Miami Art Fairs: Aqua Art Miami

There is nothing that the art world loves more than four days of non-stop money spending and networking. The Miami art fairs are quick to come and go, but this week DailyServing will track some of the highs and lows of this year’s spectacle. DailyServing writers John Pyper, Benjamin Bellas and Rebekah Drysdale weigh in on the more noteworthy works exhibited this year.

We continue this week’s coverage with Benjamin Bellas’ review of some of the works on view in Aqua Art Miami.

Megan Whitmarsh. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Concurrent with Art Basel Miami Beach and located nearby the main fair was the Aqua Art Miami contemporary art fair. This year the fair returned to its original location at the Aqua Hotel where its first incarnation was presented in 2005.  Situated firmly in the realm of the “hotel room as gallery” model,  Aqua’s organizers have stated their mission is “to promote innovative programming from the west coast as well as the greater USA and abroad, with a particular interest in young dealers and galleries with strong emerging artist programs.”  This year’s rendition was no different with a heavy emphasis on west coast galleries with a sampling of east cost and Canadian spaces.  As with anything that embraces the terminology “innovative programming” the results of this conglomeration of galleries in this context were mostly uneven.

Among the more accomplished work on view was Megan Whitmarsh’s showing at the San Francisco gallery Michael Rosenthal’s space.  In this assortment of pieces, Whitmarsh is working primarily with embroidery thread and spraypaint on fabric.  In them, Whitmarsh co-mingles large abstractions with small figurative elements to create her colorful and textured canvases.  House plants, bipedal primates, robots, and various individuals dressed ready for the clubs find themselves dwarfed by the geometric abstractions that serve as their stage set.  Whitmarsh focuses her wide net of playful figuration and abstraction by stating:

Lauren DiCioccio, 17JAN10 (reggie bush), 2010. Photo courtesy of the artist.

“I am a child of the 70s whose sense of futurism is informed by Star Wars (fucked-up dusty robots) instead of Tomorrow Land. A future with entropy and drug use and weeds growing in the cracks between the scratched plexiglass windows of the geodesic domes. Bits of yarn and dusty houseplants. If this sounds bleak, I don’t mean for it to. Perhaps the healthiest kind of futurism is one that admits entropy and flux. Perfection is suspicious; worn and dusty can mean well-loved, too.”

Another bright spot happened to be the work by Lauren DiCioccio in the space occupied by Jack Fischer Gallery.  Here DiCioccio embroidered over various pages from the New York Times.  The various colors of threads are left loosely flowing from the imagery that has been stitched over, while showing through the vast empty space of the cotton is the rest of the newspaper page’s original elements.  DiCioccio’s interest in these works of the physical/tangible beauty of commonplace mass-produced media-objects is reinforced to good effect both through her methodology and subject.  Although DiCioccio’s use of  embroidery differs from Whitmarsh’s in approach and effect, the result is no less satisfying.