Exhibitions at the Library Art Services & Exhibitions Department
The Library System has a long history of cultural and educational exhibitions, and makes a special call to artists on a rolling basis for temporary exhibitions that correspond to selected annual themes and/or that highlight the library’s special collections and services.
Additionally, the Vasari Project is an archive that documents the development of the visual arts in Miami‑Dade County since 1945.
For more information about the art collection, exhibition programs or the Vasari archive, call 305‑375‑5599 or e‑mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Visual Narrative
Miami-Dade Public Library System's Permanent Art Collection and Exhibitions
Upcycled Nature by Alissa Alfonso
April 21 - August 26, 2017
Opening Reception & Artist Talk
April 22 (Earth Day), 3‑5 p.m.
In order to demonstrate how art can be used to raise awareness of critical issues facing our community, Alissa Alfonso created an installation of various works of art using recycled and upcycled materials, including jellyfish made from 100% recycled materials, fused plastic collages, upcycled vintage lamps with handmade soft sculpture lamp shades and upcycled fabric collages. Alissa was inspired to create this installation after seeing the alarming number of plastics and other materials we use in everyday life that are not readily recyclable or reusable. Our reliance on plastics and other packaging is creating an enormous amount of trash that typically ends up in a landfill or as pollution contaminating our precious resources such as our beaches and waterways. The exhibit raises awareness of the importance of upcycling and recycling in innovative ways to help create a sustainable community that protects and preserves the environment.
The jellyfish were created using upcycled dry cleaning hangers to form the "skeleton," and fused plastics to create the "body" and "tail." The fused plastics used in the jellyfish were recycled from various types of plastics from everyday life such as dry cleaning bags, candy packaging and packaging from various other grocery items.
The fused plastic collages were also created by using fused recycled plastics arranged on canvas to form landscapes. Trapunto (quilting with an embossed design) and threading achieved birds in flight.
The upcycled vintage lamps were created by enhancing vintage lamps with handmade lamp shades which include hand‑stitched soft sculpture pieces along with fabric collage sewn onto the shade.
Alissa challenges assumptions by creating art which simultaneously inspires and saves our environment. She carefully considers how to use upcycled fabrics, sustainable media, fused plastic bags, hand‑dyed textiles and other innovative techniques to create unique pieces of art revealing the beauty of construction using repurposed materials.
“I spend hours thinking about how things are made. When I think about designing something, it’s an attempt to answer a lot of questions and challenge myself. What I always come back to is ‘revealing the beauty of construction’.”
By combining her background in collage and sewing, Alissa creates fabric collages, upcycled lamps with soft sculpture shades and large scale art installations which emphasize the splendor of the natural world and the importance of mitigating our impact on the environment to leave the world a better place for future generations.
See more at http://alissaalfonso.com/.
Tuscany By Susan Feliciano
April 20 - September 30, 2017
Main Library – Lobby
A New York native working in Miami, Susan Feliciano was born to Colombian and Puerto Rican parents. Feliciano creates artworks in a range of mediums working in painting, photography, installation, and poetry. Working in a variety of venues she explores psychological and physical spaces. Through metaphor and abstraction Feliciano uses color as the primary emotional force, and plays between the lines of surface and substance capturing unexpectedly the beauty of impermanence.
In the paintings Tuscany Series, her process begins with applying multiple layers of pigment. Like an archaeologist, she excavates the different stratum with metal tools. Unearthing is an act of courage causing upheaval as one gets past the superficial. In this work she collages retazos or remnants from other paintings. In the ever flux of change she gives new life to these fragments. These subtle paintings may suggest landscapes, in many ways they are imagined places marking a constructed past.
Feliciano’s work has been presented in solo exhibitions nationally, most recently at the Miami‑Dade Public Library System and the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential House at Florida International University. She has participated in prestigious residencies including the Juried Artist Program at ArtCenter/South Florida. Feliciano’s paintings, photographs, and installations have appeared in venues throughout South Florida including Girls’ Club Fort Lauderdale, Sublime Gallery, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The artist’s works have been included in notable exhibitions such as 100+ degrees in the Shade, 30th Anniversary, and MADMiami. Her works are included in the collections of Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Cruises and Ocean Bank. Feliciano has won awards including the Florida Art Education Association Friend of Art Education Award and Fulbright Memorial Fund—Japan.
