Curating an exhibition from the Miami-Dade Public Library System's permanent art collection can mean a lot of driving. It can mean starting the day up in Opa-Locka and working your way down to NW 163rd Street before making your way over to Little Haiti, to Lemon City, to the Flagami area, and then way out to the Hammocks in Kendall. And then driving a straight shot down Kendall Drive to finish the day in Pinecrest.
This is because the Library's art collection is, literally, everywhere. Most of 2200 drawings and photographs and prints hang on walls in library branches like Opa-Locka, Golden Glades, Little River, Culmer/Overtown, West Flagler, West Kendall and Pinecrest. 40 for 40 is a snapshot of 40 works of art that are currently at 20 of those branches and Main Library.
We selected work that would represent what the collection is about: works on paper by artists from multiple generations and cultural perspectives who have a relationship with Miami. International artists are also included here. The work is arranged in chronological order, with the earliest work from 1946 (Elizabeth Catlett's iconic I have special reservations) and the latest work from 2008 (Gary L. Moore's into the colors and sounds of the city's morning…, made for a Library exhibition). Although the collection mostly consists of prints, we decided to use 40 for 40 as an opportunity to make more widely accessible some of the unique drawings, watercolors, collage, and mixed-media works in the collection.
Finally, 40 for 40 celebrates 40 years of Library service, part of which is exhibiting art in almost every neighborhood in Miami-Dade County.
CREDITS: Artwork photographed by Oriol Tarridas. This exhibition was made possible in part by Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library System.
I have special reservations…, 1946 linocut print, 16" x 13" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 86-75
Elizabeth Catlett (b. 1915) is an African American master printmaker, painter and sculptor. This piece comes from The Negro Woman (1946-47), a series of fifteen linoleum cuts undertaken in 1946 and 1947. The works are small in size, but rendered in an intense and graphic way. They honor the realities, labor, and heroism of both ordinary and famous black women like Phillis Wheatley, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman.
For many years The Negro Woman prints have been on display at the Lemon City Branch. Library staff say that I have special reservations… (plate 14) is striking to patrons because it recalls segregation in a way that many younger people have never experienced personally.
Each image is titled with a first-person statement that embodies its subject and also invites the viewer to identify with her:
I am the Negro woman. I have always worked hard in America.... In the Fields... In other folks' homes. . . I have given the world my songs. In Sojourner Truth I fought for the rights of women as well as Negroes. In Harriet Tubman I helped hundreds to freedom. In Phillis Wheatley I proved intellectual equality in t he midst of slavery. My role has been important in the struggle to organize the unorganized. I have studied in ever increasing numbers. My reward has been bars between me and the rest of the land. I have special reservations. . . . Special houses. . . . And a special fear for my loved ones. My right is a future of equality with other Americans.
Untitled (Helen Muir, 1911-2006), 1953 black and white photograph, 24¾"x20¾" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 04-131
Miami photographer Klara Farkas created a series of portraits-—all of which are in the Library's permanent art collection--consisting of women who influenced the cultural, environmental, and civic development of Miami. "I had the privilege of photographing them," Farkas said, "and seeing in their eyes the inner strength and spirit which made each woman special in their own field."
This portrait is of Helen Muir--a journalist, a civic leader, a committed advocate for libraries, and a founding member of the Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library. Muir authored several books including Frost in Florida: A Memoir, The Biltmore: Beacon for Miami, and Miami, USA, and wrote for both the Miami News and the Miami Herald. Through Muir's efforts, the Coconut Grove Library joined the Miami Public Library System.
In recognition of her pioneering efforts and advocacy on behalf of MDPLS, the Florida Room at Main Library was re-designated as the Helen Muir Florida Collection, a collection consisting of current and historical information emphasizing South Florida, the work of Florida authors and Floridiana, including rare books, documents and local newspapers.
T. Trip Russell
Coconut Grove Branch Library, 1963 gouache on paper, 24" x 36" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 09-28
The first library was founded in Cocoanut Grove (original spelling) on June 15, 1895 by the ladies of the Pine Needles Club. In 1900 the Cocoanut Grove Library Association was incorporated and in 1901 Miami-Dade County's first library building was built in Cocoanut Grove.
