Solo shows and group shows are very different animals. Each has its special rewards and difficulties. Solo artist exhibits can be more cohesive by nature – they come from the hand of one artist. But if the work is not strong, or simply not appealing to an individual eye, then the whole show can fall flat. Group shows have a better chance of having something for everyone, but they can lose their thread and feel like a jumbled mess.
What is true is that solo shows take a lot out of an artist. With some exceptions, they are rare for an artist, even when represented by a gallery. A lot of blood, sweat and tears go into them.
That is clearly the case with the exquisite solo show from Quisqueya Henríquez at the David Castillo Gallery. “After Some Twisted Lines” includes a series of works that can be grouped together in their aesthetic compositions, but which all together are one cohesive line. Beautiful, expressive pieces that reflect her explorations of dimension, with architectural references in many of them, using fabric, inkjet prints, paint and computer printouts in these collages. For her third solo show for the gallery, she has left no detail unaddressed; even an untrained eye can tell how much time and dedication has been invested in each piece here.
Henriquez’s exploration of “Twisted Lines” goes deep. She “challenges the impossibility of the real by exploring how we exist, communicate and desire after some twisted lines. Rorschach references the psychological test for which a subject interprets inkblot images. Henríquez’s Rorschach test, bold in scale and ornithological in aesthetic, invites phenomenological response, affective relationships and pleasure.” That’s a lot to digest. But you don’t have to if you don’t want to. The works are visually stunning, filled with color, varied materials, optical intrigue and continual play with dimension within a frame. There is also a single video which delves into this latter exploration, a 29-mintute loop of frames diminishing in size, with and hand moving through them, a classic look at perspective on a “flat screen.” It’s called “Hand Catching Lead (39,000 Views),” and is mesmerizing. The exhibit is punctuated by a big, tactile painting bursting with color – at first it may seem out of sync with the more patterned works, but really, it fits right in with the ultimate whole. It’s a “line” that all solo shows can follow.
A group show in a very loose sense involves two of Castillo’s artists, opening in Manhattan, from Frances Trombly and Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, who also run the alternative nonprofit space Dimensions Variable, recently relocated to downtown Miami and a Knight Arts grantee. Called “The Fabric of a Space,” it’s a collaboration with site95 in NYC, where Rodriguez has created a site-specific gridded structure “to echo the rhythm of the fabric,” which is hand-woven canvases made by Trombly. For years, these two have been probing what makes up the literal fabric of our society – the actual items and mass-produced materials that make up our homes, the blank canvases from which art and life begin.
“After Some Twisted Lines” runs through Nov. 11 at the David Castillo Gallery, 2234 N.W. 2nd Ave., Miami; www.davidcastillogallery.com.
“The Fabric of a Space: Trombly Rodriguez” runs through Nov. 18 at the Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand St., New York; www.abronsartcenter.org.