Behind the curtain with Knight Arts

September 2nd, 2011

Going behind the curtain at Gallery Diet

Published on 02 September 2011 by Anne Tschida in Miami


There are 18 pieces from seven artists in “Behind the Curtain, a Lock of Falling Hair.” The exhibit opened on Sept. 1 at Gallery Diet. And the interesting thing is, although one piece is a video covering a wall and several are floor sculptures, this show feels sparsely populated, giving the viewer time to absorb the disparate interpretations of, as the gallery describes it, a “delusional pop” form, with figurative indulgence and international playfulness.

New York artist Joshua Abelow has a number of small paintings, which he thinks can be considered a form of self-portraiture. On geometric-grid backgrounds, he put on simple eyes and nose, dancing stick figures and, in one case, his cell phone number. What jumps out immediately is the great texture — he brushes his oils on heavy burlap.

Texture is the most interesting element of the most interesting piece from the exhibit, from Miamian Martin Oppel. On the floor in the middle of the gallery, he made his interpretation of an Ikea throw rug, in this case in two-toned tan hues. Like a handmade rug, some parts are raised higher than others, the colors are not exactly matching from one square to another. Several square patches are coming unraveled. No, wait, they are actually being scattered after someone on opening night walked on it. The rug is really made from two shades of sand; it will never “be thrown” across another floor but this one. A superb piece. The precarious aluminum, rubber and linoleum sculpture next to it, also from Oppel, looks at first to be sturdy metal — but it sways and seems as though it could fall a part at anytime. There are two eyes that are attached by magnet — they too can be moved around. Called “Untitled Squiggle,” it, too, is captivating in all its levels.

Another local, Nick Lobo, has a video in the back room, of a masked spray-painter squirting a wall with grape syrup, to a soundtrack of Justin Bieber slowed down 800 percent — toxic on so many levels.

The gelatin prints from Talia Chetrit, including her portrait in a naked handstand with minimal color and dramatic shadow, also ask for time and attention. Behind these curtains, there is much going on.

“Behind the Curtain, a Lock of Falling Hair” runs through Oct. 1 at Gallery Diet, 174 N.W. 23rd St., Miami;