Public libraries in Miami have a long, rich history – a history that traces back to the late 19th century. In 1995 the Coconut Grove Branch Library celebrated 100 years of service. The Library, which overlooks Biscayne Bay, includes a wing built as a replica of the original 1901 structure. Miamians have watched their public libraries grow from a tiny one-room library in Coconut Grove to 48 libraries spanning the county. The earliest libraries in Miami were founded through the efforts of local women's club. In 1942, these libraries were brought together to form the City of Miami Public Library System. In 1971, city and county libraries joined forces and formed the Miami-Dade Public Library System.
Gazetteer of the World, ca. 1960 pastel, paint, collage elements on the pages of a book Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: 700.92 YOUNG R
Abandoned objects such as doors, pieces of cardboard and wood, and other throwaways, such as discarded books like the one shown here, became the medium and canvas of the late Overtown, Miami artist Purvis Young (1943 – 2010). Much of his work dealt with poverty, crime, injustice, displacement, and other social issues in his hometown neighborhood of Overtown. Gazetteer of the World is one of several repurposed library books in the permanent art collection by the prolific artist. They offer a visual story of urban Miami.
Rainbow City, ca. 1971 lithograph, 27 ¾" x 37¼" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 75-49
Miami artist Robert Huff is mostly known for his sculptural and public works throughout South Florida. Rainbow City is one of his earlier works. The motifs in this piece, such as his trademark architectural grids, arches and trusses and his representation of conceptual and abstract settings, are examples of the visual vocabulary he applies to his large-scale sculptures, paintings, and drawings.
Louisville, 1976 collograph print with found objects and handmade paper, 21¾" x 21¼" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 78-205
Sam Gilliam is a prolific artist whose successful artistic career dates back to the 60s. This original piece from the late 70s was created during the time he started experimenting with a series of lively geometric collages, calling them "Black Paintings." Gilliam's style evolves dramatically with the passing of time. He has worked with a wealth of different innovative methods, style, and mediums, from textured paintings that incorporate metal forms, to computer generated imaging, prints, quilted paintings, hand-made paper, aluminum, plastic, steel, and more.
Domestic Dialogue, ca. 1976 photograph and ink drawing, 30" x 40" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 79-151
Now come with me, dreamer, 1977 silkscreen and lithograph on paper, 25" x 25" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 83-104
Untitled, ca. 1978 watercolor and pencil on paper, 29" x 23" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 81-76
Untitled, 1979 press plates for the Miami Herald Tropic project, 30" x 45" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 81-111
The press plate used to make Robert Rauschenberg's Piece for Tropic is a treasured part of the permanent art collection, and the Vasari Project holds several editions of the print itself. People magazine explains: "On Dec. 30, 1979 the Miami Herald printed 650,000 Rauschenbergs as the cover of its Sunday magazine, Tropic… The artist went to the Herald pressroom and signed 150 of them, thus enhancing their value--and the jubilation of readers fortunate enough to find one on their doorstep."
Rauschenberg composed the image from photographs taken in and around Miami. The inside of the magazine reads: "When you picked up the cover of today's magazine, you saw two pages out of history. It is the first time that an artist has ever made an original edition of lithographs for millions of people to see - on the same day. It is, in a sense, the biggest gallery opening in history." One of the most prolific and influential American artists of our time, he lived in New York and Captiva Island, Florida until his death in 2008.
Self-Portrait with Funny Hat and Cigar, 1979 colored pencil on paper, 24" x 18" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 80-7
Debris #6530, 1980 ink, paint and collage on paper, 23½" x 18½" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 86-69
Chair-Talk, 1980 pencil on paper, 21" x 15" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 86-70
Maria Brito's paintings and sculptures evoke themes of displacement, loss, and the search for identity. Her work has been praised for its intuitive appeal and its symbolic qualities. The sources of her imagery are her own life and memories, everyday objects, and art history. Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1947, Brito came to the United States with her younger brother in 1961 through Operation Pedro Pan. She was a member of The Miami Generation of Cuban-American artists.
