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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Peripatic musings on Mana Wynwood art exhibition

Hoping to find manageable crowds and great art, I took a professional day to explore mid-week, mid-day, in the shadows of the great Basel Art Fair. Our first stop was the Mana Wynwood convention center, a giant 140,000 square foot building with several curated collections to see.
Jorge Magyaroff
Our first impression of PINTA Miami (in Mana) was that it was still under construction, and possibly not open. But it was Thursday and even though some booths seemed under plastic, and men on ladders had drills working on the doors and scrapers finishing the floors, we were assured we could roam about. Focusing on Ibero-American art identities and issues, the show was full of strong abstract statements. Right away we were greeted by a giant in the art world, Brazillian Ernesto Neto with a scented nylon sculpture suspended to the ceiling and anchored by seductively curved sacks of sand and of cloves. In the Atrium Art gallery we enjoyed looking at award winning photography- my favorite was a documentary photographer from Chile, Tomas Munita. The clarity and detail in his prints was astounding, the mood was surreal, the topic was the landscape with man. I loved his Guano series. There were a few photo pieces by Vic Muniz from his garbage series and the movie documentary, Wasteland.
Vic Muniz
The Sleep of Reason by Barcellos
I enjoyed Bel Barcellos' whose embroidery I had seen on Saatchi art sites.  It was simple and a complex story. A gallery from Bogota had the drawings of Cuban artist Glexis Novoa. This time the graphite drawings were on drywall fragments cut and re-embedded into the walls. I think we first saw his work a couple weeks ago on the River walk downtown- drawings on marble encassed in thick glass and metal cases into the retaining walls of Brickell! I like the way he plays with material, setting a classically and sweetly rendered image into a raw format.

Glexis Novoa, pencil on drywall
I was humored by a large digital mural created b Cassio Vasconellos. The overhead perspective of a busy airport reminded me of my night dreams, as well as the Richard Scary illustrations full of busy workplaces that I enjoyed as a child.
In that vein, I was swept by the resin and suitcase sculptures by a Columbian artist L.F. Palaez in the Sextante Bogota gallery. They were little mini dioramas of a wasteland of sorts...

In the traveling mood, outside the galleries on the way to the next collection of work, we passed an incredible sculpture of excess- an F1 Eagle race car and collection of helmets all covered in class bead patterns!

The next major collection of work we visited was from Tiroche DeLeon, curated by Londoner Catherine Petitgas, "one of the worlds most respected collectors of Latin American art". I was delighted to find an art car by the twins "Os Gemos"...

The mixed media vehicle was controlled by musical instruments and filled with plush red heart shaped pillows and the giant mirror lined head held a collection of clocks. Such poetry to our ramblings through life! There was also a few subversive references to the Banana republic mentality of colonialism. Paolo Nazereth's sculpture from 2011 was on display... a minibus filled with bananas, conceived as he walked from Brazil to the USA.
As we started to feel our own feet...

The "Made in California:selections from the Frederick R. Weismann Art Foundation" was our next stop. The show of over 100 works of art highlighted the California sensitivity to light and their love of new 20th century materials such as epoxy, neon colors, duct tape, polaroids, etc... There were great optical treats by Larry bell, Robert Irwin, David Hockney and Ed Ruscha, among others. As a final stop before heading back to our car we stood in what I would call the sky room, with each of the 4 walls holding a long horizontal sky-scape by Ed Ruscha. His labels, somewhat functioning as a map marker, made us giggle. 

We went on to little Haiti, traveling past scorched earth to get there! More on that part of the day, later!

who is the artist here?
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