Take this art to The Bank

Arts / Article

Downtown Miami is still an undiscovered treasure. For most, it has been a fairly no-go zone, at least in terms of actually strolling its sidewalks. That’s a real shame, as the architecture and history in the Art Deco buildings are truly amazing. Now, there’s an extra excuse to go take a self-guided tour, as a destination in one of these classic old beauties, the Christopher Miro Gallery, now sits in The Bank. On North East First Street, it’s one of several great examples of 1920s and ’30s architecture that still exist in the area.

The young gallerist Miro is inspired by these surroundings, which is why he opened his first anniversary show in the lobby of The Bank, with the aptly named title “Been Around the Block.” It’s a painting show with three artists, each with two pieces. Maybe it’s the setting, but the paintings exude a classic flair.

The landscapes from Jovan Karlo Villalba are painted on stainless steel, fitting in a way with a Deco aura. Waterfalls, broken bridges, dense thicket come to life, move and shiver against the metallic shine.

Shie Moreno created an interesting mix of abstract and figurative imagery. Among drips and swirls emerge (sometimes not immediately apparent) a ballerina, a rooster, a fish. In a much more monotone piece, two dark eyes stare out of a canvas also dotted with what looks like coffee stains. These works on paper are mounted on the wall without frames, revealing the uneven edges and letting the works interact with the space itself, instead of being confined to a definitive square.

Lorie Setton’s seductive pieces have an initial Georgia O’Keeffe feel, with the pastel colors and light more reminiscent of the American Southwest than with the intense color schemes of subtropical Miami. But then the lunar type of landscape starts to looks more like folds of a blanket or sheet, and the vertical folds in one horizon starts to look like female anatomy. There’s quite a bit going on here.

Miro clearly wants to highlight and help develop new talent and new terrain, in both the literal and metaphorical sense. Like other off-the-beaten path galleries, the journey and the destination become one, worth the visit in order to really take in what’s on display and to make a discovery.

“Been Around the Block” at the Christopher Miro Gallery, 137 N.E. First St., downtown Miami; 305-741-0058.