Miami, FL (April 10, 2017) – Opening April 22, 2017 at 7:00 PM PRIMARY is pleased to present “The Motion of Movements”, a group exhibition showcasing new works from Carlos Betancourt, Ronald Moran, Deon Rubi, Ben Pederson, Wade Schaming, Gavin Perry, Manny Prieres, & Keenen/Riley.
“Extraordinary” might be an understatement in describing the times we are living in. Through an ongoing series of internal conversations here at Primary, we have continued to inform each other about the nature of movement(s). There is no question that momentum is building worldwide, we remain curious about the constant bending of the checks and balances that govern our lives.
English documentarian Adam Curtis arguably describes this day and age as:
“An entire generation retreating from an active engagement with power and still wanting to change the world. You can feel it, there’s a great restlessness. There is a great deal of dissatisfaction among white working class people, there’s a great deal of fear and dissatisfaction amongst all sorts of ethnic groups for different reasons.There is a great feeling of restlessness and hunger for change amongst white middle class and black middle class, it’s all over the place but no-one has any vision of what to do. I think it is because people have retreated – possibly into culture – but also into a never-never land where everything has been emotionalized, rather than confronting issues of power.”
With an ongoing fascination for various forms of balance and movement(s): creatively, socially, and politically, we find ourselves with a revived invigoration for work that considers the tipping point and challenges the idea of movement(s) or the lack there of.
In Keenen / Riley’s “The Sirens”, the collective work addresses our topic through a site specific installation that is both aesthetically attractive and potentially dangerous to the viewer, in equal measures. Through inverted catenary arches, forms are balanced, mathematical and elegant, connected to create an ephemeral space. Small explosives are contained within the arches like a malevolent constellation of stars. They are placed without order, adding to unpredictability, creating clear tension between beauty and danger.
In “Times of Illuminations”, a new work by Carlos Betancourt, the artist utilizes his vast collection of Christmas tree toppers to explore issues of memory and personal experience. In contrast to the Dadaist movement that rejected aestheticism of modern capitalism, this artwork not only embraces the personal and collective memories that these objects incite, it also praises the sometimes dismissed beauty of mass-produced and disposable objects.
Using light and motion as vehicles for harmony and balance, “Times of Illuminations” reflects on how ones’ own experiences and memories can actually transcend the personal and become universal. Specifically to Betancourt, this work is a celebration of our perpetual condition of being in motion as a society and finding an equilibrium in the syncretism of our times.
In contrast to Adam Curtis, Haile Selassie delivered these timeless words to the United Nations in 1963:
“We must become something we have never been and for which our education and experience and environment have ill-prepared us. We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community.”
True to form, movement(s) will continue to fluctuate, through the rejection of logic and reason, in the name of artistic expression, responding to inequality, in an effort to advance a power struggle, regardless of its nobility.
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About the Artists:
Carlos Betancourt (b. 1966, San Juan, Puerto Rico) Mixed-media artist Carlos Betancourt and his influential studio, Imperfect Utopia, helped to launch the Miami art scene in the 1980’s. Betancourt’s oeuvre is a lush explosion of radiant, eccentric colors in which he explores the kaleidoscope (multi-racial, multi-lingual, trans- cultural) of Caribbean and American culture. His work alludes to issues of memory, beauty, identity, and communication. He bends the lines between art, photography, and nature in his photographs, collages, painting, installations, and conceptual pieces.
Carlos Betancourt’s imagery reinterprets the past and present and offers it in a fresh context. He is inspired by Puerto Rico, Miami, and his extensive travels; also artist Ana Mendieta’s interventions in nature, Robert Rauschenberg’s assemblages, Andy Warhol’s perceptions, Neo Rauch compositions, and a Federico Fellini-esque cast of characters for his photo assemblages
His artwork is included in the permanent collections various museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The National Portrait Gallery.
K/R – Keenen/Riley is a knowledge – and creativity – based practice with a focus and dedication to architecture and design. Led by John Keenen and Terence Riley, K/R engages its clients in strategic conceptualization that leads to highly distinctive environments, buildings, interiors, and experiences. With offices in New York and Miami, K/R’s collaborative effort has made distinctive contributions in architecture, master planning, urban design, interior design, museum planning, exhibition design, sustainability, and education.
John Keenen studied Art History at Georgetown University, and received his Masters of Architecture from Columbia University. He has twice been both the recipient of a Graham Foundation Grant and a finalist for the prestigious international Andrea Palladio Award for Architecture. He is a Trustee of the Design Trust for Public Space.
Terence Riley studied architecture at both the University of Notre Dame and Columbia University. In addition to being a practicing architect for over thirty years, Riley has served as the Philip Johnson Chief Curator for Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and subsequently served as the Director of the Miami Art Museum (now the Perez Art Museum). Riley also occupied a lead role in the architect selection, programming, and design processes for Yoshio Taniguchi’s renovation and expansion of MoMA, as well as the new waterfront Herzog & De Meuron-designed waterfront museum facilty for the Miami Art Museum.
