The annual South Florida Cultural Consortium exhibit provides a snapshot of the region’s visual-arts community, displaying talents of artists from Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. It offers art lovers the chance to experience regional work in a broad range of media, from painting and sculpture to performance and video, in a one-stop visit. This year, the exhibit opens Sept. 5 at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami. MOCA tapped Amy Galpin, chief curator at the Frost Art Museum, to select work by the 13 artists receiving the 2018-2019 consortium grants.
“I think the introduction of guest curator Amy Galpin has been a huge asset,” MOCA executive director Chana Budgazad Sheldon says. “I’m a big admirer of the recent exhibitions she has done at the Frost with local artists.”
From Miami-Dade County, the artists are Felecia Chizuko Carlisle, Domingo Castillo, Reginald O’Neal, Sebastian Ruiz, Jamilah Sabur, Misael Soto and Agustina Woodgate. Broward County artists are Jennifer Clay and Edison Peñafiel. Those from Palm Beach County are Katrina Miller and Amber Tutwiler. Monroe County artists are Nellie Appleby and Vivien Segel.
“I hope people will be excited to see some of the new works by artists they are familiar with, and I also hope there will be some new names,” Galpin says.
A new name for her was Reginald O’Neal, who works as a muralist. “His friends, family, the people he’s grown up with in Overtown are the inspiration for his work,” she says. “He paints in a very traditional, figurative style with a dark, almost baroque palette.” In O’Neal’s paintings, Galpin notes, there are moments of hope but also references to emotional trauma, violence and incarceration.
What does this gathering say about art produced in South Florida? “I think signs are positive. I think there’s rigorous work being made,” says Galpin, who observes that some art in the exhibit tackles thorny issues reflected in today’s headlines, such as immigration and climate change.
Edison Peñafiel, who won the 2019 Florida Prize in Contemporary Art from the Orlando Museum of Art, creates multimedia installations that surround viewers with their powerful imagery, highlighting political themes. The title of his work at MOCA, “Land Escape,” is a play on the word “landscape,” he says. The piece, he adds, aims “to start a conversation about migration and the cycles of history.”
“Land Escape” was created during a residency in Corsicana, Texas. Barbed wire will be installed in front of the work’s grim video projections of masked figures moving through space. It alludes, Peñafiel explains, to his time in Texas and ongoing tumult concerning the border between Texas and Mexico.