Feliciano is an Adjunct Professor at Florida International University’s Art + Art History program and a committee member of the Dade Art Educators Association.
South Beach Century: How South Beach and the Arts Built Modern Miami
April 5, 2017 - September 30, 2018
First Wednesday of every month, 6 ‑ 7:30 p.m.
North Shore Branch
In 2015, Tom Austin, author of The Surf Club, published by Assouline, and long‑time chronicler of Miami for such publications as the New York Times, Miami Herald and Columbia Journalism Review, was given a South Florida Knight Arts Challenge grant for South Beach Century: How South Beach and the Arts Built Modern Miami (www.knightarts.org). South Beach Century celebrates the creative spirit of South Beach and Miami itself, incorporating design, music, dance, fashion, film, television, literature, culinary history, nightlife and visual art.
On the first Wednesday of every month from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mr. Austin will be in residence at the North Shore Branch Library conducting oral history recording sessions with anyone who wishes to be interviewed about South Beach cultural life. Participants are encouraged to bring copies of photographs, ephemera and memorabilia of South Beach from nightclub flyers and restaurant menus to art gallery invitations.
Some of the South Beach archival material, as well as transcripts of the oral histories, will be featured in the South Beach Century: How South Beach and the Arts Built Modern Miami book. In 2018, the South Beach Century book will be launched at the North Shore Branch Library along with a pop‑up exhibition of photographs contributed by participants. Work by South Beach artists such as Fernando Garcia, Tomata du Plenty and Andy Sweet, drawn from the Miami‑Dade Public Library System’s Art Services and Exhibitions Department, will also be part of the pop‑up exhibition. Cultural outreach events including screenings of South Beach‑related films will be conducted at City of Miami Beach public parks.
South Beach Century will use oral histories—taken from artists, designers, musicians and residents from all walks of life—to create a multi‑layered examination of South Beach’s unique cultural contributions. This will be crowd‑sourced history, a chronicle of a singular city told through its singular people.
To participate in the South Beach Century Oral History Project, contact Tom Austin at email@example.com.
Emilio Sanchez: A Generous Life
February 11 - December 31, 2017
Vasari Project, Main Library – 1st Floor
Emilio Sanchez was an extremely prolific and talented painter. He started each morning with a still life painting and then progressed to his more well‑known architectural paintings. Sanchez's work is represented in many internationally renowned collections, and he has donated much of his work to collections particularly here in Miami. He is well represented in the Miami‑Dade Public Library System's Permanent Art Collection. Sanchez has also donated a significant amount of his personal papers and art related documents to the Vasari Project. This exhibition contains a representative selection of that material.
The items in this exhibition were selected by Emily Elkin, research assistant to Dr. Victor Deupi, curator for the exhibition “Emilio Sanchez in South Florida Collections” at the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami.
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) will include Sanchez’s works in its Inside|Out Collection installed in communities throughout Miami‑Dade County from February to August 2017. Two works by Sanchez will be added to the 2017 Inside|Out Collection, which is growing from 30 to 50 reproductions.
Emilio Sanchez in South Florida Collections brings together stellar examples of this important Cuban artist's oeuvre, and marks the first time that works from local collections have been united in a single exhibition. Emilio Sanchez in South Florida Collections will be on view at the Lowe Art Museum in Coral Gables from February 9 through May 21, 2017.
Open Books and Other Stories by Tom Virgin
January 21 - May 28, 2017
Main Library – 2nd Floor Gallery
A lifetime of reading has brought me into the Permanent Art Collection of the Miami‑Dade Public Library, and consequently into our library for exhibition. My very first artist's book, escape*… restrictions apply, would not exist had I not found out how to bind books from a book from this library. Four decades of making related prints, in series, led to book arts becoming central to my studio art practice. A lifetime of reading, combined with a powerful love of books, has made me a storyteller as well.
Open Books and Other Stories is for the most part a stubborn, hardheaded, singular response to the online electronic flood of random information we swim in on a daily basis. I have curated a view of South Florida, national parks, students, teachers… and my personal heroes, writers. Each of these entities has enriched my life, telling stories that tie each of these images together and to me.
