Nina Johnson presents First Light, the gallery’s third solo exhibition by Bhakti Baxter. The exhibition serves as an ode to the Florida landscape—featuring a new series of water-based drawings, a fleet of hand-made surfboards, and sculptures made from detritus found in and around the Biscayne Bay.
All the works in First Light have water as a unifying element, an element whose impact on life in Miami is immeasurable. The surfboards, each hand-crafted by the artist, are functional objects that trace their own lines in water. They are accompanied by a series of ink drawings made by letting wet ink follow its natural course on the page. The sculptures on display are crafted from materials gathered on canoe trips and walks around islands in the Bay—coconuts and rubber balls, driftwood and pilings, buoys from a fisherman’s trap. These repurposed items have all been reshaped by the sea, and they awaken as living characters when assembled together.
First Light brings together the multi-faceted life of Baxter—a sculptor and painter as well as a musician and surfer—with these new works. The exhibition title captures the time with the best conditions to surf, a specific Florida surfing break, and the vision of sunrise over the Atlantic coast.
A Miami native, Bhakti Baxter has been a leading figure in the Miami’s contemporary art since the late 1990s when he ran the The House, an alternative art space with Daniel Arsham, Martin Oppel and Tao Rey. His practice ranges from wall-sculptures to installations and painting. An interest in anthropology and organic processes carries through his work in different mediums. Baxter has shown with Nina Johnson since 2011—with two solo exhibitions, 2014 and Rompelotas. He has most recently shown at Manifesta 11 in Zurich, and he has had prior solo exhibitions at the Wolfsonian Institute and the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami. His works are in numerous public collections including those of the ICA Miami and the Perez Art Museum Miami. His work has been reviewed in the New York Times, Art in America, Modern Painters, and the Miami Herald.
Nina Johnson is a contemporary art space in Miami, Florida. Founded as Gallery Diet in 2007, the gallery has produced exhibitions by emerging and established artists from around the world.