Studio, 64 West 15, 1980 watercolor on paper, 18" x 24" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 05-50
The play of light and shadow, vanishing points and perspectives, and recurring patterns and designs on houses, buildings and other structures are dominant characteristics of the work of Cuban-American Emilio Sanchez (1921-1999). His paintings, drawings, and printed works stand out for their simplified forms, devoid of excessive details.
Sanchez's work mostly depicts facades of buildings, entrances of houses, abstracted close-up details, often of windows--usually seeing the subject from the outside. For this piece, Sanchez went for a more intimate view, painting the interior of his own studio in New York. And though the painting is treated with a great deal of naturalism, it remains significantly abstract. Of his work, he said, "What is most interesting is how the sunlight will bring up contrast because early in the day or late in the day or for that matter right in the middle of the day when the sun is at its brightest, the sun can wash the color out completely, whitening it all out. So just a little earlier or a little later I get this wonderful rich shading, especially with the yellow that seems to be the best color. "
The Permanent Art Collection has many works on paper donated by the artist, as well as a wealth of personal archives he donated to the Vasari Project. These include notes, journals, preparatory photographs and drawings that trace the process of his artworks.
Tristan Tzara Happening (Mandarine et blanc d'Espagne…), 1980 collage and ink on paper, 30" x 20" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 83-33
Studies for Gunpowder Works, 1983 ink on rag paper, 23½" x 16" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 86-68
Untitled, ca. 1984 Xerox color copy collaged on paper, 12½" x 17½" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 90-19
New York-based Tina Paul's work documents music, culture, and life in the New York City underground. Her desire to work more closely with music led her to become a creative and prolific New York club photographer. Tina Paul's documentary style is whimsical, carefree, and depicts the pleasure and sadness of life. Both her nightlife photographs and her 1980s Xerox copy collages portray the essence of the party.
Untitled (from Little Haiti, Miami Series), ca. 1984 photographic print, 20¼" x 16½" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 04-93
Photographer Gary Monroe created this series of black and white photographs documenting the Miami neighborhood of Little Haiti in 1985. He first became familiar with the Haitian community when he photographed refugees at the I.N.S. Krome Resettlement Camp in 1981.
Between 1977 and 1981, approximately sixty thousand Haitians arrived by boat in South Florida. Many South Floridians did not fully comprehend the political and economic conditions that caused so many to seek safety in Miami. Historically, immigration policy and racism have made it much more difficult for Haitians to stay in the U.S. than it is for Cubans.
Untitled (The Miami Generation: Six Cuban Artists), 1986 photograph, 19¾" x 16½" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 95-10
Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte is a Cuban-born photographer who arrived in the U.S. in the Freedom Flights of 1968. He is best known for photographing artists and celebrities, among them many figures in the Cuban exile community including Celia Cruz, Emilio Sanchez, Andy Garcia, and the artists pictured here.
Untitled [Fernando Garcia and Carlos Alfonzo's Anti Bilingual Bigot], 1987 photographic collage, 33½" x 61" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 04-70
In 1973, the Metro-Dade board of commissioners declared Dade County a bilingual and bicultural county, with Spanish as "the second official language." A backlash led to an anti-bilingual ordinance passed in 1980 and subsequent "language wars" throughout the decade. Sociologist and bilingual columnist Max J. Castro called the English Only movement "an attempt to legislate away the new demographic and cultural realities of Miami."
The public library is often a platform for nonpartisan public expression about civic and political issues. Conceptual artist Fernando Garcia collaborated with painter Carlos Alfonzo for this installation as part of Public Art Indoors, their 1987 two-person exhibition at Main Library. Rafael Salazar is a photographer who also documented many MDPLS exhibitions and projects.
Tomata du Plenty
Untitled, 1989 pencil and watercolor on paper, 13" x 10" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 08-82 (left) and PC 08-81 (right)
The subject of Tomata du Plenty's (1948–2000) work was people in pop culture and counterculture icons, historical figures, and the world of punk. The self-taught artist was the singer for the Los Angeles synthpunk band The Screamers, as well as a lyricist, a stage producer, and a playwright. In 1989 Du Plenty moved to South Beach where he created portraiture paintings and drawings such as those shown here. Aside from using music, literary, and film stars as his subjects, he also painted intimate friends and regular people he admired.
