A decade ago, Miami artists Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova and Frances Trombly founded Dimensions Variable, a collaborative studio space and showcase for artists local and beyond. The work shown is often experimental, chosen not for its market value but because it has caught the eye of other artists.
After an 18-month hiatus, DV is set to reopen on May 11. It is one of 16 artist complexes and 225 studios that will be open across Miami-Dade County that day in an inaugural event called Artists Open.
The program is an initiative of Fountainhead, which runs affordable studios and artist residencies as it nurtures professional artists. Co-founder Kathryn Mikesell, proposed the studio day to increase awareness of Miami’s working artists and encourage interaction. The Knight Foundation is supporting what will become an annual event.
“I love that we’re surrounded by such incredible talent,” said Mikesell. “I wanted everyone to know that and go out and meet these Miami-based artists. I want people to be Miami proud.”
The day is centered on collective spaces rather than artists’ homes, to ensure comfort for all involved. The map includes information about accessibility to spaces that aren’t typically open to the public.
And, says Mikesell, “Eyes on artists can lead to opportunities,” such as sales and brand tag-ups.
Artist Michael Loveland, who also opens his studio during Art Basel, likes the casual nature of studio visits. “There’s a non-pressure element to studio visits that a gallery can’t have. It’s more comfortable.”
Sometimes visits result in sales, but that’s not the only benefit, he said. “Kids come through and see that art is accessible. It should be for everybody.”
Open spaces will include Oolite Arts (formerly ArtCenter South Florida), home to 14 studios on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.
“Oolite Arts is about individual visual artists in our community. This is an opportunity for them to get recognition and for people to see their work in a format that they don’t often get to see,” said president and CEO Dennis Scholl.
“So often in visual arts, people are seeing work through the filter of a gallery or museum or alternative space. The open space day is an opportunity to go one-on-one with the artists and get closer to the creative process,” he said.
Studios will be open from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. , with the exception of Dimensions Variable. It’s debut runs from 6 - 9 p.m., as culmination to the day and a celebration of its newest incarnation on NW 79th Street near Little Haiti.
Its opening is no small feat. In January 2018, the highly regarded collaborative closed its quarters at Miami Dade College after only a year following a dispute over administrative policies. Following their return from an artists’ residence in Italy last August, Rodriguez and Trombly, husband and wife, ramped up their search for new quarters. Rental prices ranged from $18-$45 per square foot in Little Haiti and Allapattah to $75 per square foot on Biscayne Boulevard.
They landed in a former transmission shop easily accessed from I-95 at a reasonable rate. Studio space is shared between four artists — the co-founders, Magnus Sigurdarson, Laura Marsh, and Juan Pablo Garza — and art archivist Anita Sharma, who works with Women Artists Archive Miami. The effort is supported in part by the Knight Foundation.
The 4,500 building includes ample gallery space. DV’s initial show includes “Arenas y Arenas y Arenas,” a solo show by Garza, who makes pieces out of collected objects. Locally based sound artist Gustavo Matamoros will also unveil his series “Untitled: Social Commentary,” while New York-based Luz Carabano presents her paintings for “Ni Aqui, Ni Alla.”
Artists Open, May 11, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Map at www.artistsopen.miami. Free.
Dimensions Variable, 101 NW 79th Street; dimensionsvariable.net. Through Aug. 1. Free
NEW YORK BOUND?
When the Whitney Biennial opens later this month in New York, featured artists will include two that live in work in Miami. Agustina Woodgate and Eddie Arroyo, both represented by local gallerist Anthony Spinello, are among the 75 artists whose work will be shown in the prestigious presentation of contemporary art . This year marks the first time in more than a decade that Miami artists have been invited, according to Spinello. The show runs through Sept. 22. www.whitney.org
The Bass: Sheila Hicks “Campo Abierto”
The Bass’ show of works by 84-year old Nebraska-born and Paris-based Hicks spans her decades of practice. Much of “Abierto [Open]” is a reconfiguration of an installation from the 2017 Venice Biennale, which works well with the architecture of the museum’s upstairs galleries. Groupings of her particular landscapes sculptures – large- and small-scale — include woven works and installations crafted from various materials. Though she has been working and showing world-wide for 50-years plus, this large exhibition at The Bass is the most significant in the United States. Through Sept. 29.
2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; thebasss.org. $10 adults; $5 seniors, students and ages 13-18; under 12 free.
Swampspace: The BABA Collective “Rocking Chair Sessions”
Oliver Sanchez’s alt gallery in the Design District is surrounded by glam outlets — making Swampspace stand out all the more. It’s current show, the multi-media “Rocking Chair” exhibit, features artworks and audio recordings of reflections, recollections and meditations on Miami’s cultural interactions (you know, things that you can contemplate while rocking to the sounds and visuals. ) It was created by 25 participants and curated by Elysa D. Batista and Maria Theresa Barbist of the BABA Collective. Through May 24.
&Gallery: Patricia Schnall Gutierrez: “Fresh Out of the Oven”
The creative &gallery takes a neat look at women’s mid-20th century roles with the now locally based Schnall Gutierrez, in “Oven,” which features revolving bundt cakes, like the housewives and mothers once cooked ubiquitously and which the artist admits baking herself in her own role as artist and mother. But here she “cooks” with materials other than batter. Through May 18.
&gallery, 6308 NW 2nd Avenue; andgallery.net.
Bernice Steinbaum Gallery: “Colonialism: Facing Our Past’s Histories”
If you haven’t been to local gallery stalwart Steinbaum’s latest space on Tigertail Avenue in Coconut Grove, now’s the time. In collaboration with the Nomad Gallery of Brussels, Congolese artist Aime Mpane explores the brutal history of the Belgians in the Congo, including the past of the Royal Museum of Central Africa, built by the notorious King Leopold, which in 1897 exhibited a “human zoo” to pass for ” to pass for a guide to African culture. Mpane takes us to a more positive present in Belgium as well, where the museum has been renamed AfricaMuseum – turning into a serious anthropological center and home for contemporary African art — and where Mpane creates portraits and sculptures derived from the vibrant, colorful Congolese community in its former colonial overseer’s country. Through May 25.
Bernice Steinbaum, 2101 Tigertail Ave., Coconut Grove. bernicesteinbaumgallery.com.
LNS GALLERY: Jennifer Basile’s “The Power of Print: Iconic Images of the American Landscape”
Stick around Coconut Grove to see the beautiful, inspiring black-and-white landscape prints from local Basile. The works are both figurative and realistic — some woodcut and intaglio prints, other ballpoint pen drawings and installations. Whatever the format, the simple black lines deliver lovely and complex details of the land around us, both urban and natural, with the “preparation and care of a garden. The artist performs this ritual as a kind of meditation on movement….,” writes the gallery. Through June 22.
LnS Gallery, 2610 SW 28th Lane (just west of U.S. 1); lnsgallery.com. Free.