AN ARTIST’S PERSPECTIVE
The sheer abundance of art in Miami and Miami Beach during Art Basel is staggering. One could easily spend three days absorbing the work at Basel itself, not to mention the 25 peripheral art fairs and other art events and openings happening concurrently throughout the city. While the atmosphere is fun and exhilarating, the crowds can be overwhelming, and museum fatigue is physically and mentally exhausting. What I did not expect were the quiet moments of resonance. For me personally, as an artist trained in the craft-based media of fiber and textiles, these moments often came in the subtle transformation of materials, the ability of physical objects that exists in space to continually unfold in captivating layers of nuance.
I was entranced by material explorations that beckon the viewer to look closer. For example, Tacita Dean’s work, “LA Exuberance,” at first glance appears to be a series of photographs of clouds. Upon further investigation, one learns that Dean spent over two years honing her process in creating these handdrawn, three-color blend lithographs.
And then there was Marina Abramović’s photograph, “Artist Portrait with a Candle” (from the series “With Eyes Closed I See Happiness”), which depicts the artist in a moment of quiet contemplation. When attempting to photograph the work, it is impossible not to catch yourself in the reflection. I could not help but wonder if Abramović intended this phenomenon, simultaneously acknowledging while transcending the banality of the selfie.
Amy Yao’s poetic works at Various Small Fires were deceptive and beautiful. Her installation entitled “Doppelgangers” consisted of a large mound of rice grains, beguilingly interspersed with both real and artificial pearls. A few additional favorites included Jerónimo Elespe’s densely textured surfaces of Japanese ink built up and removed from handmade paper, Mario García Torres’ collection of bronze snails coated with gold on the inside, and Pae White’s installation of small mirrors suspended in a dazzling play of light, color and reflections.