“ROUGH & TUMBLE” Art Exhibition opens with FAT Village Art Walk
Artists from South Florida and beyond will occupy an 8000 square foot warehouse and alternative exhibition space, creating new works that hang from the rafters, conform to, and are inspired by the unique site. Installation art, mixed media, Sculpture, Video art, and Interactive works are included.
29 artists in the exhibition were selected through a part juried, part invitational process. The artists are linked by their fresh approaches to the ROUGH & TUMBLE theme. Selected artists were asked to respond to the following definitions; ROUGH: “characterized by violent, random, disorderly action and struggles, unrestrained, marked by bursts of destructive force or intense activity,” and TUMBLE: “an unorganized collection or mixture of various things, described as Raw, Textured, Volatile, and/or Arbitrary, Hybrid forms.”
New artworks, custom-made for the site, will be unveiled for the first time by half of the artists, including Gabrielle Wood, Erman, Stacy Streeter, Cara McKinley, Martin Casuso, and Kerry Phillips.
Upon entering the rollback doors to the warehouse, visitors will be drawn to the enticing artworks of Clara Varas, Jee Park, and Michael Covello. The forceful, yet calculated brushstrokes of Clara Varas, graduate of The School of Visual Arts New York, are an exploration of coastal cities and their disappearing natural habitats, issues concerning displacement, migration and identity. Scratches, marks and streaks are combined with hidden images and well-placed additions of collage and unidentified globular substances.
In the artists’ own words: “Much of my work is done on cut, torn or crumbled paper using collage and assemblage as a way to explore and blur the lines between sculpture, painting, drawing and installation. I seldom exhibit my work the same way twice since I never really consider a piece finished, but rather an evolving thing which is constantly and spontaneously reacting to its immediate surroundings.
Michael Covello, a graduate student at the University of South Florida, is also influenced by his surrounding landscape. His work combines 2-dimensional abstractions with found objects that deliver a commanding physicality as they tumble from the painting onto the floor.
Michael’s elegiac statement describes the connection between his inspiration and creations: “My childhood was a rupture within the sparkling tapestry of suburbia. Surrounded by an emerald patchwork of manicured estates, the bedraggled household of my upbringing sat within this affluent community as an eyesore. The malignant tones of an overgrowth of weeds, the sour grime of an abandoned swimming pool, the vulgar olive-toned shards of a discarded bottle; these characterized my immediate landscape. And from this early age I realized that this space was marked, as was I, as a product of domestic disturbance, socio-economic inferiority, psychological deterioration, and neglect. This reality, along with the constant effort of my family to escape our circumstance, became two schematics through which I understood the world. I work in the studio the same way I navigate the memory of that environment from my childhood. My paintings are born out of the unkempt, where things aren’t clean or easy. Things are messy. They interrupt themselves. They fall apart. They are salvaged and repurposed. Gestures pile up like dirty dishes in the sink. Colors work paycheck to paycheck. And in the dense spaces I create, formal elements need to work hard if they are going to succeed; otherwise they get swallowed up into the humming dissonance.”His 20 foot wide installation will be newly birthed for this exhibit.
Viewers will next be confronted by a life-size tank; a kinetic sculpture created by Ryan Farrell. This ambitious 25 foot sculpture, a replica of the Abrams tank, is characteristic of his process, using recycled materials derived from transportation vehicles; in this case, it is primarily made of bicycle parts. The unit is designed to be operated by 3 live performers.
Other imposing works include six artworks that hang 19 feet down from the rafters of the vaulted ceiling. Artist Randy Burman was the first to install “Fever In The Funk House,” made of linear elements that tumble down in an orderly configuration. The components, which have now been uniformly pruned, were collected or found by the wayside.
Kerry Phillips, who lovingly devotes her time to re-purposing discarded objects and transforming them into sculpture, will also be creating an installation from ceiling to floor, using only items that were found on, or around the site of the warehouse.
