At the Gallery

At the Galleries

Each Thursday, The Miami Herald reviews the show AT a South Florida art gallery.

What: Micro Miami
Where: Artifacts Art Salon, 1623 Michigan Ave., Miami Beach.
When: 15-5p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, through Aug. 31; or by appointment.
Call: 532-1999
            Micro Miami is an ambitious quirky and sometimes irritating show.
            First seen in New York, it is the brainchild of Jacek Tylicki, director of the Now Gallery in the East Village. Tylicki asked a number of artists to produce works for his gallery, stipulating only that each piece measure no more than 7 inches in any direction. Some 140 works from the Micro show in New York are now on display here, with the addition of about 50 pieces by Miami artists.
            The result is a diverse assortment of 200 or so pieces of tiny art-work. The tiny works are by turns frivolous and risky, outrageous and wry.
            Many are prices quite low, giving rise to the uncomfortably suspicion that the 7-inch limit is a marketing gimmick. On the other hand, the “micro art” concept may be a spoof of a marketing gimmick, just as many pieces here are spoofs of miniatures themselves.
            One of the most representative pieces, though centainly not one of the best, is a pair of miniature Gainsborough-style portraits, resembling those found in dime-store bins. Plastered over each face is the once-ubiquitous yellow smiley-face logo.
            Despite the eclectism, many of the works fall into roughly three categories. There are miniature versions of large works, such as Joan Meyer’s dollhouse-sized abstract painting and Adriano Lambe’s exquisite series of a nude under a coconut palm. In typically cheerful colors is a portrait by Rodney Alan Greenblat, an East Village artist whose work hung in the 1985 Whitney Biennial Exhibition.
            A second group includes pieces made with tacky mass-produced objects, whose small size suggests toys. For example, inside Katherine Sin’s Planter’s Cocktail Nuts can are two tiny beach chairs with plastic drinks on a table; lounging in the chairs are goofy insects apparently made of clay. And there is Joan Posluchy’s glitter-painted confection of costume jewelry framing bride and groom dolls lifted from a wedding cake. A biting sense of humor informs Laura Wortzel’s sickly pink Biological Clock, a real clock in which the numbers are marked by tiny plastic babies. Many of these works are intentionally images gathered from a visual trash heep. Some succeed and some do not.
            In the third category are pieces that are not small versions of any-thing else and are generally the most successful. Among these are the delicate glass paintings by Pobre and a plaster cast by Rudolpho Tegera, studded with fossil-like designs. Also memorable is Steve Schwartz’s framed dollar bill, with the center cut out to reveal a simple black and white landscape titled Lonesome Highwa.
Certainly Micro is an intriguing concept; the results are both amazing varied and uneven. The best works stand on ther own merit, while others seem forced to fit an arbitrary plan.

- Elisa Turner

Picture: An acrylic, paper and canvas by Sue Fine.