Anthony Japour Visits the David Castillo Gallery
When Art Basel Miami Beach first came to Miami Beach in 2002 [postponed from 2001 because of the tragic events of 911] it instantly put Miami on the map as one of the most important art destinations in the United States. With it, many exciting new galleries have sprouted up in the Wynwood Arts District.
In 2009, David Lombardi, Tony Goldman and Thea Goldman founded the Wynwood Arts District Association with the mission to promote Wynwood as the epicenter of the arts and creative businesses in Greater Miami while enhancing the character of the factory and warehouse district. One such venue is the David Costillo Gallery, which opened in 2005 in a dilapidated warehouse, and maintains a full program exhibiting emerging and mid-career artists.
Jose Alvarez, "The Arrival" (left)
Keltie Ferris, "Candy Darling" (back)
Fernando & Humberto Campana, "Rope Chair (Red)" (center)
Andy Coolquitt, "Le Trou" (center lighting)
Jose Alvarez, "Constantly Expanding #4" (right)
Pepe Mar, "Cabeza V"
Susan Lee-Chun, "Sue (autographed)"
As a direct countervailing force to Alvarez’ cosmic universe, is Brooklyn-based Keltie Ferris', Candy Darling, a playful and grounded work on canvas that is wholly abstract and blurred with its layers of applied oil and acrylic paint that are then spray painted with another layer of oil paint.
Illusions Lounge is rounded out by Nicole Cherubini’s terracotta and earthenware sculptures that look like paintings -- in one instance, Box #8, 2010 is something that looks like a crushed cardboard box!
In the Annex, Gallery Projects exhibits works by the gallery artists Adler Guerrier, Aramis Gutierrez, Quisqueya Henriquez, Susan Lee-Chun, Pepe Mar, Glexis Novoa, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, Frances Trombly and Wendy Wischer. While there is no expressed relationship between Gallery Projects and Illusions Lounge, it feels like a continuous flow particularly when one comes to Susan Lee-Chun’s video of Sue Rehearsals, 2010 where the artist herself plays a celebrity TV chef. In three separate monitors so you can view the work regardless of your stature, Lee-Chun has created a parody of what has become a formulaic television experience. While America continues to be the cultural melting pot of the world, I take from her video that there may remain a lingering desire to fit into a mold, in this case an “all-American blonde.” Lee-Chun creates her sets, and while I was told by David Castillo that the kitchen set was a two-dimensional cardboard painting, it sure looked to me like a regular kitchen.
Similarly, Frances Trombly creates stitched works that look like the real thing; I was simply amazed at the technical skill required to produce a work like Receipt (Community Thrift Store), 2010.
Pepe Mar, known for his wildly colorful collage sculptures, is experimenting with a monochromatic palate - gold leaf, a perfect choice in these economic times where gold prices continue to climb.
In Aramis Gutierrez’ Patty Kelly, 2010 (a beautifully rendered portrait of one of the 1980’s Robert Palmer girls) one sees the idealized beauty with an obvious blemish on her left cheek. Gutierrez forces the viewer to choose, or not to choose, to see the flaw or the incomprehensible. For me this work brought to mind the work of an emerging artist in the Chinese Contemporary art movement, Ling Jian, who plants flaws in perfection such as in Nameless, 2003 where he painted a perfect beauty with one almost imperceptible flaw- a bloodshot eye.
David Castillo Gallery
2234 NW 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33127
Dear AJ: I was given a [large] painting as a gift and I am trying to find out more about it. It is too large for my house and not my taste so I am thinking of selling it. I have tried researching on the Internet but could not find any information. -- Samantha
Dear Samantha: I know you’d probably like to wiggle your nose and have that painting disappear. But it won’t be easy. One of the most important things I instruct my clients is to start an “Art File” and store as much information as you can for every work of art acquired. If you have made the purchase yourself, keep the bill of sale. As inconsequential value it may seem at the time it was acquired or gifted, art is a tangible asset and needs to be treated like one. If you are ever given a work of art as a gift, you should ask for the name of the artist, date of production, medium, size, and previous ownership. The chain of ownership of artwork is known as “provenance.” I suggest you go back to the person who gave you the painting and ask him/her to provide this information for you. You can then locate art dealers or galleries who are actively selling the artist’s works. You can also try to consult with a specialist at one of the auction houses.
Please email questions you’ve always wanted to ask, comments, or suggestions for future columns to Anthony Japour at email@example.com