Twenty Twenty Projects has settled into a new space in Hialeah, out of the traditional gallery locations of Miami. The first exhibition at this site, “...just kidding, there is no theme”, is curated by Miami artist Jay Hines, and although no overwhelming theme exists, the different works feel coherent as a whole. There is no defined continuity, but there is a rudimentary or earthy feel to the exhibited works.
John Bucklin, a San Francisco based artist who pans for gold and explores life in the wilderness, exhibits two works that show how man might glamorize, harness and enjoy the ruggedness of nature. “Huckleberry Jam” consists of five jars of jam stacked one above the other, with labels listing the simple ingredients. Huckleberries can’t be cultivated, thus increasing the worth of the fruit. The transfiguration of the wild berry into a marketable product and the rough printed labels make clear that even when a force of nature becomes tamed, it still retains its original strength and value.
With “Plain Rock Tumbler” the contraption resembles a ready-made sculpture, but in actuality, it is a functional tool which polishes opals. The anchor is a weighted paint can that allows for a mason jar tumbler to harness the river’s energy to smooth these delicate stones. That the artist chose to use the river as his tool to further perfect a natural stone repeats the same idea as above, that nature in its most wild is at its most elegant, whether channeled for a purpose or not.
Another work that takes into account the rawness of nature while keeping in mind the beauty of its original form is Martin Oppel’s “Untitled (Strata Fiction F).” The sculpture appears to be a string of vertical rocks standing haphazardly almost end to end. Though they appear organic, each is made from foam and is meticulously shaped and modeled to look like stones in one architectural piece. The tower of rocks is reminiscent of a cairn, a pile of stones hikers sometimes leave to demarcate the trail, or other cultures used to note landmarks, burial sites, mountain summits and astronomical points of reference. As the sculpture is drilled into the floor, this group of stones leaves its indelible mark on the gallery space like the cairns attempt to do in nature.
Although the show has no named theme, all the artists are each other’s contemporaries and their works seem to somehow inform the others. The exhibition has a jaunty, organic feel to it, with it’s rough sculptures, found objects and simple imagery, as a whole it works as a breathing body that holds one’s attention.
(*Images: John Bucklin, Huckleberry Jam, mixed media, courtesy of Twenty Twenty Projects. Martin Oppel, Untitled (Strata Fiction F), cement, EPS foam, enamel, pyrite, oil paint, spackle, acrylic paint, Miami limestone, architectural expansion foam, ceiling spray texture, courtesy of Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris.)