The Go! Shop presented the Strangeways group show at the Nice Look Gallery at the Wynwood Walls in celebration of the Strangeways Magazine release. The group exhibition featured various artists who have contributed to past publications and the new magazine debut. Kubiat Nnamdie, Johnny Laderer, Augor, Dana Goldstein, Emmett Moore, Nick Lobo, Monica Uszerowicz, Steve Saiz, Jessy Nite, Brian Butler, Ahol, Denise Ekendahl, Patti Hernandez, Jill Weisberg, Luis Pinto and John Vale represented Miami as a strong group of up and coming artists. They showcased some of their most recent works ranging in artistic practice from video to sculpture, photography, site specific installation, drawing and print.
As a limited edition collector’s magazine Strangeways has become an increasingly sought after Miami based art publication with a distinct edge based on a deep involvement in the emerging local art scene. The idea behind the magazine has also simultaneously evolved into the Strangeways art collective who now also arranges and hosts events and alternative art exhibitions. The works is the group show were not unified by a curatorial theme but instead came together as a marker of this specific point in time and place.
Jill Weisberg presented a nail polish painting on a back page of a 1993 Hustler Magazine. Entitled “As If By Magic” the piece explores distortion, context and unconventional materials. Says Weisberg,
“I took something with one context, which is pornography and 1-900 call lines, and changed it into silhouettes so that what is now seen is iridescent, glittery fields of color.”
By using something as quintessentially feminine as nail polish Weisberg reclaimed control of a medium produced for a male audience that portrayed women as sex symbols. “As If By Magic” turned the women into symbols of femininity and rendered them into a new definition of sexual power in pink glitter.
“Southern Pride (Reconstruction)” by Johnny Laderer is constructed out of two different flags. Explains Laderer,
“I cut the red out of the confederate flag leaving only the ‘stars and bars’ and replaced what was red with the stripes of a gay pride flag. I duct taped them together.”
“It’s sort of a reconstructed or idealized ‘what if.’ I am interested also in the identity of being from the south. What it feels like to be on the losing side of something. ‘Heritage not hate’ is a popular saying and justification for still flying the confederate flag. This is a step further.”
A “what if?” thought process also inspired Denise Ekendahl in her “The Alternative Timeline of US History Series” which comprises of an alternate American history book as well as five ink on wood drawings of presidential candidates who lost the general election. Through sketched portraits of George Bush, Henry Clay, Horatio Seymour, James G. Blaine and Barry Goldwater Ekendahl explores ideas around the different courses history might have taken and the implications of the made choices on our present and future.
Tara Long created her prominent site specific installation “RITUAL X” with found objects, house paint, wood, string and video projection. Found objects like rubber animals and a kiddie pool express the artist’s memories, fantasies and reality and present what she calls a “gateway between past, present and future that slips from one place to another within time and space.” A performance by Long in collaboration with Luis Pinto took place within the confines of the installation and added another artistic dimension by relaying their interpretation of “Ritual X.”
The Strangeways group exhibition was a perfect companion for the latest edition of the magazine. The show represented Miami’s young art scene at this present moment as these young creatives explore ideas and thoughts relevant to them and their peers, ranging from gender, sexuality, identity, history, popular culture to definitions of contemporary art.