miami solo show in four years and includes sculpture, painting, collage, and installation-based work. The exhibit's name is a play on the Spanish term rompe pelotas, which translates to "ball breaker."
Look for some ball-busting legerdemain from Baxter, whose exhibition aspires to "juggle the laws of gravity, density, and the malleability of mass while striking a balance between play and placement". Gallery Diet (174 NW 23rd St., Miami), Call 305-571-2288 or visit gallerydiet.com.
Wynwood pioneer Dustin Orlando's seasonally spooky group show explores the relationship between the subconscious and the occult. Expect to see a variety of works in various mediums and styles, video pieces, neon sculptures and some installations.
Orlando says that his exhibit "materializes that area of perception easily infiltrated by the subversive and the supernatural," and that it presents viewers with a commentary about "social abnormalities, myths, make believe, rituals, folklore and the like in the spirit of the Halloween holiday." Wynwood Exhibition Center @ Cafeina (297 NW 23rd Street, Miami) Call 305-438-0792 or visit neonforestgallery.com.