There's no space more infuriating for the local South Floridian than the driver's seat of a car, on a hot summer day, while stuck in traffic on I-95, the Palmetto, or MacArthur. Sealed off in separate air conditioned vehicles, transportation in car-centered cities has a detached feeling. Unlike pedestrian friendly towns, where people frequently bump into each other, Miamians are removed from the social energy of the bustling street corner.
Chicago-born, and Argentinian-raised, artist Marina Gonella delves into the haunting mix of familiarity and estrangement induced in every driver through her collages and transpositions. Her work is currently on display at O Cinema Wynwood in the aptly titled exhibition, "Going Home." The show is a collaboration between the independent theater chain and ArtCenter South Florida.
For over 12 years Gonella has made Miami her creative home. As an ArtCenter alum, she now holds a studio at Laundromat Art Space were she continues to produce work inextricably tied to the densely populated suburban sprawl that characterizes much of South Florida's neighborhoods.
"What I realized after I started commuting from my house to my studio in Miami, is that there were a lot of places that I had never got the chance to experience by walking but still visualized, and incorporated those places as ones that I know," Gonella says.
Named mostly after the traffic signs photographed in the various pieces, the works in "Going Home" are about highlighting non-spaces. These stretches of highways, overpasses, and off ramps are in-between the typical plots artists are used to featuring in their work, yet they're imbued in all of our collective consciousness.
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The spaces are also not specific to one geographical location. Their universality reinforces the routine turned modern-day ritual drivers make on trips around town. These transient terrains carry a fair amount of heft as not just apart for the indigenous aesthetic, but reflective of the loneliness of contemporary life.
Through her medium Gonella seizes photographic representation as a plastic form– one that can be manipulated as easily as a brush stroke. The mixed medium blends journalistic objectivity, similar in vein to Andy Warhol's work cataloging car crashes (e.g. Orange Car Crash Fourteen Times, 1963) with a color field sense for hues and tones. The result is a photomontage that is erie and sinister, but also familiar to those that make regular commutes traversing South Florida's main arteries.
"What I like about working with collages is that it’s like painting with papers but with the freedom to mix, arrange and rearrange as many times as I want," said the artist of her process. "I can achieve abstract backgrounds that are rich in texture and color."
"Going Home" is on display at O Cinema Wynwood, 90 NW 29th St., Miami, through August 2, when a closing reception and brunch will be held at 11:30 a.m. For more information regarding times visit o-cinema.org or call 305-571-9970.