Senses Return – Miami Style

by Rupert Ravens

Detail of Hebime acrylic on wood panel work.

Covid-19 has smacked down our opportunity to congregate.  A resulting casualty was Miami’s 2020 art bacchanal.

Fair and venue cancellations have rapidly spawned OVR (online viewing rooms).  Ouch.  Tech’s solution is gimmickry compared to centuries of human UX (user experience) with nature.  Can any screen deliver the ultra-high infinite resolution of in-person reality?

Engaging only the eyes isn’t enough to convey the authenticity of being present in the physical moment.  This exchange requires a full court press across the gambit of our senses. 

How can one perceive the faux-fur sashay of Nick Cave’s Soundsuits, the iridescent smoothness of Ann Veronica Janssens’ glass sculptures, or the overhead grandeur of a Spencer Finch lightwork?  How can the atmospheric background hum, bon vivant fashions or birds zipping thru the tent be substituted online?  What is the ideal UX to attain this goal?   Golden Krishna postulates, “The best interface is no interface”.  No more screens; in person, in the flesh, rules.  No matter how clever the OVR tech becomes, via gaming, virtual reality or perspective shim, online access ultimately renders a limp, lo-fi game environment.

Hence, I revisit the 2019 Miami Fairs.  There I encountered compelling works first hand, directly… with ALL the sensorial trappings of human interaction.   Here I present two Top Ten lists of gems.  One, an Annual List (emerging to mid-career), and Two, a Perennial List (established to legendary). 

Top Ten Annual – (emerging to mid-career)

Kim Young-Hun, p1922-Electronic Nostalgia, 2019, oil on linen, 44 1/10 x 44 1/10 in | 112 x 112 cm, unique

1 Kim Young-Hun Galerie Bhak Art Miami

Topographical fields of sensuous discovery are disrupted by atmospheric and computational glitches.  Asymmetrical volutes are offset throughout with radiant repetitive disbursement.

Michelle Benoit, Stones and Shrinking Violet series, 2019, mixed media on hand cut reclaimed Lucite, 7.5 x 6.5 in | 19 x 16 cm, unique

2 Michelle Benoit Pentimenti Art Miami

Compressed like a diamond, a fragment of wood is seamlessly embedded within Lucite.  An otherworldly token is powered-up with iconic presence and royal rule.

Daniel Pressley, The Lone Mourner, 1960, oil on canvas, 24″ x 18″

3 Daniel Pressley What Carried Us Over: Gifts of Gordon W. Bailey Perez Museum

Amidst teardrop spaces peppered with funerary monuments, cyclopean flowers hold court.  Rhythmic nature thrives as a cornucopia of lives remembered.

Nyugen Smith, Bundlehouse… because after the fracture, came something like paradise…, 2019, mixed media and found object assemblage, 61″ x 93″ x 9″

4 Nyugen Smith The Other Side of Now: Foresight in Contemporary Caribbean Art Perez Museum

A raft remnant becomes its own Caribbean proscenium arch.  With puppet-like officials sporting regal historic garb, its legend, sets sail.  This sovereign stage of memories, maps and plans becomes vital to propagating a new homeland within the dream of migration.

Domenico Zindato, The Pure Hearts Rising Viewed from the Fortress of the Empty Thought, 2018, soft pastels, inks, acrylic on Japanese handmade paper “Okawara”, 39.4″ x 39.4″, unique

5 Domenico Zindato Andrew Edlin Gallery Art Basel

Personal mythology as compulsion.  Obsessive hieroglyphic markings investigate the cellular vibrations of life.  Atop color fields, hair-like lines of entanglement jazz quantum-physics patterning. 

Kati Vilim, Options 9, 2019, Venetian plaster, acrylic on panel, 12″ x 12″ each

6 Kati Vilim Imlay Gallery Aqua

Horseshoe-like angled shapes become animated as they rise, fall, shift and dance, reacting to the seemingly invisible electro-magnetic force.

Wendy Letven, Essence, 2019, paper construction, 16.9″ x 12″ x 1.2″

7 Wendy Letven NL=US Pulse

Precisely cut modeled papered arrays push their layered cloud fields of signals outward.  Each antenna invites connection through its port of spectral frequency. 

Hebime, Lab Work, 2019, acrylic on wood panel, 16.9″ x 12″ x 1.2″

8 Hebime YOD Pulse

Across a soothing density of layered-pigment enthusiasm, passionately carved surface exposes equanimous channels of topography. 

Guadalupe Maravilla, Disease Thrower #3, 2019, mixed media sculpture/shrine/instrument/headdress, 95″ x 55″ x 45″

9 Guadalupe Maravilla Jack Barrett Gallery NADA

Multiple amulets of focused healing double as totemic instruments.  While waves of calming tonal vibrations are summoned to regenerate one’s healthy system balance, negative spirits and suffering are driven out by the shaman’s rituals.

