Miami Project, one of the biggest fairs in the Wynwood district this year, celebrates some of the most sought after artists this year. Most importantly though, as Jillian Steinhauer brings to light in her article ‘The Women of Miami Project’, most of the impressive works here were created by women. Consequently, most of my favorite works in this fair were created by women too!
Here are some of the highlights at the Miami Project art fair:
Brooklyn based artist Kate Clark creates sculptures that are a lifelike fusion of a human and an animal. The surreal object, almost human-sized, investigates which characteristics separate us within the animal kingdom, and more importantly, which ones unite us.
The unexpectedness of the human face on these animals also evokes curiosity. They are obviously reconstructed yet they are not monstrous, they are approachable, natural, calm, innocent, dignified. The facial features are believable and the skin, which is the animal’s skin, has been shaved to reveal porous and oily features that we recognize as our own. The viewer has an intimate relationship with the face and then identifies with the animal, acknowledging the animalistic inheritance within the human condition.
Vanessa German, a multidisciplinary artist [sculptor, photographer, painter, actress, poet] and advocate for the black female experience, creates these female figures that are made out of plaster, wood, glue, tar and found objects: hair, shells, old jewelry. They each represent aspects of female experience, power, and her cultural heritage.
Their look, one that might clearly (or most likely) reference ‘magic’ dolls, are a probable aspect of German’s culture and religious inclinations.
The first body of her work to be considered is material and physical, in the main sculptures and assemblages, of the kind that seldom existed in the Western tradition before modernism, but which are commonplace in other and older cultures. These older cultures are connected viscerally with religions and near-magical practices where good and evil tread the same path. A ‘doll’ can bring death or life, its (doll)maker a shaman or priest/priestess. It is worth considering how these presences could be seen as formative elements in German’s work.
Kiki Seror, an LA based artist, crafts disturbing, intriguing, and simple holographic portraits. A devoted experimentalist, she strives, through her imagery and artistic choices, to address edgy cultural topics [such as gender, self, identity] with visual presentations and installations that are minimal and technologically polished. These portraits all convey a woman, although blurred, we can see, as we change positions, that the woman’s expressions change; she conveys different emotions. It looks as if she is trapped in a dark space, longing to make contact- hoping to get out. Her varying expressions seem rather desperate, conveying frustration, and perhaps anger, or anxiety.
These photographs […] juxtapose public and private, sexuality and technology, creating a complex visual world driven by a graphic and unashamed feminist sensibility that dares to trespass into realms of inquiry typically represented through a male perspective; to challenge viewers’ preconceptions about gender, sexuality, desire, and the body.
Cathy Cunninham- Little, a mixed media sculptor utilizing glass, neon lights, wire, string, and other materials, explores the phenomena of perception. She specializes on creating works that are tangible and convey both the visual interaction of color and light and the mental aspects of perception.
I use light, shadow, color interactions, time and space, and luminescent and phosphorescent agents to explore perceptual phenomena and metaphysical issues. My use of these tangible materials stress color composition in space and the structural properties of light. I further emphasize the dematerialization of the methods of conveyance of light and color to create a greater importance of the viewer and the experiential nature of my artwork. Viewers are asked to become an active participant in a dialogue with the work as they experience the dissolution of boundaries between substance and space. The perceptual ambiguities cause viewers to question the nature of perception and to consider the expansion of their state of consciousness.
Kris Kuksi’s sculptures are simply the most complex and detailed sculptures I’ve ever seen. His work and craftsmanship have been referred to as the work and talent of a post- rococo artist. His intricate sculptures, usually homages to historical events, and/or to history-based stories, requires countless of hours to manipulate, research and put together.
Each sculpture embodies the trademarks of his philosophy and practice, while serving as a testament to the multifaceted nature of perception – From timeless iconic references of Gods and Goddess, to challenging ideas of organized religion and morality, to the struggle to understand, and bend, the limits of mortality.
Gabriel Dawe, an artist that usually works with site-specific installations, textiles and embroidery- shifts gears to create these bizarre assemblages of multiple plastic farm animals and thread.
Moto Waganaris’ filigree polygon sculptures thinly contour the outline of various bodies [animal, human, inanimate objects]. By installing them under specific lighting, he illuminates his sculptures in such a way that the 3-D sculpture exudes a shadow, one that reveals the immaterial ‘alter ego’ of every figure.
Alejandro Diaz, a San Antonio native based in New York City, develops conceptual pieces [in this case neon light signs] exemplifying the complex and rich cultural environment particular to South Texas and Mexico, and the United States in general.
The political, humor-infused pieces are simple yet powerful. Their context, pertaining to cultural truths, are executed in such a way that actually makes them relevant yet less heavy due to the presentation Diaz’s neon lights give the message.