New Art Exhibits, Arts Journalist, and Arts Funding in Miami, FL
Local Miami artists are often associated with contemporary formats like street art, installations, photography and multimedia. A trio of recent exhibitions showcase the strength of Miami-based painters in very different ways.
For the past 50 years, Cuban-born Arturo Rodriguez has lived and worked in Miami, creating a body of fantastical oil paintings that feature in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, among many others. His current exhibition, at the LnS Gallery near Coconut Grove, includes a series of large-scale paintings based on three major works of literature: Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’, Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’ and ‘Journey to the End by Louis-Ferdinand Celine. of the night.”
The vibrant and emotional works were painted in response to the pandemic. While the imagery as a whole seems impressionistic at times, a closer look reveals a sharp shot of neat strokes, historical references, and humor. Many depict his own domestic life (wife and partner DEMI is also an artist) in a wry, swirling sea of upheaval that still feels familiar.
Through April 9 at LnS Gallery, 2610 SW 28th Lane, Miami; lnsgallery.com.
Eddie Arroyo was Little Havana born and raised during the Mariel era. His Colombian mother and Peruvian father attempted to avoid the highly politicized actions of the time; although his father was an avid painter, his practical parents discouraged him from pursuing a career in art.
Still, Arroyo pursued art studies at FIU. Although he followed his parents in practice — he had a long day job as an administrator — his painting prowess earned him a spot at the 2019 Whitney Biennial for protest-focused work.
His current show “Talking to Real Americans” at Spinello Projects in Allapattah, grew out of his participation in anti-gentrification protests in Little Haiti. A tour by an activist of Chinatown during his trip to New York at the opening of Whitney heightened his awareness. He and other artists later pulled out of the show in protest at a board member’s business interests.
Today, that exploration has extended to land use, environmental issues, wage inequality and white supremacy, he says, and a broad examination of empire and fascism. Each of the striking canvases – executed in acrylics – captures a moment from the Miami protest, with its context explained on the back.
“I know images can be recontextualized,” he said. “History is constantly being revised.”
Through March 19 at Spinello Projects, 2930 NW 7th Ave, Miami; spinello projects. com.
At first glance, the ethereal works of Cuban-born Julio Larraz, one of Latin America’s best-known artists, are a tribute to beauty. The polished paintings seem effortless, a Cuban following the route taken by Edward Hopper and René Magritte.
Some of Larraz’s works depict a dreamlike world of possibility and improbability, such as the underwater image of a diver carrying a briefcase. Others depict a tranquil world as we would like to remember, of a sunny spring day on an island where white linen suits were de rigueur and always spotless, never creased or soiled.
“I’m not a storyteller,” Larraz says in a video accompanying his first retrospective, “The Kingdom We Carry Inside,” at the Coral Gables Museum.
“In my opinion, in 200 years, if my paintings last, no one will care where they were or what they are. The only thing that matters to me is how beautiful the painting will be,” he says in another text.
But like his paintings, words can stretch the truth. Many of his images depict politically powerful figures and historical moments. While the interpretation can be left to the viewer, the choice of subjects speaks for itself. As he said himself: “Painters, by nature, are protesters; they are fighters who rebel.
Through April 30 at the Coral Gables Museum, 285 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables; coralgablesmuseum.org.
ARTS WRITER JOINS HERALD
Amanda Rosa joined the Miami Herald/el Nuevo Herald as a multimedia arts reporter covering both visual and performing arts. In this role, she will focus on bilingual content suitable for social media platforms as well as traditional narrative storytelling in English and Spanish.
By adding this position, the Miami Herald/el Nuevo Herald becomes one of the few regional newspapers nationwide with a dedicated arts reporter. It was made possible by a grant from the Jorge M. Perez Family Foundation. The Miami Herald/el Nuevo Herald retains full editorial control of the work.
Rosa can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter at @amandanicrosa.
The John S. and James L. Knight have announced their latest recipients of the Knight Arts + Tech Fellowships, exploring the intersection between arts and technology. These are complex movements (Detroit, MI), Mother Cyborg (Detroit, MI), Mary Maggic (Los Angeles, CA), Ryan Kuo (Brooklyn, NY) and James Allister Sprang (Philadelphia, PA).
This story was originally published March 4, 2022 1:18 p.m.