Wynwood Art Walk preview

If you think making art is easy, check out the gallon of bottled sweat during a Second Saturday arts crawl this weekend that promises everything from the funky to the sublime and climaxes with photos galore.

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 (2247 NW First Pl., Miami), 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.

"The byproduct of art is no joke," observes Laura Sheridan, assistant director of the gallery.

No kidding. In case you were wondering, the human body contains close to two million sweat glands — approximately 2,500 of those are contained in the palms — and the average person produces about four cups a day during heavy activity. To fill the gallon, Beltran must have worked around the clock for a week at his steamy Little Haiti studio cranking out his show. Let's hope so, otherwise it's just plain gross to imagine him wringing out his musty drawers and T-shirts to collect the sweat on display.

Cracks aside, sculptures such as Beltran's Damaged Work 4 peel back the preciousness associated with traditional artwork. A rising, almost totemic wood structure, the work appears to have been created by scorching with an acetylene torch remnants of a wooden crate typically used to ship art.

Beltran adroitly forces one to recognize that at the end of the day, regardless of the talent creative types boast, they still have to punch a clock at the work place and bust their humps to succeed, much like a plumber, carpenter, or average blue-collar Joe Six-pack. They have to earn a living, and that's no mean feat.

If you think size doesn't matter, drop by and listen to a testimonial on the topic by the neighborhood's self-proclaimed pope of pop. Since opening his Wynwood studio-cum-gallery in June of last year, it seems Miguel Paredes has become a bit of an inch freak.

No longer satisfied with his former 1,700 square-foot space, the urban realist has beefed up his operation and is busting out new digs around the corner from his former place.

At 5,500 square-feet, this edition of Paredes Fine Arts Studio (173 NW 23rd St., Miami) is three times the size of the old space and gives the impression the artist basted his old joint with penis-extension cream. That's a whopping growth of almost 46,000 inches in just a few months. The expansion "will give my guests more room to interact with the artwork," Paredes gushes.

Paredes has earned a following combining street art, pop art, and Japanese animation in bubblegum murals and eye-candy works. He is also opening a retail boutique on site to hawk his rainbow-bright collections and sundry merchandise. The paint slinger's rise has been so rapid some feel he'll soon be poking into Romero Britto's turf.

His freshly squeezed space is massive enough to flex a Mack truck-sized special effects mural he created with Antonio Marion, who owns a Big Apple theater production company, and Jeff Vaughn, who specializes in 3D projections. Why sweat while painting murals outside in the heat when you can do it in an air-conditioned space?

Ever since a retired French army officer froze time by combining an oldfangled camera obscura with a pewter plate covered with bitumen in 1826, the world has not had to conjecture about the look of the past, and shutterbugs past and present have focused on the fleeting nature of time.

During this weekend's art crawl, several Wynwood spaces will register an unblinking eye on the art form that ushered a demarcation in the history of communication and contributed an enduring way to archive the world we live in. For those who missed Gallery I/D's (2531 NW Second Ave., Miami) sensational show last month, the space is offering its last call.

Cocurated by Brenda Ann Kenneally, "This Time in America: Part 1" showcases photographers who have trained their lenses on our nation and includes works by Kenneally herself, as well as Juliana Beasley, Nina Berman, Sean Hemmerle, Tim Hetherington, Gillian Laub, Randal Levenson, and Emily Schiffer.

Make sure to check out Hetherington's series of sleeping soldiers captured during his 15 months in the hell-hole war zone of Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. A frequent contributor to Vanity Fair, Hetherington just earned an Oscar nod for his provocative documentary Restrepo, created with Sebastian Junger.

Also on view at this seamless group show are portraits of average Americans such as destitute social outcasts, cowpokes and urbanites, and jagged-toothed barflies. There's even a searing look into the world of strippers.

Among the more compelling works is Laub's Southern Rites photo essay depicting backwoods customs still alive and well in the Peach State. Laub transports you to prom night in Georgia, where she portrays a sullen black prom queen gussied up in a pink frock and gaudy crown wearing what appears to be a homemade sash, a cell phone nesting in her lap.

If you love photojournalistic works, don't miss the final chance to catch this stellar exhibit featuring some of the best practitioners of the medium and one of the finer snap-based Wynwood lineups in a while.

Yet another photo show worth visiting is Francie Bishop Good's "Lost/Found" at David Castillo Gallery (2234 NW Second Ave., Miami), where she is making her solo debut. In her latest series of works shot during visits to various women's recovery centers and domestic settings across the U.S., Bishop Good explores the emotions of her subjects and examines the worlds they inhabit.

Her portraits oscillate between quiet moments of contemplation or angst-addled desperation and open a window into environments where faded wallpaper, weatherworn rooms, and stark living rooms provide a gritty backdrop.

The artist renders subjects tossed from their moorings by life's unexpected tempests and chronicles their struggles with desire, forgiveness, and anger. Her uncanny, psychologically charged portraits of women in intimate moments reveal people both aware and indifferent to the lens of her camera.

Up the street at Dina Mitrani Gallery (2620 NW Second Ave., Miami), take a gander at the current work of Peruvian shutterbug Roberto Huarcaya whose two separate series of photos are making their stateside debut. The award-winning photographer participated in the sixth Havana Biennial in 1997 and 49th Venice Biennial in 2001.

At Mitrani, he will be showing portraits based on famous paintings by Da Vinci, Bosch, and other masters of the Renaissance.

His modern day portraits such as Alessandro, Chorrillos, Peru (after Caravaggio: Narcisse, 1595) have a distinct flair. Huarcaya will also be represented by large-format panoramic seascapes, one of which snagged him a Petrobas Award in Buenos Aires recently.

If these shows don't get you hot and sweaty, remember, it's still a cheap date during Valentine's weekend.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Carlos Suarez De Jesus