Walking, 1991 pencil on paper, 20" x 23" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 04-42
Kerry Stuart Coppin
Black Men Learning to Fly, 1991/2001 digital print photograph, 20" x 22¾" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 03-1
Kerry Stuart Coppin's photographic works are often misinterpreted as documentary photography. "They are not documentary photography," he says. "My photographs are interpretations, testaments, and poems." Coppin pursues a visual interpretation as a way to shape our understanding of and to take apart negative representations of the black urban and the black African experience.
Black Men Learning to Fly depicts several young black men in a gymnasium. Their clothes are sweat-drenched as they jump and draw out their arms in what seems like an aerobics class. The dress shoes, however, give way to a different interpretation. The young men are actually members of a fraternity at the University of Maryland at College Park, rehearsing a synchronized, percussive step dancing routine. The men's gestures make them seem to levitate slightly off the floor. This reminded Coppin of the folktale "The People Could Fly," about Africans who could fly but were sold into slavery and endured many miseries, until one day they flew to freedom.
Sexilia, 1997 pastel on paper, 29" x 23" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 02-10
Miami artist David Rohn makes paintings, drawings, installations, sculptures, and videos, but he is probably best known for his performances. He often appears in the persona of campy and satirical characters that he invents, using humor to make scathing political and social commentaries on the art world, homophobia, current events, and ideas about class, propriety, and good taste.
Sexilia is one of Rohn's series of portraits of Miami drag queens that also includes Adora and Damien Dee-Vine. Sexilia was the stage name of Pagan Rivera, a South Beach performance/impersonation artist in the 1990s and early 2000s. He performed at nightclubs and events in the guises of Cher, Eartha Kitt, La Lupe, Wonder Woman and Catwoman and was active in charities promoting AIDS awareness. He passed away in 2004.
Lynne Golob Gelfman
Blue Walk, 1998 acrylic on wood board, 11¾" x 25¾" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 07-28
Lynn Golob Gelfman is one of Miami's seminal painters. Her body of work is a result of her interest in experimenting with various materials and techniques. Layers of abstracted, minimalist patterns in Blue Walk were created by using onion bag netting, one of the many unconventional tools Gelfman uses as method, subject and a way of communicating about process. The surface has been richly worked with visibly heavy layers of paint, resulting in a pure, raw and organic visual effect. The patterns (ripples, fences, X-rays?) seem to move left to right, but they also appear to push forward and back in wandering spatial illusions.
Carmen Lomas Garza
Baile, 2001 lithograph, 26" x 36" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 09-11
Based on her memories and experiences living in South Texas, Carmen Lomas Garza has dedicated her artistic career to depicting special and everyday events in the lives of Mexican Americans. This lithograph illustrates a family celebration in which children and adults dance happily to music from a folkloric group. Garza says, "I saw the need to create images that would elicit recognition and appreciation among Mexican Americans, both adults and children, while at the same time serve as a source of education for others not familiar with our culture." Although Garza's work serves as visual chronicle of cultural, familial, and communal practices, Chicana artist and educator Amalia Mesa-Bains writes that "the tales depicted have larger allegorical references to death, aging, innocence, and faith."
Garza's work also takes the form of picture books for children, including In My Family/En mi familia and Magic Windows/Ventanas mágicas.
Untitled, 2001 acrylic, pencil and acrylic glaze on paper, 29" x 23½" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 03-27
COOPER's work is often made from common found material, such as wood, fabrics, mechanical and electrical equipment, and hardware items. His titles are also usually long and poetic. This original piece depicts increasingly outdated objects, such as a VCR tape and VCR player, and electrical devices together with a few unusual, possibly invented forms. A characteristic of his sculptural works and layered drawings (like this one) is the depiction of devices in the process of becoming obsolete and imaginary inventions that allude to death and waste.