Annie Amelyte Kim, Gak Shi Tal, 2019, plexiglass, paper, iridescent paper, wood, 17 1/2″ x 23″ x 4″ 

10 Annie Amelyte Kim Independent Artist Project Satellite

Flawlessly cut materials gleam, salubrious and eternal.  Across layered sheaves and mirrored shapes, lilliputian windows peer into the future.  A sprig of synthetic vegetation pushes up through an edge’s seam, echoing nature’s tenacious proliferation.  An uncanny yet pleasant dejá-vu sensation permeates our gaze of tomorrow’s aesthetics. 

Top Ten Perennial – (established to legendary)

Imi Knobel, Face 7, 2002 – 2014, acrylic on plastic foil on cardboard, 14 x 14 1/4 in | 35.8 x 36.2 cm, edition: 3/5

1 Imi Knobel Ludorff Art Basel

Layered ocean-horizon, patterned-color fencing is squared against the sun.

Judy Pfaff, …wind-deer and the honey-grass…[8/12], 2017, woodcut, hand painted dye and ink, archival inkjet, clear plastic film49 1/4″ x 105″ (framed)

2 Judy Pfaff Tandem Press Ink Miami

Bucolic delftware patterning is subjugated by time-space distortion of quantum-particle spookiness.  Turbulent winds whip and distribute glutinous paths of rearrangement.

Beverly Fishman, Untitled (Pain, 2 ADHD), 2019, Urethane paint on wood, 42 1/2 x 39 1/2 in | 108 x 100.3 cm, unique

3 Beverly Fishman Miles McEnery Gallery Art Basel

A high-octane surface exudes an inner illusion of stability.  Racing stripes sport a “Formula One” confidence, projecting endurance and speed.  Beneath this illusion, edges glow abright with a fluorescent warning.

Elizabeth Murray, Shack, 1994, three-dimensional lithograph, 63″ x 51″ x 2″ | 160.1 x 129.5 x 5.1 cm, edition: 60

4 Elizabeth Murray ULAE Studios Art Basel

Animated surface map attempts to distract but ultimately directs to a fairy-tale pygmy structure and pop-up existence. 

Betye Saar, Gliding Into Midnight, 2019, mixed media assemblage tableau, 22″ x 36″ x 136″ | 55.9 x 91.4 x 350.5 cm

5 Betye Saar Robert Projects LA Art Basel

Replete with once stolen spirits of humanity, a crowded ghost vessel of remembrance glides over a map of slave-worker shipping placement.  The horror…

Katharina Fritsch, Oktopus / Octopus, 2010, Polyester and paint, 8 1/8″ x 17 3/4″ x 23 5/8″, unique

6 Katharina Fritsch Matthew Marks Gallery Art Basel

Held up as a prize, an alien form of life captures a bubble-head figure.  Legged, leveraged carnival-contrast ensues.

Daniel Buren, Tondo, 2018, Altuglas, self-adhesive strips and steel, 18 3/8″ x 20 3/8″ x 1 3/8″ | 47 x 52 x 3.5 cm

7 Daniel Buren Galeria Nara Roesler Art Basel

A doppelganger blazes a reflection of resplendent candy-like hues.  Both planes appear equal until we ferret out four panes of a probable double-slit experiment.  Light here takes on all its elusive wave-particle duality.  When observed, white becomes the new black.

Matthew Barney, Orange Turret, 2019, Graphite and gouache on paper in ultra high molecular weight plastic frame, 18 3/8″ x 20 3/8″ x 1 3/8″ | 47 x 52 x 3.5 cm, unique

8 Matthew Barney Gladstone Gallery Art Basel

Hued with Home Depot orange, a data-visualization appears within an injection-molded frame.  Channeling a futuristic Etch-a-Sketch, a machine-like illustration conveys the majesty of a mountain terrain.

Louise Bourgeois, Night and Day, 2007, archival dyes on hand-sewn silk and cotton collage, 33″ x 42″ each, edition of 9 variant pairs

9 Louise Bourgeois Carolina Nitsch Art Basel

A comparison forces recognition of the limitations of visibility across the electro-magnetic spectrum. 

Neil Jenney, Atmosphere, 1985, oil on panel, 33 “x 79 3/4″ x 5” | 83.8 x 202.6 x 12.7 cm, unique

10 Neil Jenney Barbara Mathes Gallery Art Basel

Like a pane out of the periodic table of emotional color, the window-like frame becomes a titled museum display, referencing tomorrow’s visually empty sky, today.