"Unexpected Abstractions" exhibition in Pembroke Pines, Florida
‘Unexpected Abstractions’ is on view now through March 25, 2011, in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
If You Go
What: ‘Unexpected Abstractions’
Where: Studio 18, 1101 Poinciana Dr., Pembroke Pines
When: Through March 25
Hours: 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Information: 954-961-6067; www.ppiness.com/studio18
By Candice Russell
Special to The Miami Herald Posted on Thursday, 03.17.11
Three artists contribute to Unexpected Abstractions, on view now through March 25 at Studio 18 in Pembroke Pines.
The pencil drawings of Tere Pastoriza and the architectural constructions of David McLeish are on display, with the main gallery and adjacent hallway devoted to the work of Fort Lauderdale’s Steven Sylvester.
His mixed media dresses and female torsos celebrate the variety of roles taken by women, from ballerina to gardener to sex kitten. Collectively, these fun, often flirty works make one marvel at how they were put together and who might be brave enough to wear them down the red carpet.
With some pieces free standing and others hung on the wall, the collection represents the artist’s body of work over several years. By taking clay off a pedestal, its traditional place, and hanging it on the wall like a painting, Sylvester elevates it to like status.
The DeVille Foundation Dalmation Rescue and Clothing Company is his riff on the Disney cartoon villainess. The dress is constructed with wire and bits of spotted doggy clay, a symphony of sartorial bad taste complete with feather boa.
Singer Janet Jackson’s lowest professional moment is memorialized in Wardrobe Malfunction. Painted black clay imitates leather in this suggestive work. The artist’s playful side is also seen in Unchain Me and Tuxedo Teddie, two curvy torsos in racy lingerie.
On the other side of the popular culture coin, Sylvester made two dresses to symbolize the ultimate feminine profession. Pink Ballerina and Black Ballerina, in reference to the Oscar-winning film Black Swan, are fitting companions to the female torso Island Wear adorned with pasties and a hula-like skirt. It could have been worn by legendary singer Josephine Baker, who was known for skimpy stage costumes.
The wizard-like assemblage An Orange Dress is part of a series that refer to nature. With clay representing branches and oranges for the skit and clay standing in for green leaves on the bodice, Sylvester fashions a garment to cover up Eve in the garden of Eden. Goldfish Pond, with lilies, lily pads and goldfish made from ceramic, is another stunning achievement.
Smallish dresses, no more than eighteen inches high, line a back wall. Mounted on black boards, these earth-toned creations feature black lace, turquoise beads and sky blue tulle. Sylvester manipulates the clay to create pleats in skirts, ruffled borders, and embroidered patterns.
With Earth Day approaching next month, Sylvester reminds viewers that artists can benefit from using found materials and even refuse. CHaWholee features a voluminous skirt in multiple colors made from plastic bottles that have been cut open, fanned out and painted. Just Too Trash” is fashioned from spools of thread, Christmas decorations and other items found at Trash to Treasure, a center in Fort Lauderdale with donated or tossed materials.