Miami Line Spans City with Art / Winter 2012

On clear nights, Miami transforms rose and indigo twilight into a monumental canvas of black velvet sky. Then look for radiant jewel tones of “The Miami Line,” a magnificent public art work by Rockne Krebs, spanning Miami River as it runs through downtown to create a brilliant, soaring line of colored light pulsing through the city’s heart, casting a magical shimmer of ever-changing color on the river.  Water, light, color, line:  what could be more magically Miami?Just as “Miami Line” captivates those encountering its inspiring presence, so contemporary artists exhibiting in Miami, including Karina Peisajovich and Jaime Gilli, recognize bracing appeals of art constructed primarily with color and line.

 

Alejandra von Hartz, directing her own Wynwood gallery, says contemporary artists she exhibits often reinvent visual language of geometric abstraction, including David E. Peterson, Arthur Lescher.  Time-honored visual language indeed:  From 1934 to 1973, geometric abstraction in Latin American art was especially vibrant.  It’s easy to find in Miami art by Carlos Cruz-Diez, Jesus Soto, other Latin American Masters known for geometric innovations.  Of course, artists of many eras have investigated compelling powers of color and line.

 

Wide-spread presence of this approach for artists now, von Hartz says, “is a never-ending experience.  I see artists creating and developing new ideas every day. ” She presented Peterson’s aggressively minimal and curiously three-dimensional work at New York’s VOLTA art fair. She also represents Matthew Deleget, featured in a luminous exhibit merging rectangular forms, architectural space, and color: “Pictures at an Exhibition” at Cress Gallery of Art, University of Tennessee. Curator Ruth Grover praised Deleget’s art as “reductive abstraction,” providing “its own rich sensory experience in response to the broad plurality of our 21st Century world.”

 

Certainly international popularity of art fairs and biennials enhances ongoing dialogue between art history of geometric abstraction and current ways to make this language new for 21st Century. The Internet, with vast search engines making art and culture a vivid 24/7 digital experience, surely contributes further.

 

Perhaps incessant information from sources too numerous to name across the globe contributes to the appeal of takes on what both Deleget and Grover call “reductive abstraction.” This art may announce a need to reduce constant clutter everywhere.  Adds von Hartz, the art represents, “strong dialogue with different artists in different places around the world.”  Her gallery is “a launching  point for exploring abstract art in Miami,” says Bryan Granger, Bass Museum Knight Curatorial Fellow.

Also in Miami:  Find more such contemporary artists at Arevalo Gallery.  Director Francisco Arevalo presents art in handsomely designed gallery, epitome of reductive elegance.  Painting and sculpture in various media including stainless steel, canvas, wood by Brazilian artist Macaparana enhance sleek spirit throughout.  There’s playful, architectural elegance to his art.  “He was mentored by important artists from the Neo-Concrete movement in Brazil,” says Arevalo, adding that this movement of the late 1950s ended in 1961. It emphasized a bolder, freer style, reacting to strictures of Concrete Art.  Long-revered values of color and line still exert power today.  Macaparana reinvents a celebrated Latin American geometric tradition, particularly extending from Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela.

 

Arevalo Gallery recently presented “Extending the Line,” an exquisite exhibit featuring six American and European artists organized by Kaufman Vardy Projects.  Historically resonant language of geometry—color, line, space—is paramount.   Yet as curators Fran Kaufman and Ilana Vardy write, these artists “are keeping the conversation fresh and alive.”

 

Use of diverse materials is key. Consider works on paper by Gordon Moore with ink and gouache on photo emulsion paper.  His imagery challenges viewers to wonder if they see a shadowy photograph, tensile drawing, reed-thin sculpture or magical mixture of all three.  Constructions by Nan Swid are elegant, shockingly simple.  She works with old sheets of rice paper and materials gleaned from aging books and ledgers.  “She’s in the design world,” says Vardy.  Although her background is not rooted in art history, Swid is “finding beauty in geometry,” Vardy adds.

 

Deleget, artist and co-founder of innovative Minus Space in Brookyn, explains: “You see a lot of divergence, artists doing really engaging work all over the globe.  Alejandra foregrounds artists from South America. We show a lot of work from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and, of course the States. Compelling work is being made everywhere and for totally different reasons by different artists with different contexts and histories.  And we totally embrace that. Forty years ago, the conversation about the art and its development was very monolithic, very linear.”

 

Clearly, ramifications of The Miami Line are anything but linear.

Gordon Moore, Untitled I, 2006, Ink, acrylic on photo paper in artist steel frame, 10 x 8 in. Courtesy of Betty Cuningham GalleryGordon Moore employs diverse materials to challenge viewers’ perceptions of form and depth. ET

Gordon Moore, Untitled I, 2006, Ink, acrylic on photo paper in artist steel frame, 10 x 8 in. Courtesy of Betty Cuningham Gallery
Gordon Moore employs diverse materials to challenge viewers’ perceptions of form and depth. ET

Matthew Deleget, Color Vulture - Detail, 2012, 3 off the shelf white canvases, red, yellow, and blue spotlights, Dimensions variable, canvases 24 x 20 in. each. Courtesy of Alejandra von Hartz GalleryMatthew Deleget has drawn acclaim for merging rectangular forms, architectural space, and color. ET

Matthew Deleget, Color Vulture - Detail, 2012, 3 off the shelf white canvases, red, yellow, and blue spotlights, Dimensions variable, canvases 24 x 20 in. each. Courtesy of Alejandra von Hartz Gallery
Matthew Deleget has drawn acclaim for merging rectangular forms, architectural space, and color. ET

Carla Chaim, Sin título (díptico no. 01), 2012, Oil stick sobre papel milimetrado (on japanese paper), 29 x 82 cm. Courtesy of CIFO (Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation)Carla Chaim reconfigures spare geometric forms with disarming simplicity. ET

Carla Chaim, Sin título (díptico no. 01), 2012, Oil stick sobre papel milimetrado (on japanese paper), 29 x 82 cm. Courtesy of CIFO (Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation)
Carla Chaim reconfigures spare geometric forms with disarming simplicity. ET

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