“…in refusing to “dumb down” the work, Solomon has created a loyal following via a string of sophisticated exhibits where spectators are just as likely to see a series of highly conceptual, illustrative paintings as a set of visceral, material-driven sculptures. Decamping to Little Haiti has helped maintain the serious, creative vision of this forward-thinking space.
“Running through March and April are dual solo shows: “Whenever Forever” by Jennifer LeFort and “Revelatory Dérive” by Andrew Casto. LeFort’s innovative canvases bristle and glow with assertive neon hues, a space the artist says is “both pre-tech and post-virtual at once.” Casto’s alien sculptural forms mimic erosion and geological processes, but their unconventional coloring and warped compositions seek to invoke “the phenomenological ramifications of responsibilities and stress [that] shape us physically, mentally, and emotionally.”
The upcoming shows of Jennifer Lefort and Andrew Casto are featured in the Miami Edition of the March/April South Florida Luxury Guide as The Art of Wandering.
Jennifer Lefort explores abstraction’s winding roads with paintings featuring punches of color and distorted patterns. Ceramic sculptor Andrew Casto parallels Lefort’s showcase with Revelatory Derivé, which examines Guy Debord’s psychological theory of derivé (meaning “drifting” in French), a method of experimental behavior in urban society, which involves the “rapid passage through varied ambiances.”
Mindy Solomon Gallery is pleased to present the inaugural solo exhibitions of artists Jennifer Lefort and Andrew Casto. Both artists explore the possibilities of abstraction through movement, gesture, surface and palette. On view at the gallery March 11th–May 14th, 2017 at 8397 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami in Little River. An opening reception will take place Saturday, March 11th from 6-9pm; artist Andrew Casto will attend.
Juana Valdes‘ installation “Single Drawn Line” was well received at the Zona Maco Contemporary art fair in Mexico City earlier this month. Below are images of her work on display at the fair. Another of Juana’s installations, ” An Inherent View of the World” was recently acquired by the Perez Art Museum in Miami City. You can view more of her work on her artist page here.
Juana Valdes // Single Drawn Line
48 x 36 inches
Digital print archival paper
Join us for the Opening Reception of Jennifer Lefort‘s Whenever Forever and Andrew Casto‘s Revelatory Dérive. This will be the inaugural solo exhibition for both artists, and Andrew Casto will be in attendance at the opening.
Opening Reception, Saturday, March 11th from 6–9pm
Artist Andrew Casto in attendance
Exhibition on view through May 14th
Renowned Canadian painter and curator Leopold Plotek writes: “Jennifer Lefort’s canvases bring to mind the words of the distinguished poet Def Jef: ‘God made ’em funky!’ She is an artist whose work nearly grazes the form and spirit of popular media, and her colour would be inconceivable prior to the arrival of digital media or at the very least colour television. Saturated, electrified, her fields and often wiggy goings-on across them are finally pictorial, but not so much by things they represent (what are they, anyway?), as by pretending to creep, ooze, thump, pulse or pullulate; and all performed in rampant, chemical, often complementary hues. Her canvases present a striking contrast in luminosity and colour-temperature, and show how radically ground-colours can determine our perception of pictorial space.”
Of his own work, Andrew Casto says, “My current body of work involves an investigation into dialogues concerning extant negative forces in our lives, and to what degree the phenomenological ramifications of responsibilities and stress shape us physically, mentally, and emotionally. The formal language present in this analysis is based on a material study of erosion and geological processes translated into ceramic and mixed media objects. I seek a purposeful link between macrocosmic environmental change, and interruptions in our otherwise routine existence. Within this inquiry, alternative and diverse construction methods are emphasized as tools of fresh, genuine expression in the creation of dynamic assemblages of great fragility. The foundation of this exploration is a desire to uncover the sublime in these moments of incongruity; the rush of presence into experience that might otherwise remain banal and ordinary, brought on by perceived inconvenience. My work asserts that it is possible for our daily vexations to illuminate the power of the present moment–something we all too often fail to notice.”
Booth #ZMS13 // Visit the Fair
Juana Valdes views identity as defined by objects and imagery. Documenting delicate emphemera and painstakingly positioning and arranging, she brings the viewer to a place of nostalgia, recollection, and contemplation.
