A large cracked head dominated a major passageway between two sections of the third annual Art Wynwood international contemporary art fair. Elsewhere, disembodied eyeballs peered disquietingly at passersby from one of the gallery exhibits.
These were exceptions in an otherwise calm and congenial display of modern and contemporary art. Twentieth-century masters and emerging artists jostled for postion – gently. My compliments to the 70 participating galleries. Their “cutting edge” was a surgically precise scalpel, not a bloody scimitar.
I found the works of Colombian artist Pedro Ruíz captivating. He paints images of displacement: tranquil people on the move, carrying with them a remnant of their homeland. Typical of this theme is Flora and Fauna, 2013, with a woman floating in a golden background. Above an elongated plate atop her head, butterflies flutter. Beatriz Esguerra Art of Bogotá and Miami brought Ruíz’s work to Art Wynwood.
Reservoir, 2005, an oil painting on canvas by Lucy Jones, is not figurative art. Its sweeping brush strokes and bold colors sieze the eye, but then you must pause to consider what it all means. Yes, you can identify water, the sky, green hills along the shore, and a bridge – viewed from upstream – crossing the river atop a dam. Everything seems jumbled and ill-defined, as though you’re sweeping past on a fast train with no opportunity to focus clearly on any aspect of the scene. Flowers Gallery of London and New York displayed this painting.
Instead of painting on a canvas or board surface like many artists, British painter Russell West interpolates a layer of wire onto which he paints. In this way he attempts to replicate the organic complexity of slum dwellings he saw in Kowloon, India, and the Philippines. “I use paint to produce solid planes of colour, to represent walls or signage,” he says. “Once in place, the paint continues to move, dribbling serendipitously downward until it dries. It amuses me to think that at the end of every day, after locking up my studio for the night, my paintings continue to build themselves on their own in the dark in full colour, creating their desire lines.” London-based Woolff Gallery brought West’s Big late night Lemonade moment to Art Wynwood.
Antonio Segui is among Argentina’s most popular artists, even though he has lived and worked in Paris since 1963. His paintings, full of cartoon-like figures strolling through a perspectiveless miniature cityscape, are instantly recognizable and renowned worldwide. Miami-based Durban Segnini Gallery brought examples of his work to Art Wynwood.
Spanish artist Jorge Perianes creates untitled paintings of flowers. These paintings appear to be infested with insects eating holes in the canvas and frame. PanAmericanArtProjects in Miami showed Perianes’s work at Art Wynwood.
Mamey is a tropical fruit with sweet pulp surrounded by a large seed. Contemporary Cuban artist Roberto Fabelo painted a mamey with a large wedge cut out of it, and a nude woman nestled fetus-like in the center in place of the seed. Cernuda Arte in Coral Gables, FL, brought this painting to Art Wynwood.
Other Presidents’ Day Weekend art
Art Wynwood occupies the 100,000-square-foot Art Miami Pavilion at NE 1st Avenue and 31st Street in Midtown Miami. It’s one of four major art events taking place during the 2014 Presidents’ Day Weekend. The others are:
• Coconut Grove Arts Festival, Feb. 15-17.
• Miami Art + Design in Bayfront Park, Feb. 14-18.
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