Although no batteries are required to upload these works, I can attest to the energy that collaborations and working with others has given me. In almost 25 years of teaching and learning in Miami, I have become an advocate for its residents.
Although born and raised in Michigan, I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printing and painting at Florida Atlantic University, and a Master of Fine Arts in printmaking at the University of Miami. I bring Miami to artists' residencies each summer, and my hosts' best practices home to Coconut Grove to share with my students, friends and the community.
— Tom Virgin
For the Love of Art An Exhibit by Dade Art Educators Association (DAEA)
January 14 - June 1, 2017
West Dade Regional – 1st & 2nd Floor Galleries
Artists create artworks for a variety of reasons. They may produce art to show the beauty that they perceive, to tell a story, to express thoughts and emotions, to express feelings about the world around them, to educate, to shock, to make you think or just simply for fun. Regardless of the specific reason, artists create For the Love of Art. DAEA artists educate young minds and pass on their knowledge to future generations. This exhibit presents the artist inside the art teacher who creates For the Love of Art.
The Dade Art Educators Association, Inc. is made up of Miami‑Dade art educators, artists, retired teachers and community art leaders invested in the future of arts in education. We welcome public, charter and private school teachers, working artists, museum art professionals and any person with a vested interest in arts education. Together we act as one voice to advocate for awareness about the many challenges that face 21st century art education.
La lotería Multimedia Installation by Paloma Dueñas
January 2 - June 4, 2017
The lottery game originated in Italy in the 15th century and was brought to New Spain (Mexico) in 1769. La Lotería Mexicana is often referred to as Mexican bingo. Anyone who has had the opportunity to play la lotería will find similarities with American bingo. However, the Mexican version is much more visually and intellectually engaging than the American bingo game, but equally as fun. Since poetic license is afforded to the announcer of la lotería, the success and popularity of the announcer depend on his cleverness and style. La lotería has been played as a game of chance, as a pastime and for educational purposes. Because the lotería cards include the name of the pictured character, they are used to teach reading, writing, history and social values. Many bilingual teachers use the game as a teaching tool in the United States.
Multidisciplinary artist Paloma Dueñas was born in Mexico City and has lived in Miami since 2001. She graduated with honors from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, where she obtained a Bachelor of Music in Voice and Music Therapy. Her life experience in Boston exposed her to many different cultures and gave birth to a creative process that expanded from music to a 35mm camera and the visual arts.
Paloma created photography by paloma in 2006 with her first solo photography exhibition. In 2010, the first installation of her self‑portrait photo work Catarsis was displayed in Wynwood followed by a solo exhibition in 2011 of the same work for the Day of the Dead celebration at the Mexican Consulate in Miami. Catarsis is a collection of self‑portrait photography work reflective of widowhood and death. Since 2014, photography by paloma has expanded more into the artisanal work of handcrafting shadowbox art and jewelry participating in many different pop‑up market events with a booth filled with unique, creative handmade work and jewelry inspired by Mexican themes like Día de Muertos, la lotería and Frida Kahlo, and of course her original photography prints and products.
Noir Narratives by Mark Osterman
December 10, 2016 - June 1, 2017
Main Library – Auditorium Gallery
Noir Narratives is inspired by film stills from Hollywood's classic film noir period stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s. Film noir is associated with a low-key black and white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography. These films brought a dramatically shadowed lighting style and psychologically expressive approach to visual composition that relates to expressionist painting. Love, fear, sexuality, mistrust, bleakness and loss of innocence are readily evident in film noir narratives. For these reasons the film stills illicit an intensity of emotion and meaning that is fertile ground for painting subject matter. By reducing detail in each image, the specifics and context of the situations remain elusive and open to interpretation. The artist’s use of classic painting techniques, high contrast and or harsh black and white compositions and minimalist aesthetic offers a dichotomy of historicism and contemporaneity within the work.
Mark Osterman received his B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and his M.A. at New York University. Osterman is an artist whose work has crossed multiple mediums including drawing, sculpture, installation, digital collage and painting. While living and working in Miami Beach, he has focused on and explored digital collage and painting at length. Drawing upon mass media culture and contemporary social issues as a conceptual basis, Osterman has refined his visual and conceptual vocabulary to create open ended narratives for the viewer to contend with.
