The Fountainhead Residency program is one of the better incubators for Miami’s art scene, with about six artists from all over the world coming to work in a house in Morningside for several-month stints. But there is also the Fountainhead Studios, also spearheaded by Kathryn and Dan Mikesell, which while not a residency aims to facilitate a collaborate process in art-making through shared space.
The 25,000 square-foot, two-story space near North Miami Avenue and 73rd Street houses about 35 studios, for which some artists take for a long-term lease, others short, maybe geared toward making work for Art Basel or a particular exhibit. But several times a year, the doors are opened for a hang-out tour, for the public to go meet the artists and get to know their work, which was the case last Saturday evening.
Studio visits are very different than gallery or museum ones. First off, many of what’s on view are works-in-progress – and on organized open nights, the artists are all on hand to talk about their creations, answer questions, reveal their equipment and materials. You can make an appointment to visit an individual’s studio on any given day, but there is something more complete about seeing various types of art in various stages of formation all at one time, a real snippet of time of what is happening in the scene today. Some of the names on the doors may be familiar, others refreshingly new.
So you might have encountered London Tsai talking about his aluminum sculptures, these pieces that seem to refer back the heady days of scientific and technological advancement from the America of the last century. But these sleek steel pieces reveal their workmanship as well, the literal nuts and bolts of what went into making a satellite, an airplane engine, a rocket capsule – all those objects that once projected us full-speed into the future, but that may seem even quaint today.
Or sculptures from Lori Nozick, who in one sculptural series topped off reclaimed wood poles with little houses and planted them across the studio floor. She has made large-scale public installations, including a huge lit-up “lighthouse” at in the foyer of Scope during last year’s Art Basel.
In Juana Valdes’ studio, much smaller and more delicate pieces are tacked up on the wall; one a series made of light cloth, another drawings in black and white with underpinnings of feminist and cultural-origin commentary.
Karen Starosta-Gilinski has the latest in her quirky figurative sculptures on display in her studio; some are like strange stuffed animals, another is a stuffed chair with feet, all very textured objects. She recently had a show at the 6th Street Container and the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood. Another artist here was just up at the Hollywood center as well, Don Lambert. Continue wandering and you might have run into the studios of Kerry Phillips, Jenny Brillhart and Julie Davidow, all with good stuff to look at and chat about, along with many others. It’s a nicely diverse trip around this studio block.
The Fountainhead Studios are located at 7339 N.W. Miami Ct.; www.fountainheadresidency.com.