Writer Julie Chae states:
“Multi-media installation artist Juana Valdes uses her training in Western post-modern philosophy, printmaking, photography, sculpture and ceramics to explore issues of transculturation, pigmentocracy, history and memory. In the past, Valdes worked with maps, ships and sailing motifs to investigate the complexities of identity in the face of shifting national/political borders as well as the history of human migration. More recently, Valdes began working with bone china porcelain, traditionally distinguished and valued for its whiteness and translucency and documented as an important commodity in the history of trade between Europe and Asia. By inserting pigments during fabrication into the clay and manipulating its chemical composition, Valdes created artworks which serve as metaphors for the mythology of whiteness in our society.”
We are thrilled to announce that Juana Valdes‘ “An Inherent View of the World” has been purchased by the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, FL. This installation was on exhibit at the gallery October 23–December 11, 2015. Please join us in congratulating Juana, and read more about her work below. Mindy Solomon Gallery will be featuring a solo exhibition of Juana’s work at Zona Maco in Mexico City, where she continues to explore the idea of object as metaphor for history and identity.
Multi-media installation artist Juana Valdes uses her training in Western post-modern philosophy, printmaking, photography, sculpture and ceramics to explore issues of transculturation, pigmentocracy, history and memory. In the past, Valdes worked with maps, ships and sailing motifs to investigate the complexities of identity in the face of shifting national/political borders as well as the history of human migration. More recently, Valdes began working with bone china porcelain, traditionally distinguished and valued for its whiteness and translucency and documented as an important commodity in the history of trade between Europe and Asia. By inserting pigments during fabrication into the clay and manipulating its chemical composition, Valdes created artworks which serve as metaphors for the mythology of whiteness in our society. In the current project on view, Valdes encourages us to ponder the history of global trade and colonialism by presenting a monumental installation of vintage china and domestic wares she has collected from antiques shops, flea markets and estate sales/auctions.
The business of selling and trading china has been intrinsically tied to European
overseas expeditions and transmigrations, and the first public company to issue
negotiable shares – and the model for many of today’s corporations – was a Dutch
trading company created in 1602 for selling china from Asia to European countries. The
Dutch East India Company’s hugely successful trade with Asian countries made the
Dutch a major global commercial trader and led to the formation of other trading
companies eager to participate in the highly profitable business. Over time, new
industries resulted when European companies began manufacturing domestic china and
many Asian companies likewise arose to produce china specifically for European export.
Valdes displays examples of china made in different countries and time periods, and
each piece embodies the cultural values of its time/place, reflecting aesthetic and
economic decisions made by the manufacturer and by consumers. Not to be forgotten in
this economic chain of activities is the woman who purchased these domestic wares to
be used by her family, and Valdes invites us to think about how the design and
decorative patterns on plates, cups and other pieces of china often provided children in
these households with their first aesthetic experience.
Not surprisingly, all this historic economic activity included constantly searching for
competitive business advantages, especially the advantage gained when entities can take
resources without paying for them. Colonialism, a natural offshoot of global trading, has
resulted in skewed racial relationships between lighter-skinned people and the darkerskinned
— with profound consequences that impact us today. By presenting this
Duchampian artwork created with the collection and arrangement of seemingly simple
domestic wares, Valdes offers us an opportunity to engage with and re-examine the
myriad issues available here: globalization, hybridization, economics, labor production,
cultural identity, migration, valuation, aesthetics, collecting, selling, women’s history and
even the possibilities of art.
Precise, stark, and often clinical in their approach, French-born, Miami-based sculptor and painter Dominique Labauvie’s pieces have an unexpected source of inspiration. Drawing from natural rock and landscape formations, Labauvie distills form and line to its most refined iteration. Stripping them of all their frivolity, he lays bare the essentials. His first solo show in over a year promises new sculptures and drawings of the same ilk. Emphasizing nature as coherent rather than random, his forms are evoke a graphic simplicity. Labauvie primarily employs industrial materials in his practice, signaling a parallelism between the natural and modern worlds. The composition conflates an organic abstraction with a natural one, leading its viewers to consider the relation between art, or culture, and nature. From large-scale, three-dimensional work, his drawings boil down his formal elements even further. His new work often features flurries of color, but have the same laser-like focus on reducing shape and line to the barest essentials. Dominique Labauvie’s new work will be on view at Mindy Solomon Gallery, from January 21 – March 4, 2017.
You can view Labauvie’s work beyond “Material Catch” in his first Spotlight exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, organized by Curator of Contemporary Art Katherine Pill, In St. Petersburg Florida.