When You Came My Way, 2001 acrylic and ink on canvas, 10¾" x 10¾" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 04-83
Miami artist Vickie Pierre's works include dreamy, delicate paintings that are notably poetic in both imagery and text. When You Came My Way is a small painting, with subtle lines and soft colors that seem to delicately dance or float within an amorous imaginary landscape that is heavy with desire and longing. The title flowing across the piece could be read as a fond memory of an intimate moment. The text--sometimes inspired by song lyrics, conversations or reflections--is used both graphically and decoratively. Pierre thinks of these clustered images, groupings and texts as "the basis of a connective network that alludes to identity, order, sensuality and feminine psychology."
Doomsday, 2005 gouache on paper, 20"x 48" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 08-15
Michelle Weinberg's paintings, collages, design and public art works borrow from the visual language of industrial Miami. She makes the crumbling warehouses, dingy parking lots, patterned tile, hand- and block-lettered signs, and fruity faded colors into nouns and verbs in her own personal grammar. In 2008 she curated and made a large-scale canvas mural for Polychrome Affinities at Main Library.
Weinberg brightens and rearranges colors, flattens perspectives, and releases designs from their surfaces and buildings from the Earth's gravitational pull. The words and phrases in her work are the ones that shout at us from street signs and billboards and get stuck in our heads. Chains of small, bright pink flowers repeat in her work like the chorus in a song. You can try reading her paintings from left to right like a sentence, or look at them as a form of folk art.
Amazon River 1954, 2006 ink on paper, 21" x 25" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 08-21
Beatríz Monteavaro's work sometimes takes the form of visual fan fiction. It tells a complicated story involving heroes like New Wave stars Adam Ant, Siouxsie Sioux, Gary Numan, and the Go-Gos engaged in funny battles, adventures and quests. Her obsessive line drawings depict an elaborate world influenced by science fiction, comic books, B-movies and horror films, and mid-late 20th century pop music.
Beatríz Monteavaro created this piece for Pregón, a 2006 exhibition at Main Library. The Library invited artists to improvise on a theme: they would select pieces from MDPLS's permanent art collection and exhibition archives and respond through their own work. Monteavaro chose the following photograph from the Romer Collection. She was inspired by similarities between the Amazon environs of the 1954 sci-fi film Creature from the Black Lagoon and the Florida Everglades—which Romer also photographed in 1954. Monteavaro playfully questions whether these similarities are really just coincidences.
Gleason Waite Romer
Everglades: Comfort Canal View, 1954 photographic print, 21¼" x 25½" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 87-11
The Romer Collection is an important collection of over 17,000 negatives and prints housed in the Helen Muir Florida Collection at Main Library. Gleason Waite Romer photographed people, events, places, and architecture all over South Florida from 1925 until the early 1950s.
Miami es mia, 2006 archival pigment print, 24" x 63" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 09-36
Karla Turcios's work is a visual narrative of urban transformation and preservation. Miami es mia (Miami is mine) forms part of a series called The Open City--a series that "explores the underlying messages of urban transformation and visual markers of economic change." This work captures a unique moment in Miami's constantly changing landscape. Some of the buildings and the vernacular signage depicted in the piece no longer exist. Here, Turcios superimposes figures photographed from murals in immigrant neighborhoods undergoing gentrification over a panoramic image of downtown transformation. She is preserves and comments on the changing city's visual and cultural legacies: a form of visual record keeping of those buildings that have been either been sold or are destined to be demolished.
Lincoln Road Apartments, 2006 acrylic, relief ink, and pencil on paper, 34" x 48½" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 11-07
Disciplinary Action, 2006 oil paint and graphite on Mylar, 41" x 33" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 08-01
Discplinary Action was part of an exhibition called Pregón at the Main Library in 2006. This exhibition was the first in a series of exhibitions called Call and Response. As part of this series, artists Angela Valella, Christian Duran, Vanessa Garcia, Beatríz Monteavaro, Ernesto Burgos, Carlos de Villasante, and Teo Castellanos were invited to select a work or works from the Library's permanent art collection and exhibition archives.