A collaborative partnership with Exchange for Change.
Main Library – Lobby
Writing is an agent of change. It begins with a sentence and leads to a connection, a kinship with a reader and the building of a community. It grows into a realization that each of us has a story to tell that emerges from the sum of our best—and worst—moments. This exhibit assembles writings from prison programs in South Florida facilitated by Exchange for Change, a nonprofit organization that believes in the power of written partnerships to promote dialogue and effect social change. Separated by razor wire, this writing exemplifies what unites us rather than what divides us.
“The Invisible Borders‑lines” by Pamela Vasquez
September 1 - December 30, 2017
My art exhibition is based on the “Out of Africa” theory, in which all human beings share a common DNA and that the phenomenon of contemporary migration patterns has defined diversity based on acceptance/non‑acceptance of perceived differences. The physical appearances of the models in the exhibition have been manipulated to reflect different racial prototypes. In doing so, I capture the beauty of each individual as well as their racial or ethnic grouping.
The exhibition exposes the contradiction inherent in the theory that, while it is supported by science, can lead to a dilution in the appreciation of the minority groups created as a result of mass migration. My project also provokes a reflection on the fact that although science has made our common origins undeniable, we still adhere to the conflict‑causing beliefs that we are so different.
Pamela Vasquez is a visual artist who creates multimedia installations based mainly on still photography of concepts that involve social issues and the human condition, and a provocative colorful iconography to suggest similarities and contradictions of the same idea.
“Creating art is my highest passion and I believe that art should provoke, elevate or at least have some meaning or reflection of whatever the subject is. It is the reason why I show concepts through imagery for people to make them understand what is impossible to say in words. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and for several years I have worked at fashion shows and weddings in my home country of Chile. Since 2007, I have worked on my artwork, teaching art/photography and commercial photography.”
— Pamela Vasquez
Party of One
A site‑specific dance choreographed and performed by Stephanie Fuentes.
Saturday, September 9, 2017, 3 p.m.
Main Library – 2nd Floor Gallery
Highlighting the contemporary influence of hashtags and their continual progression on social media platforms, FS Dance Project’s (FSDP) nouveau projet confronts a splintered society by uniting disparate though intricately related struggles in a creatively active encounter against discrimination, silence and oppression. In this non‑violence of creation resounds an echoing: that of a lament in affirmation, in opposition to societal derision and erosion, an affinity for inclusion and discussion.
#PartyofOne is an articulation of movement and gesture accentuating the diversity of the human endeavor. It is also a reminder that although differences exist within and between societies, there are universal factors that bring us together, the sympathy integral to humanity.
Focusing on the hashtags #blacklivesmatter, #lovewins, #weareseeds and #girlboss, FSDP’s emphasis on these contemporary issues reinstates a heightened contemplation of the here and now, encapsulating jetztzeit not only in the tangible via motions, but also in the abstract via concepts.
The primordial conflict of the One and the Other is again re‑examined as FSDP invites us to distort the boundaries dividing you from and I, finding sympathy within and without. Being–the All that is and is not.
Stephanie Fuentes was born and raised in Miami and graduated from the University of Florida/New World School of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Fuentes trained at the Rosario Suarez Dance Academy under the direction of Rosario Suarez, Thomas Armour Youth Ballet under the direction of Ruth Weisen, University of Florida/New World School of the Arts under the direction of Daniel Lewis and Mary Lisa Burns, and at the Martha Graham School under the direction of Virginie Mecene, Denise Vale and Peggy Lyman.
Fuentes is a former dancer of Peter London Global Dance Company and Martha Graham 2, and is also a certified Graham teacher and choreographer. In addition to her prolific training, she has received outstanding recognition and reviews for her work. Fuentes has attended the American Ballet Theatre, the Bates Dance Festival, the North Carolina Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet and Contemporary under full scholarship, and the Martha Graham Summer Intensive Program under scholarship from Peter London.
This presentation will premiere during the opening reception for Flat Land: Four Architect‑Artists Project, The City of Miami by Jacob Brillhart, Rocco Ceo, Victor Deupi & Tom Spain.
