Painting. Painting. Painting. 2015's opening edition of the Wynwood Art Walk doles out an irresistible excuse for lovers of the medium to explore plenty of shows devoted to painting in all its forms.
Beginning at 5 p.m. you can catch the works of two young Cuban painters visiting from the island at the Mindy Solomon Gallery to the hyper realist drawings and paintings of Ashley Oubré at the Robert Fontaine Gallery and even a riotously diverse approach to the genre by a group of New York artists at Fredric Snitzer Gallery on the northern fringes of Downtown in what marks the space's return to Second Saturdays after it decamped from Wynwood last year.
At Pan American Art Projects you'll discover a pair of new exhibitions showcasing abstraction, one by a Cuban artist who examines racism in his homeland and the other a group show boasting international names.
Also on tap is the return of a conceptual prankster to Gallery Diet whose humorous works alone demands a visit.
Here's our lineup for what not to miss during this year's inaugural art crawl.
Binary // Binario
This exhibit, curated by Miami artist, Rafael Domench, features the work of visiting Cuban artists, Jose Manuel Mesias and Ernesto Garcia Sanchez. It provides a "dichotomous perspective on the medium of painting and how it plays into social visions of spatial perspective, life, and memory," Mindy Solomon explained. The Wynwood dealer said she is eager to see how President Obama's recent lifting of restrictions with Cuba will result in "greater cultural exchange," and that both young artists represent the emerging talent of Havana's contemporary scene while bringing a viewpoint that "both embraces and transcends Cuban culture," to her eponymous space. Mesias employs his environment as a source for both concept and material to create works deeply rooted in Cuba's evolution. Sanchez tackles painting from a subtractive point of view and typically deconstructs his compositions thus inviting viewers to consider the conceptual interplay between the color field and negative space. Mindy Solomon Gallery, 172 NW 24th St., Miami. 786-953-6917, mindysolomon.com.
Emotion in Motion
This attention-commanding solo exhibition features a collection of hyper realistic drawings and paintings by self-taught artist, Ashley Oubré, whose works often focus on the hardships of human experience. A naturally gifted draftsman, the 30-year-old first began drawing in her early twenties. She is attracted to human subjects who are "socially damaged" in some way. Her work is often confused with photography at first glance. "I had a woman come in Thursday night who thought the artist was trying to pull a fast one on her," said dealer Robert Fontaine. "It wasn't until I pulled out a magnifying glass to show her Ashley's delicate brushwork that the lady became convinced. I have never seen anything like it," Fontaine added. Robert Fontaine Gallery, 2349 NW Second Ave., Miami. 305-397-8530, robertfontainegallery.com.
When Wynwood pioneer Fredric Snitzer moved from the neighborhood last fall he cited the lunacy of Second Saturdays as one of his primary motives. But for this year's first edition of the wildly popular art walk the greybeard dealer's gallery is hoping to party like it was 2003 and attract art crawlers to his space. Ostensibly that's because he couldn't lure enough eyeballs during Miami Art Week when the show first opened. This is your last chance to catch "Panting," a group offering organized by rising curator, John Connelly, who presents this Chelsea gang of emerging names who explore contemporary approaches to traditional painting in unexpected fashion. The exhibit features work by Gina Beavers, Aaron Bobrow, Van Hanos, Sadie Laska, Dean Levin, Jeff Tranchell, and Jeff Zilm. The title, the word "painting" without an "I", is intended as a commentary on famously fabled prognosis that the medium is dead. Some of the artists deliver works that eschew the use of paint while others hew to traditional forms, embracing figurative imagery and the essentials of painting while acknowledging its limitations. Fredric Snitzer Gallery, 1540 NE Miami Ct., Miami. 305-448-8976, snitzer.com.
Roberto Diago and Abstraction
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Pan American is staging a pair of exhibits that explore different approaches to abstraction. First, a solo by Cuba's Roberto Diago. Second, a group offering that features the works by Luis Cruz Azaceta, Ricardo Brey, Agustín Cárdenas, Hugo Consuegra, León Ferrari, Guido Llinás, Raúl Martínez, Raúl Milián, Larry Poons, Ernesto Gonzalez Puig, Frank Stella, Mark Tobey and Antonio Vidal. Diago, who lives and works in Havana, is known for using found materials scavenged from old homes to critique racism in his homeland. Later he began creating monochrome works that are highly textured and part of a series depicting keloids, "the black skin scarification process", that are currently on display at Pan Am. Pan American Art Projects, 2450 NW Second Ave., Miami. 305-573-2400, panamericanart.com.
Few artists manage to capture the zeitgeist of Second Saturday's as Charley Friedman does. He marks his third solo at Gallery Diet with his characteristic prankster's aplomb. The New York-based artist seeks out commonalities between cultural, intellectual and religious divides through humor in his mixed media mashups that linger on the mind long after one leaves his shows. "The themes in my new body of work reflect my preoccupations with how individuals, nations and cultures form and transmit ideas and values," Friedman observed, adding that his exhibit also delves into "How we perceive each other and ourselves and how we invent systems to categorize our own egocentric worldview." On view expect to encounter work mining Pop and Minimalism with a dash of Consumerism. Gallery Diet, 174 NW 23rd St., Miami. 305-571-2288, gallerydiet.com.