Valella found parallels between a series of her paintings and photographs of Pope John Paul II by Vatican photographer Arturo Mari (from the Exhibition Archives of Main Library). In her statement for the show, she said:
My paintings are like propaganda about…the essence of propaganda. Once you start putting flags on top of things, they become icons representing a celebration or manipulation to have people take a look, deliver some type of message to people. At the end, my work and the Pope photos represent the same thing. Doing what I'm doing [as an artist] is also a manipulation. I'm delivering some kind of thought--that people have to think the way I think. They are no longer paintings, but more like advertising, like billboards.
Vowel, 2006 wire mesh and metal Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 08-65
Brazilian-born artist Adriana Carvalho creates crafty assemblages made of unexpected materials such as wire mesh, metal, aluminum, brass wire, as well as other household and industrial items. Vowel was part of Under a Spell, a site-specific installation on the 2nd floor exhibition space at Main Library. The show was the artist's response to the challenge of adapting her work to a public library environment on the occasion of MDPLS's 2006 Annual Art of Storytelling International Festival featuring Brazil.
For this exhibition, she developed an inventive library fairytale of sorts, inspired by a children's book by influential Brazilian writer Monteiro Lobato: Emília no País da Gramática (Emilia in the Country of Grammar). Then, she cast her trademark feminine sculptures in the roles of mythical super heroines and parts of speech engaged in a mighty battle over free expression, information, tolerance, and the proper use of grammar. The five charming miniature ruffled dresses seen here represented vowels and participated in the visual "battle scene."
Pablo Norberto Lehmann
La incertidumbre de los signos, 2006 paper cut-out, 17" x 4¾" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 08-3
Argentina-based Pablo Lehmann often toils with the word, image, and space. La incertidumbre de los signos is a delicate union of text, imagery, and sculpture, creating a sort of poetic textile. Words are meticulously cut and carved from a fragile, fabric-like paper to form a literary piece that seems to hang precariously within an empty space. This entangled design between image and text overshadows whatever meaning the actual text may contain.
Lehmann says of his work: "To read (the work) should be a labyrinthine act of permanent reconstruction and collection…my works are texts and every text is a puff of citations, a tangle of significant ties. The words that seem intelligent are dumb if one interrogates them and that's why reading is a question, something that invites questioning."
Pierenopolis, 2007 Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 08-17
Pirenópolis is a city in Goiás, a Brazilian state. But the work does not speak about this historic town, or any other specific place. It is a reflection of disconnection and connection; a journey of sharing "this sense of not belonging anywhere and feeling that we could belong anywhere."
Pirenópolis is part of a series created in dialogue with poetic works by critically acclaimed Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco. It was first exhibited at Main Library for the 2007 exhibition A Place of Mind: Poems by Richard Blanco/ Paintings and Works on Paper by John Bailly. Bailly and Blanco explored themes of place, identity, and dislocation; often questioning "who we are, where we are." The monochromatic, multi-layered composition is a visual call-and-response that juxtaposes amorphous figurative elements and hand-written fragments of Blanco's poem. Some of Bailly's recurring images are obscured faces and nebulous clouds brought together by heavy black lines.
A Gaze at Sunset the Wing Grazed (triptych), 2008 silkscreen, mono-print, and drawing Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 09-16
Miami artist, printmaker, writer, and teacher Kathleen Hudspeth combined more than one printmaking method in this thoughtful piece. This work, consisting of three prints, was made for the group exhibition, A Girl Who Raised Pigeons at Main Library in 2008. For this show, artists were asked to read "The Girl Who Raised Pigeons." This short story by Edward P. Jones about an African American father and daughter living in 1950s Washington D.C. paralleled changes in their relationship with the decay of the neighborhood around them. The artists were then asked to create new work or contribute existing work that related to the story in some way.
Hudspeth's work is not an illustration of that story. Neither does it make any literal references to it. Instead, the artists' imagery is a personal contemplation about loss, displacement, community vigilance, control, safety, and changing landscapes. Hudspeth's visual language includes some of her symbolic imagery, such as exaggerated drips and clouds that "stand for actions, people and systems simultaneously."
"Yes or No" and or "Yes And No", 2008 color aquatint etching, 39" x 30" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 08-90
Gary L. Moore
into the colors and sounds of the city's morning…, 2008 colored pencil on paper, 20" x 36" Permanent Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library System View in online catalog: PC 09-15