Ronald Moran (b.1972, San Salvador, El Salvador) Ronald Moran’s work addresses the silence of power and aggression. Moran studied Graphic Design at the Universidad Dr. José Matías Delgado in El Salvador and received his BFA from the Centro Nacional de Artes CENAR, El Salvador. Moran has participated in over 150 exhibitions, more than 30 of which are solo exhibitions, throughout the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Notably, he represented El Salvador at the 2007 Venice Biennale, and has shown work at the Biennal Cuvee in Austria, the 10th Havana Biennal in Cuba and the Beijing Biennal in China. His work is part of the Margulies Collection, Miami and the Museum of Fine Art, Houston collection. Ronald Moran was named one of the 100 most influential contemporary Latin American artists of our time by Exit Madrid. The artist lives and works in San Salvador.
Ben Pederson (b.1979, Grand Rapids, Michigan) Received his B.A. in Studio Art from Aquinas College in 2003. Obtained his M.F.A. in Sculpture from the University of Massachusetts in 2007. Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He has been honored with residencies in Skowhegan (Maine) School of Painting and Sculpture and Yaddo Artists and Writers colony in Saratoga Springs NY. He has exhibited widely in both the Midwest, including Chicago and Cincinnati, and the East Coast including NYC, Boston, and Amherst. Working in an additive manner, Pederson employs his subconscious, dreams, intuition, and learned sculptural tropes to create myriad hybrid forms. The idea of accessing the immaterial through the material is important to his process. Pederson is interested in a sculptural language that feels simultaneously distant, ancient and not of this dimension; a sort of Alien Primitivism. This Romantic approach is balanced with a dystopian and multi-faceted perspective concurrent with the culture in which he finds himself. “I’m in love with, and weirded-out by existence. I aim for this tension to be present within my work.”
Gavin Perry (b. 1971 Philadelphia, PA) Graduate with a BFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia. Perry’s exhibitions include Frederic Snitzer, Miami, Florida; Galerie Sultana, in Paris France; Art Basel, Basel, Swizerland; White Box, New York; and Buamet Sultana Gallerie in Mexico City and Paris, France. Perry was awarded the prestigious South Florida Cultural Consortium which included an exhibition at the University Galleries of FAU. His work has been reviewed by Flash Art, Art in America, Art Papers, and The Art Economist. Perry lives and works in Miami, FL.
Manny Prieres (b. 1972, Madrid) addresses the influence of mass communication mostly in the print and digital medium. The work is informed by graphic language and how different social groups have used it to convey or contain ideas. He is interested in how graphic design and the written word are used in art, and ideas that were at one time taboo, fringe or targeted for elimination become cultural sublimation. Another aspect of his work is dealing with the “death of print”. Print being rapidly replaced with digital media in all aspects of culture. The artist is interested in this disruption. He intentionally explores this topic through traditional forms of making such as drawing, painting and digital printing. The method is itself a form of serial production. Replacing the printing press with the hand and by different means repeating the process of creating editions where the outcome is never a perfect facsimile of the original. The final outcome is a nonsensical remnant of the source material, with mathematical precision.
Prieres has shown work at venues in Auckland, Mexico City, New York, Istanbul, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Miami. He was an artist-in-residence at Cannonball (formerly LegalArt) Miami. Prieres was featured prominently in the New Works group exhibition at the Miami Art Museum in 2010. He has been featured in publications including Art Papers, Art Nexus, El Nuevo Herald, Installation Magazine and Whitehot Magazine. In 2013, Prieres’ had his first museum solo exhibition, It Was A Pleasure to Burn, was staged at The Bass Museum of Art, Miami. After the exhibition the museum acquired work for their permanent collection. Though raised in Miami, Prieres now lives and works in Los Angeles.
Deon Rubi (b. 1986, Buenos Aires, Argentina) Studied Communication in Visual Arts at the Universidad del Cine in Buenos Aires, Argentina and later became self disciplined in the applied and fine arts. Her work has been shown in Scope Art Fair (2014), JUNE BASEL at Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (2014), Design Pub (2015), Central Fine Gallery (2015), and a solo show at the Miami Center for Architecture and Design (2015). Her jewelry designs have been a feature of the Perez Art Museum Miami shop since its opening in 2013.
Wade Schaming (b. 1984, Pittsburgh, PA) Schaming studied at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA (BA 2006) and the School of Visual Arts, New York, NY (MFA 2010). He has been selected for numerous residencies, including the Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) program, Bronx, NY (2012), Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT (2014), and Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY (2016). He lives and works in New York City. His sculptures are built through assemblage, allowing materials to remain unchanged from how they are found; they are used as is. This process gives new life to discarded and forgotten objects. Schaming’s sculptures are painstakingly assembled solely through the processes of stacking. The materials remain unchanged – used as is/found – and are unfixed to each other: as such, the artist creates delicate juxtapositions perilously balanced, like thought given concrete form. From discarded and forgotten objects, which memorialize hope, the assembled forms aspire to return dignity to the bearer and evoke empathy in the viewer. Scahming’s process is site-specific and confined to the present moment: he works only with found and discarded materials, nothing purchased, the work reflects their origins while reinforcing a desire to create impermanence.