The Grushovenko’s produce massive oil on canvas paintings depicting vintage American iconography from the 60s and 70s. The figures appearing in the paintings are reduced to minimal form providing the viewer only with an archetypal form as a visual reference point. The negative space in these paintings features prominently, protruding through every figure permitting the nearly illustrative paintings to breathe organically. More on these paintings here.
Stephen Potts combines turned wood sculpture with natural stone/ mineral adornments in the creation of these visually appealing decorative pieces. He achieves the high gloss finishes on the wooden sculpture using a lacquer that he developed. He uses a variety of exotic woods to achieve a wide variety of visual effects.
Yeins Gomez welds his sculpture from forged steel, then grinds and paints the final product. The medium is less striking than the tensions that he is able to achieve due to the strength of the material. Several of his sculptures rotate, bend, and lean into space creating the visual effect of figures exerting, or reacting to external, force. Above, Gomez’ Angel appears to display both properties leaning forward at the precipice of flight, simultaneously conjuring the visual effect of gravity and the sensation that the figure is overcoming the external force.
Brad Ruppert creates images using vintage materials such as wire, vintage ceiling tin, watch parts, vintage fabrics and architectural salvage. The artist’s assemblages utilize several textures in the depiction of wildlife achieving a quaint yet sophisticated effect.
David Burton creates entertaining pop assemblages incorporating found objects, toys, epoxy, and paint. The objects he creates are free standing in the round, and high reliefs protruding from their frames. These works are packed with pop iconography and humorous juxtapositions. Burton leaves little to the imagination vis a vis his inspirations with titles such as, “The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test.” Ken Kesey would be proud.
Suzy Scarborough’s decoupage wall panels incorporate elements of printed literature, cartography, photography, and reproductions of fine art pieces and artist portraits throughout history. Each piece had a golden patina not detectable in our sub-optimal reproduction, but that lends an antique-object aesthetic to her objects. These are light and fun conversation pieces for those with even baseline art historical knowledge (in the above e.g., Gaugin).
Tai Taeoalii creates highly graphic pop art/surreal images using ballpoint pens and various other media on paper support. His subject matter and symbolic reference points owe much to Dali’s surrealism and the street art symbols popularized by Banksy, etc., but his work is entertaining and visually appealing.
Amanda Outcalt creates charming multi-media assemblages that include embroidery, intaglio printmaking, and needlework elements. The intaglios were largely renditions of wildlife–a time honored subject matter that facilitates the benefits of this printmaking process. The printmaking elements are cut out and adhered to a larger paper support. The intaglios lend a highly graphic focal point that do well to prevent the works from floating in the huge unfinished negative spaces lurking in each piece. There will be more on this elsewhere. You can learn more about the process and artist here.
The Miami New Times has it right–the Coconut Grove Arts Festival remains the single best way to spend President’s Day weekend in the City of Miami. Hundreds of artists have their work on display and most are available to discuss their inspirations, processes, and intent. There is artwork that should appeal to virtually every aesthetic. The painting styles on display include realism; surrealism; abstract; abstract expressionism; and more. Both figurative, abstract, and craft sculptors offer works in scale ranging from miniature to commercial, and there were several craftspeople offering functional fare. But After a Saturday debrief, MAB is in agreement that the mixed media works on display formed the most interesting body of work.
There were many visually appealing objects and works on display at the CGAF, but don’t expect to be intellectually challenged by either the substantive content or stylistic components of the submissions in the show. There are many fine art galleries in Miami for these purposes.
Below are some of the pieces that caught my eye (please forgive the shoddy reproductions and/or harsh glare).