I originally planned to put together a Top Five list for this month’s Second Saturday Art Walk, but in the end I came across too many can’t-miss exhibitions — a very good, very rare surprise. With Art Walk’s crowds ballooning as of late, it seems Miami’s galleries are rising to the occasion. This weekend, they will prove that the sometimes-staid medium of photography is alive and well in the Magic City, with at least four must-see photo shows opening up in Wynwood. On top of that, there will be plenty of performance art (some of which provided by yours truly), installations, and good-old-fashioned painting to satisfy both the avant-garde and the traditionalist.
1. (Thanks, But I’m) Just Looking by Peggy Levison Nolan @ Dina Mitrani Gallery
You can recognize one of Peggy Nolan’s photos almost instantly. Her aggrandizement of the everyday is unmistakably her, as she is unmistakably a treasure of the Miami arts community (just ask any former FIU student). Continuing her search for beauty and poetry in life’s ordinariness, (Thanks, But I’m) Just Looking will feature various photographic formats illustrating Nolan’s almost obsessive observation of her daily surroundings. Learn more about the exhibition HERE.
2. You Are Always Here by Catalina Jaramillo @ Dimensions Variable
Catalina Jaramillo has been exploring “the universal notions of transience, loss, grief, oneness, and impermanence” through performance and installation works for years now, and with a renewed vigor in the past year. Her project for Dimensions Variable seems like a culmination of sorts for the artist, combining many aspects of her recent work, including performance as attempt to deal with the death of her mother: “In reviving the memory of her departed mother, the artist will go through a series of rituals that serve as bereavement vehicles in many cultures.” I’m tearing up already. Learn more about the exhibition HERE.
3. Nine by Samantha Salzinger @ Gallery Diet
Just days after an immaculate installation at Dimensions Variable with fellow artist Felice Grodin, Samantha Salzinger puts on a show of all new works at Gallery Diet. This will be the photographer’s second solo exhibition at Gallery Diet and continues her photographic play on “our fantasies, fears, and desires” via the subtle exploration of imagery from popular culture. The worlds Salzinger painstakingly creates and captures with her camera are instantly and eerily familiar, yet intriguingly vague, brilliant, unforgettable. Learn more HERE.
4. Thin Walls by Janelle Proulx @ Neox Image
Fort Lauderdale artist Janelle Proulx makes her Miami debut with a series of dyptichs exploring domestic life and relationships. The photgraphs from the Thin Walls series have the uncanny ability to place the viewer squarely in the middle of the action, like a guest enduring a quarrel between lovers. Or is it a brother and sister discussing the death of a parent? What you see says more about you than the subjects photographed. Learn more HERE.
5. The Forest for the Trees by Hernan Bas @ Frederic Snitzer
I’m hoping Snitzer will end a string of duds with a stellar exhibition by their star painter Hernan Bas, whose layered compositions are almost always enrapturing. Lets see if one of Miami’s foremost art stars has still got it. Learn more HERE.
6. Just As You Were by Jipsy Castillo @ Butter Gallery
Four months after Francesco Lo Castro’s unabashed ode to Miami and many of its eccentrics, we get another taste of Miami subculture, this time from long-time Miami nightlife photographer Jipsy Castillo (aka Nefarious Girl). With Castillo’s long track record shooting Miami getting down, you might just see yourself in one of the hundreds of photographs on exhibit. Read a recent review with Castillo HERE.
7. Misc @ de la Cruz Collection
Stop by the de la Cruz Collection for a performance by dark folk act Dracula, whose sound Sweat Records describes “sorta like if Vashti Bunyan were two people or statues were crying blood.” Sounds good to me! Art Walk will also be your last chance to see site-specific installations by Christy Gast and Karen Rifas. If the de la Cruz packs in any more contemporary Miami artists, we might have to start calling it a gallery! Learn more HERE.
8. Artbitch @ Calix Gustav Gallery
Inspired by Brazilian electro rock band CSS, Artbitch claims to “convey the rebellious attitude and suffering angst of today’s artist.” However presumptuous the endeavor, you should stop by Calix Gustav Gallery’s last show at its current location. After a reinvention as Calix Gustav Projects (à la Spinello Gallery’s recent switch to Spinello Projects), the gallery hopes to continue functioning with seasonal experimental happenings beginning next year. Learn more HERE.
9. The Compromise by Brandon Opalka @ Dorsch Gallery
If you didn’t catch Brandon Opalka’s show at the last Art Walk, you can still see it at Dorsch before it closes on March 26. The Compromise is a solo exhibition of paintings, drawings, and mixed media sculpture by one of Miami’s most prolific painters. Learn more HERE.
10. Look, Mom!, Sebastian Silva @ David Castillo Gallery
Curated by Dorit Arad, the DC Gallery presents an artist not on its roster, Chilean Sebastian Silva. A proven director — his 2010 film La Nana was fantastic — I’m eager to see Silva’s comical vision realized in drawings and paintings. Learn more HERE.
Misael Soto is a South Florida artist who works at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood and blogs at Art. Music. Film. Whatever.