This summer, Oolite Arts in Miami Beach will present two new exhibitions: “Lean-To,” Oolite’s annual artist-in-residence exhibition featuring works by 15 Miami-based artists, and “At The Edge,” highlighting six female artists who are working in hard-edge abstraction. Both exhibitions open Wednesday, June 8, at 924 and 928 Lincoln Road with a public reception starting at 7 p.m.
Inspired by the architectural form of a lean-to—a temporary, often improvised shelter–“Lean-To” reimagines systems of support, ranging from the spiritual to environmental and economical, as well as preservation and care. Using varying media and personal entry points, these works examine how these structures manifest across time and space. Throughout the exhibit, artists reflect on current events and tangible themes, such as migration and justice.
“’Lean-To’ has a double meaning,” said Leilani Lynch, The Bass Museum of Art. Lynch got the idea for the showcase while visiting the artists in their studios. She says, “It’s a temporary structure, or improvised shelter, and it’s also symbolically leaning toward something in the future. Many of the artists are also thinking about care in some way—whether it’s the rituals they perform for self-care or their care for the community and the environment.”
The visual and cinematic art residents participating in the “Lean-To” exhibit are: Jen Clay, Yanira Collado, Rose Marie Cromwell, Carolina Cueva, Co-residents Rev. Houston R. Cypress and Jean Sarmiento, Mark Fleuridor, Friday, Felice Grodin, T Eliott Mansa, Reginald O’Neal, Edison Peñafiel, Ema Ri, Greko Sklavounos, and Roscoè B. Thické III.
Several of the artists have created new or site-specific works for the exhibition. O’Neal will present a powerful piece with multiple elements reflecting on his father’s incarceration, including a space to represent a prison cell, a painting complemented by a real, but inaccessible garden that will die during the exhibition, symbolizing his father’s disconnection from the outside world. Ema Ri will stage a multi-sensory installation of dried flowers that guests can walk through. Collado will transform part of an installation she created at Emerson Dorsch Gallery, reformatting sections of wall into a freestanding sculpture that reflects on history and memory held in materials and architecture.
“At The Edge” is an exhibition of female artists using abstraction to investigate and challenge the boundaries of material, process, and environment. Co-curated by Oolite’s Programming Senior Manager Amanda Bradley and President and CEO Dennis Scholl, the exhibit surveys abstraction as a space that lies at the edge.
“A key component of this show is that abstraction can provide the space to evoke the same deeply-held emotions as more naturalistic works of art,” Bradley said. “These artists are using abstraction to respond to notions of labor, resistance, and transformation.”
Works by Nathalie Alfonso, Georgia Lambrou, Devora Perez, Jennifer Printz, Karen Rifas, and Donna Ruff will be on view. Their approaches to abstraction are built from interdisciplinary practices that span two- and three-dimensional spaces.
“In a way, abstract work also functions like poetry,” said Printz, who participated in Oolite Arts’ 2021 Home + Away travel residency program at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach. “There is a condensation of meaning into forms and the visual patterns within a piece of abstract art—it can say so much about experience, time, and human nature with so little.”
Both summer exhibits will be on display and open to the public through September 11. To attend the opening night reception and meet the artists, RSVP here.