What Art Can Say Louder Than Words

Arts / Article

It’s a cliche, but also true: art, when its done well, can tell more elaborate tales than words, often because it allows your own imagination to be part of the yarn. You can read in a photograph your own view of a particular situation; the emotions provoked

by a sculpture can mesh with your own particular history. And of course, the histories and backgrounds and world views of Miami artists are as diverse as it gets.

Take for example the exhibit “The Road to Calle: Republic of China” opening at the Awarehouse gallery during tomorrow’s Second Saturday. The manipulated photography in this show just won first place in the International Photography Awards and will be moving on the New York at the end of the month. They come from the lens of Colombian native –now Miami resident — Claudia Calle (get the extra punch to the title?) during her travels through China. The photographs, tweaked with collage and paint, reflect the frenetic changes going on in that society, focusing mostly on globalization, copyright, and mass production issues.

“I create from a spontaneous place where, even if only for a brief moment through the lens, I can expose the wondrous nuances of my surroundings,” explains Calle. “Experimenting with photography, painting, and non-conventional materials allows my canvas to expand, making all traditional techniques or rules disappear.”

Calle’s Republic of China series landed IPA’s top spot out of 15,000 submissions from 103 countries. Quite a Miami achievement.

Another example of work that tells layered and complex tales comes from Angel Vapor, who was born, raised, and educated in Cuba. In his sublime sculptures that are part of “Constructions” opening up at Edge Zones, that history reveals itself, if subtly. In Vapor’s Constructions there is always a tension: the materials may be hard — bronze and clay — but the results feel fragile and delicate. The statues may be positioned in military-looking stances, but their faces reflect not aggression, but detachment. There is a tug and pull of emotions that emanate from Vapor’s work (which also comprises painting and drawing and has been exhibited on both sides of the Atlantic), and then play off our own. The artist’s expert skill and eye are immediately apparent, including in the precise placement of his work and the lighting of the show. Vapor is an astute student of the architecture of objects, social structures, and lives.

“Angel Vapor: Constructions” opening Oct. 9, through Nov. 14, at Edge Zones Art Center, 47 N.E. 25th St.; Wynwood; www.edgezones.org; 305-303-8852. “The Road to Calle: Republic of China” opening Oct. 9 at Luis Perez Galeria/AwareHouse, 550 N.W. 29th St., Wynwood; awarehousemiami.com.