Florida natives Remy Bordas & Marisa Finos were inspired by the tumultuous nature of the James River in Virginia, where they recently moved, because according to the artists, it is the “site of many historic (often brutal) events in our nation's early history, and still continues to serve as a site of transition and transformation--influencing lives across the entire state of Virginia.” "Through James" is a sound and video installation focused on abstracting the experience of approaching the James River when it is at its roughest. For this exhibit, the artists are creating a 12 foot “tunnel” in which viewers will symbolically cross through the river.
Viewers can also interact with artworks by Paula Kolek, Matthew Falvey, and Andres Ramirez. Andres Ramirez’s video and fabric installation, “La luz y la carne” is another sort of tunnel, in this case representing stretched skin. He allows participants to walk into the fabric structure as “they too become part of the fetish, by pushing and pulling the fabric and becoming one with the actions happening in the video. “
Visitors will be also simultaneously repulsed and attracted to fleshy, visceral works of Miranda Burns, Rosemarie Romero, Gabrielle Wood, and Caroline Collette, which involve pre-chewed gum, partially concealed porn and “muff” magazines, and fleshy silicone, embedded with human hair.
Other artists like Stephanie Cafcules and Paul McClelland were selected for their use of rough or raw materials. Stephanie Cafcules is interested in seeing how far she can push the physical properties of her chosen material, allowing for unexpected and uncontrolled outcomes. Stephanie will be creating a colossal installation from scavenged polystyrene, which has been manipulated and transformed with spray paint and acetone to possess an intriguing rock-like, textured surface.
Paul McClelland’s installation “GW Series” involves a cluster of disembodied George Washington heads, made of cast cement, worked over with a decayed and partially eaten surface. The heads will “bloom” and morph throughout the course of the exhibit, as they grow a mossy green casing. Paul’s second work, “Stress Test,” a mechanical, kinetic sculpture that involves a chisel being hammered into a cement head, will dominate the vast space with the reverberating sound of metal hitting metal. Paul describes “Stress Test” as “a situational experience that will create an atmosphere of annoying repetition not unlike a water torture."
The exhibition is housed within “The Projects North,” in FAT Village ARTS District, the leading exhibition space for monthly art walks in Fort Lauderdale. There will be two public receptions, on Aug. 31 & Sept. 28, as part of the monthly (4th Saturday) art walk in FAT Village, which spans 4 square blocks and is populated with artist’s studios, galleries & other creative businesses. To see images of a few previous exhibits in the space, go to http://www.fatvillageprojects.com/
The closing reception for Rough & Tumble, on Oct. 5, will be part of the 4th Annual ART FALLOUT Event. ART FALLOUT is a collaboration between Girls Club Art Collection, 1310 Gallery, The Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, FAT Village Arts District, 3rd Avenue artists, and other local venues. There will be a shuttle bus rotating between each of these locations. Multiple venues will host their own new art exhibitions simultaneously for one night, and all events will be FREE, and open to the public. ART FALLOUT venues are unified in the mission to bring greater awareness to the thriving art scene within the downtown Fort Lauderdale area, as well as celebrate the Broward County Cultural Division’s designation of October as “a month for art,” supporting the production and presentation of contemporary art in the local community.
About the CURATOR of “Rough & Tumble”:
Lisa Rockford received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Lisa is an Assistant Professor at Broward College, and resident artist at Sailboat Bend artist Lofts. Lisa was the principal organizer in converting the lofts’ 3 floors of common space into a public exhibition space, 1310 Gallery. Lisa immediately gained media attention for her curated exhibitions at the gallery, in which she collaborated with prominent art professionals from universities, museums, and galleries in Miami and Broward, including FIU, FAU, The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, Girls Club Art Collection, Gallery Schuster Berlin/Miami, Fountainhead Art Residency, Carol Jazzar Contemporary art, and more. Three of these exhibitions received grants from the Broward County Cultural Division, she has been invited as a guest juror for Broward Art Guild exhibitions, and has repeatedly presented educational tours for Art Nexus Magazine at the International art fair Art Basel Miami Beach.