Downtown/Biscayne Corridor

Design District

Artist’s work explores Everglades, Cuban Missile Crisis

 

If you go

What: Christy Gast: Inholdings and Felice Grodin: A Fabricated Field

When: Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment, through April 12

Where: Locust Projects, 3852 N. Miami Ave., Design District

For more information: 305.576.8570 or info@locustprojects.org


rmor.news@gmail.com

Those who walk into Design District’s Locust Projects gallery will find a surprise hiding behind the blacked-out windows and doors: two large missiles pointed directly at them. Created by local artist Christy Gast, the missiles are part of her solo exhibition Inholdings, which concerns the geopolitical and ecological invasions of the Everglades.

Born in Ohio, the artist moved to New York where she received her MFA from Columbia University and developed an artistic practice that “combined performance and object-making and had a lot to do with the mythology of place.”

Although Gast is not a Miami native, she has lived here for seven years, and the city places a crucial role in her work. Although Miami’s abundance of space and burgeoning art community was one reason she moved here, she says she was most attracted to the city’s relationship with nature.

“For me, as an artist whose practice is predicated on having accessibility to natural areas, Miami has this very stark divide between the urban and the Everglades boundaries, which is interesting to me.”

Inholdings addresses the artist’s fascination with the Hole in the Donut region in the Everglades. The area is a deforested pine rockland that was used as farmland beginning in the 1920s, many years before the establishment of Everglades National Park; the name was coined because the disturbed area was surrounded on all sides by undisturbed land.

For her exhibition, she created two 41-foot-long missiles made out of textiles. The missiles are life-size replicas of Nike Hercules missiles. The menacing immediate imagery we tend to associate with missiles is here contrasted by the visual softness of the fabrics, creating a unique contrast.

While many wouldn’t associate the Everglades with warfare, Gast says that its ingrained in its cultural history. At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, land in the Hole in the Donut was used as a missile base for the military which held Nike Hercules missiles.

Among the textiles on the missiles is a white and green print created by the artist. The imagery represents three different species of plants that have marked the history of the Hole in the Donut. The plants represented in the print include are tomato bushes, which were farmed in the area; Brazilian pepper trees, an invasive species that competed with native species for resources and were later removed; and lovegrass, a native species that has regrown in the areas the pepper trees once grew after their removal.

The other work represented in her show is War Drums, a 23-minute long video which heavily features drum music that the artist wrote. The video takes place in one of the last remaining pine forests in Miami-Dade County and is minimal in its action, with the camera rotating in circles.

The drum music featured prominently in the video is created by two drummers who are standing across from each other, a woman playing Afro-Cuban music on a conga while a military drum corps plays snare cadences. It becomes evident by watching the video that the drummers are almost competing with each other and can represent the strained relationship between Cuba and the United States during the Cuban Missile Crisis. By situating these drummers in the pine forest, Gast comments on the Everglades’ history in this conflict.

While Gast manages to condense the messy history of the Hole-in-the-Donut into her exhibition, she believes that the area speaks to the larger narrative of the Everglades and its contentious geopolitical and political past.

The complications of the Everglades are “almost impossible to unravel and this is just a little microcosm of that.”

Also taking place at Locust Projects in the project room is A Fabricated Field, an exhibition Miami-based artist Felice Grodin. For her work, Grodin has created a site-specific installation that features a wooden sub-floor with small “cracks” with small bundles of plywood of varying heights jutting out from the floor and ceiling, creating sharp needle-like structures that resemble stalagmites in a cave.

The work is a major breakthrough for Grodin; the artist who has a background in architecture, normally works with two-dimensional drawings and this work represents the first three-dimensional work that she has created to date.

For Grodin, she believes that the question she wanted to address most with this work was “how do we create an experience that is new but that also addresses the realities that we live in?”

Going through the artist’s creation is an interesting experience, as you delicately navigate the uniform cracks within the subfloor as well making sure you avoid hitting the delicate wooden needles jutting throughout the room.

For Locust Projects director Chana Budgazad Sheldon, she says that although it is the first time they have shown two solo shows by women from Miami concurrently, it is more important that both artists are showing works that have pushed themselves as artists.

‘“Both artists are showing works that are not only strong but are unique from what they have done in the past.”

Read more Biscayne Corridor stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
Artist Joseriberto Perez's postal worker parents inspired this work, which is a bundle of envelopes stained in coffee.

    Visual arts

    Artist’s work is influenced by Miami, Cuban heritage

    Joseriberto Perez, an emerging artist based in Miami, seems to avoid assigning his works meaning; he prefers the works to be ambiguous to the viewer and to lead to their own conclusions. But if you look closely, the artist has managed to create a body of work that examines his Cuban heritage and Miami upbringing in interesting ways.

  •  
Artist rendering of SkyRise Miami.

    Miami ballot questions

    Voters give SkyRise Miami liftoff

    Two charter amendments proposing to change procedures for leasing submerged lands and require a second referendum for foot-dragging developers also passed.

  • Miami

    Billionaire pinpoints Museum Park as favored flagpole site

    Mike Fernandez said representatives of a half-dozen other cities have contacted him about the 425-foot-high flag. He’s meeting Saturday with the city manager of Miami Beach.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK