What will be remembered about Miami art week 2014?

Sometimes the glossy Art Basel Miami Beach is less attractive than the parallel exhibitions and the satellite events that surround it. In such a way the M Building was one of the first venues to gather the art crowd that has been together for almost a week in the rainy and humid South Beach.


Located in the Wynwood Art District, the space which was a formerly 1950’s manufacturing warehouse, later restored by Chad Oppenheim, was divided into four galleries that present works by hot and upcoming, but also by very acclaimed and well known artists.


On the ground floor, Kukje Gallery presented “Afterburner”, a site specific installation by Aaron Young. The artist used a blowtorch to burn the walls of the space, thus creating a black surface that hosted his new ten works on canvas, showing the same technique of controlled application of direct flame. The works once again function as documentations of Young’s rebellious acts, that still nest in the security of abstract painting.


Hosted by Galerie Rodolphe Janssen and Rachel Uffner, New York based artist Sam Moyer presented her solo show. Her work consists of an assemblage of slabs of marble and ink dyed fabric mounted to MDF that is so well executed that can be mistaken for actual marble. Hanging against the walls of the space, Moyer’s marble paintings are like an oasis in the frenzy of Zombie Formalism, and prove that it can be effective when things get off the beaten track and start evolving for real.


On the upper floor, things were more seminal and certainly less cheerful.


Canadian collector François Odermatt, curated himself a group show with works from his collection. Instead of displaying a showcase of his new acquisitions, the art patron known for buying early emerging artists, this time brought together works from artists of different generations. As a result, there was a Jannis Kounellis Arte Povera sculpture, next to two canvas assemblages by artist Wyatt Khan, a star recently born that Odermatt seems to support a lot.


Besides juxtaposing artists from different backgrounds, the presence of Canadian art in the show play a fundamental role” as Odermatt claimed. Three abstract paintings by mid career Montreal painter François Lacasse who is following the well-worn tradition of american abstract painting by pouring directly the paint onto canvas, were hanging next to a dazzling oil painting by the prominent Canadian artist Stephen Shearer whose upcoming solo show at National Gallery of Canada in 2017 has already been announced. The piece (2006) pictures one of Shearer’s anonymous teenage characters whose grown up version was displayed at the artist’s amazing solo show at Galerie Eva Presenhuber last August. Born and raised in Quebec, Nicolas Baier was also featured in the show, with works characterized by his interest in physics and how this formulates our attitude towards the world.


François Odermatt presented a delightful and clever positioned group show, organized around an interesting and refreshing perception of formalism, thus proving his instinct and passion in collecting.

December 7, 2014