Material Catch // Dominique Labauvie
Celebrating Opposites // The Work of Michael Conrads
Opening Reception // Saturday, January 21st from 6-9pm
Exhibition on View through March 4th, 2017
“The line informs us about the absent forms, as only the missing remain in our memories, our books, and in our images. The line attests to the desire of thought.” -Dominique Labauvie
Dominique Labauvie’s newest body of work is a series of sculptures and drawings focused upon ruin as subject, a theme often addressed in art history, and weighing heavily in Labauvie’s thinking as ever-present in our society by way of environmental damage, cultural destruction, government, and concern for the future. In Labauvie’s view, material culture—the remains of what once was—is material evidence which aids in understanding the past.
Through his sculptures, the artist translates the concept of ruin as the reduction of form to its minimum, the line of the funambule (French for tightrope walker), and sculpts in metal as a mark in space. The sculptures are fabricated using small segments of forged steel, welded, as marks on paper would be joined in drawing.
“The ground—any ground: earth, wood, or stone—hosts the forged lines, just as the landscape that for centuries has been mapped by rivers, roads, and highways. Drawing engraves the style of my sculpture. Drawing is one of the mental references of the sculpture, and in a sense it is a form of partnership.
“My sculpture not only addresses the line as a record to ‘transport time into space,’ but it also manipulates the material nature of steel. Steel is actually not natural but a man-made material, with the exception of the iron meteorite that falls from the cosmos onto earth. From the mineral to the industrial product, we can say that steel is a pure product of human inventiveness and work. As Valery wrote in 1937, ‘What would we be without steel?’
“The floor of the studio where I work is a surface on which I move. The segments of the sculpture are laid out, unconnected and moving all the time without a predetermined direction, as in a drawing. As I work, the image appears and disappears—creating a kind of high and low tide of perception. The line and its speed, its texture, tension, or extension is found well within the nature of the steel; it constructs the different rhythms of its presence and names them. When a line bends, it slows down; as it expands, it suddenly appears as a flat surface: it carves out its presence in space like a black hole.”
Labauvie’s sculptures are intended as a physical homage to the strength of survival. The Arrival is the last sculpture of this series, “a declaration of victory and love,” which makes a historic nod to the famous Birth of Venus by Botticelli.
Mindy Solomon is proud to introduce, for his first Miami solo exhibition, the work of Michael Conrads. Currently an artist in residence at the Fountainhead in Miami, Conrads hails from Germany.
Conrads believes good painting is a manifestation of the artist’s emotional and intellectual sensibilities realized on canvas. Ultimately, achieving a visual epiphany and the fulfillment of an aesthetic journey is the final goal.
“Before I start a painting, I usually have a composition in mind, which I develop through a series of small-scale drawings. These are drawn onto a specially modified grid, which enables me to shift between dimensions of space—from plain top view to isometric perspective to multilayered, multidimensional space-and-time tables. I use the grid as a tool to construct the illusion of depth, and to create contradictory perspectives that change while gazing at the picture. The perspectives can be quite complex at times, while others are merely repetitive and pattern-like, which can lead to ultra-dense, self-consuming structures. The magic happens (or doesn’t) in the transformation from a graphic drawing to painting.”
Utilizing a variety of media, from acrylics to oil, spray color, pigment, shellac, bitumen, and pastel, Conrads’s process is the materialization of painting. His process of art-making constructed to analyze how painting works. The parameters of a painting contain many contradictions: light and dark, dense and loose, quickly drawn and elaborately articulated, dynamic and static, colorful and monochromatic. Conrads believes all of these actions are valid. It is the utilization and implementation that create perfect compositional balance.
Conrads states: “Finding balance is usually the hardest part. It all comes down to what happens on the canvas. As much as planning or drawing may help to prepare for a painting, there are no shortcuts. A former exhibition title of mine comes to mind: No paint no gain. Lately, I have rather been looking for simplicity than complexity. It makes the work quieter and more dynamic at the same time, and helps me to focus on certain aspects of painting. Recent works include paintings that only consist of various types of pre-primed white canvases put together in spatial compositions, consisting of a minimum of painterly gestures. This minimal approach makes traces of the work or mistakes a lot more obvious. As the white cube, which only exists in theory—and can, in reality—never be perfected.
“But not all paintings are that minimal, and luckily, I am still fascinated by color. My paintings are about perception. They give me intellectual stimulation. I don’t want to explain anything in my work or to be identified with a particular name or a genre. There is no overlying concept. Showing the process of painting is important, but not my final goal. I guess it is important because painting is what I love to do. In that sense, a painting is no more than the sum of all the single actions that I did to it until it’s done. And sometimes that’s a lot.”
Many thanks to all who helped make our 2016 Art Miami Fair a great one. Here’s a few shots of our booth in action.