Flat Land: Four Architect‑Artists Project
The City of Miami by Jacob Brillhart, Rocco Ceo, Victor Deupi & Tom Spain
September 9, 2017 - January 2, 2018
Main Library – 2nd Floor Gallery
Opening Reception & Artist Talk
Saturday, September 9, 3‑5 p.m.
Includes a special premiere presentation of Party of One, a site‑specific dance choreographed and performed by Stephanie Fuentes.
The theme of Flat Land references one of the most conspicuous aspects of South Florida—its lack of topography. Between the mountainous sky and increasingly omnipresent water is a city ever‑changing, both ambitiously vertical and sprawling, struggling to accommodate conflicting interests on a thin plane of usable land, lapped by two bodies of water: the Everglades and Biscayne National Park. Nature, unrelenting and leveling through seasonally violent storms, and even less predictable human acts, causes us to react, reflect and weigh these conflicting interests. The four architects/artists will draw, paint and project this place on the ‘other’ flat land of their canvas and paper. The theme of this effort is also a metaphor for an accessible and open dialog between artists and the public, made possible by the opportunity for a shared artists’ studio residency and exhibition at the Miami‑Dade Public Library—a natural place of collaboration, interaction and learning.
Renowned for their drawings and paintings of architecture, the four artists have traveled throughout the U.S., the Caribbean and Europe—often accompanied by students—to depict inspiring cities, buildings, monuments and landscapes. The proposed residency and exhibition will focus on Miami, bringing to light the unknown spaces of the city through a series of newly produced drawings, watercolors and paintings. The exhibition will be accompanied by a video of the four architects and their students sketching and drawing in various locations around the globe. Sketchbooks, drawing materials and additional ephemera (photographs, postcards, promotional material from previous exhibitions) will also be included. In addition to the residency and exhibition, the four architects will give a series of public lectures and classes, demonstrating the value of in situ observational drawing and painting. The exhibition will take place in the 2nd Floor Gallery of the Miami‑Dade Public Library System’s Main Library in downtown Miami for approximately 4 months in the fall of 2017.
The works presented in this exhibition will be created during an artist‑in‑residence program at the Main Library.
Pinelands and Plumb‑bobs; See the Trees for the Forest
by Nick Gilmore
January 12, 2018 – May 26, 2018
Main Library – 2nd Floor Gallery
A culmination of several ongoing series of wood sculptures and paper-based works, as well as an ambitious installation conceived specifically for the library, this exhibition explores ideas regarding the interaction of Miami’s built and natural environments. Much of the artwork features Dade County Pine (pinus elliottii var. densa), lumber salvaged from the artist’s own house as well as many other historic, in some cases demolished, local structures. This legendary natural resource was a key component in Miami’s industrial boom of the early 20th century until it was depleted to near extinction. In juxtaposition to this repurposed infrastructure, other artworks on display are the result of working directly within the existing pinelands of Everglades National Park. Emphasis on the history and interconnection of these seemingly opposed environments offers an alternate take on the human role in navigating our past, present and future decisions especially in relation to conservation and development. Also on display are historical photos and documents selected from the library’s special collections and the Everglades National Park archives. The centerpiece of the exhibition is the monumental sculpture entitled Babble. This towering structure is constructed from salvaged Dade County Pine lumber and obsolete library materials, and is inspired by many ideas including the pursuit of knowledge, the dialectic of nature and religion, civilization, industrialization, divisive ideology, facthood, language comprehension, paradox and transcendence.
In addition to his art practice, Nick Gilmore teaches printmaking at Florida International University and operates a custom woodworking business. Firmly grounded in Miami, Nick mines from local culture and history to fuel his projects, which in turn use these local themes to reference larger aspects of the general human condition. These include references to the relationship of built and natural environments, obsolete technology as a metaphor for civilization itself, and an urge to illuminate the transcendental potential of the everyday world. Selected to be the AIRIE (Artist In Residence In the Everglades) fellow for July 2017, Nick has also exhibited throughout South Florida. He received his MFA in Visual Arts (2014) from Florida International University, Miami, FL, and his BA in Studio Art (1999) from Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL. Additional work can be seen at www.gilmoreworks.com.