Having recently come back from a visit to New York City I decided to check out A Sense of Place, at Carol Jazzar Contemporary Art curated by Guerra de La Paz. The title of the show resonated with me after my trip; it was strange and wonderful to be a visitor to the city that had been my home for over twelve years. I’m not in love with Miami yet (there, I said it), I like it more and more each day but it’s not the love affair I felt when I first set foot in NY. Within this struggle, I myself have been thinking about place - how the physical place is different than your inner place, and how they go together and differ.
A Sense of Place brings together both emerging and established artists, many from outside of Miami, and examines places of all kinds, physical, metaphysical and everything in between. In Cassie Marie Edward’s work, a sense of place grows out of nuances in beautifully painted watercolors of an empty room with a door left ajar leading to an adjacent space. Francis Acea investigates the seemingly endless place of the Internet and the World Wide Web, documenting just a small example of this by creating collages of his findings of “W” images from a one-day search of the letter.
The Carol Jazzar exhibition space itself fits nicely with the concept of the show. Unlike conventional industrial and commercial spaces, Jazzar’s gallery is also her home. Tucked in the residential neighborhood of Miami Shores, Jazzar’s main gallery resides in a beautifully converted garage with wood beamed ceilings. Her back yard is lush with tropical foliage around and in ground pool set into a stone foundation. The exhibition is split between the garage space and inside the house itself, rooms that have been committed to exhibiting art.
Looking into scuba masks in “Watching and Waiting” by Jonathan Rockford, a video of eyes are blinking and gazing back at you behind air bubbles. The piece is reminiscent of Tony Oursler’s eerily realistic and humorous projections on dolls and spheres. I was unable to attend the opening but was told that Rockford’s scuba masks had taken over Jazzar’s pool, the illuminated eyes peering out of the pool at the guests. The paintings of David Willett’s were some of my favorites in the show. Normal, seemingly quiet settings in actuality turn out to be an imaginary place where the earth hovers over this unknown location, uncanny to our own. In “Anticipation”, the planet illuminates a back porch and deck. “Tension” shows the earth almost touching the horizon line and engulfing the highway below.
At first glance, Jessica Wohl’s work equates place with home in her meticulously drawn ink on paper drawings. The houses look like manufactured suburban homes that all look the same, down to the manicured landscapes. On closer inspection, there is a skewed individuality to these homes. Some appear as if they may fall into one another while others are devoid of any windows, suggesting a sense of place shut out from the outside world.
Images: Jessica Wohl, Blind Houses Black, 2010, 30" x 44" Ink on Stonehenge; Jonathan Rockford, Watching and Waiting, 2010, Pool Installation, Scuba Masks and MP4 players; David Willett, Tension, 2009, 24" x 18", Oil on Canvas. Courtesy Carol Jazzar Contemporary Art.