Attitudes in Latitudes: The Northern Wild Explores the Tropics, ArtCenter, SouthBeach    March 14-April 26 2015


ArtCenter/South Florida to unveil

Attitudes in Latitudes – The Northern Wild explores the Tropics

March 14 – April 26, 2015

The ArtCenter/South Florida celebrates yet another milestone during its 30th anniversary year. Continuing its 2015 season, the Miami Beach-based institution will celebrate its final exhibition at the historic 800-810 building on Lincoln Road. Attitudes in Latitudes: The Northern Wild Explores the Tropics, an exhibition spanning both the Richard Shack Gallery and Project 924, will kick-off March 14 and continue through April 26. 

Curated by Italian-born, Ombretta Agró Andruff, six artists from Winnipeg, Canada are invited to join six South Florida-based artists, as they explore the undeniable intrigue of the strong yet sometimes peculiar connection between the landscapes that surrounds, and in many ways isolates the creatures, either real or invented, that inhabit it. Specifically, three of the artists from Winnipeg have been invited to Miami Beach to create their works on-site and participate in public programs organized in conjunction with the show, allowing their northern “wild” outlook to create their own version of South Florida’s tropical character.

Agró, who has curated exhibitions and art events in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, and has collaborated with galleries, museums, art festivals and art fairs often combining various art-forms, is widely known for working from a global viewpoint. In an increasingly diverse art world, Agró's perspective enables her to build bridges between cultures to facilitate a larger public awareness of emerging artists.

Her exhibition – Attitudes in Latitudes – achieves that very same goal. By bringing together 12 artists from two very distinct locales, Agró not only builds a realistic cultural bridge, but also allows viewers to cross it while wearing surreal lenses – opening up their eyes to the most striking – and at the same time – most microscopic forms of environmental inspiration.

Artist works featured in the Attitudes in Latitudes: The Northern Wild Explores the Tropics include:

A herd of toy plastic horses, dramatically altered by Diana Thorneycroft. The Winnipeg-based artist takes inspiration from a visit to Shenzhen, China, and her encounter with the area’s street beggars. To some extent, this homage to the disfigured individuals replaces parts of the toys with awkward prosthetics, contraptions with wheels and various 3D mixed media approaches.

 A similar tension between the beautiful and the grotesque can be found in another horse-inspired work, this time by Miami-based Andrew Nigon, who will present a 'carnivalesque' sculpture of suspended ponies made with colorful foam, plaster and plastic.

 The bright colors of Nigon's sculpture flow into the fantastical photographs and collages of Winnipegger Dominique Rey, who series Erlking, features Rey wearing odd looking costumes and prosthesis to become the German Erlkönig – a malevolent creature that awaits the unsuspecting traveler in the depths of the wilderness. The performances captured between video and photographs are enacted in desolate landscapes and remote locations. Images are deconstructed and reassembled to create even more surrealist environments.

 A fully immersive environment is the contribution by another Winnipeg-based artist, Heather Komus, who created an installation specifically for Project 924 using organic, recycled and found materials.  Stemming from an interest in biology, this highly research-based piece investigates the entomology, microorganisms, plant science and paleogeology of a region.

 Also creating works specifically for this exhibition, Komus finds an interesting counterpart in Miamian Lucinda Linderman whose degree in biology and passion for upcycling constructs whimsical installations, free-standing and sometimes wearable sculptures. The sculpture and large tapestry presented in this show are influenced by research the artist conducted in the Everglades.

 The polluted environment and its impact on the animals that inhabit it are also explored, filtered through a healthy dose of irony, in the drawings and 'naive-style' paintings by Winnipeg-based Evin Collis.   For example, in one piece titled Polar Dump, a Polar bear emerges from a garbage mound. Accompanying the bold colored oil on canvases are a series of small, black & white drawings portraying similar scenes.

 Works on paper are also the preferred medium of another Winnipegger, Erin Josephson Laidlaw, who through an interdisciplinary art practice that incorporates drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, sculpture, and animation, explores themes such as collection, preservation, and the way human culture understands/misunderstands nature. Delicate drawings featured in the exhibition portray specimens observed in Natural History museums around the world. 

A large-scale drawing is one of the two artworks presented by Swedish-born and Miami-based Christina Pettersson.  The lions seen in the work are from a cemetery in North Miami that has an entire section of circus performers who once had a community here in South Florida.  The circus, and specifically the history here, has always fascinated the artist who is also presenting a video inspired by this site and its peculiar history.

A fascination for insects, and specifically bees, brings together the work of Miami-based Antonia Wright and Winnipeg-based Aganetha Dyck.  Wright's mesmerizing film Be records yet another one of the artist daring performances, which is seen here practicing tai chi while enveloped by a swarm of bees. In Aganetha Dyck's beehives scans, the bees are also actively involved in the art making process as a flatbed scanner is placed inside a beehive allowing the bees to 'paint' their images as they move over the scanner bed. Both are exhibited alongside each other inside Project 924.

Last but not least are two Miami-based artists Ana Mendez and Anja Marais. As a performance artist and choreographer, Mendez presents experimental hybrid dance performances based on rituals and traditions of native cultures. Titled EyeWalker, a solo performance inspired by the industriousness and survivalist mentality of Beaver Medicine in Native American teachings, Mendez’s caricature of a wild woman is a stunning enactment of the power to manipulate and collaborate with the natural world. Performances are scheduled for March 18 and April 8.

Anja Marais, a South-African born and Miami-based multidisciplinary artist, presents the exhibition’s title piece Altitude, an immersive, interactive installation in which a multi component video projection intersects with mixed media sculpture. Projected animation of moving clouds, fog and opening sky over a sculpture installation of three veiled women, combines silence and breathing while revealing our human capacity of transcendence and our longing to be one with nature.

                Described by the Japanese as “Cloud-longing,” this final piece summarizes the exhibition’s hope to inspire visitors to 'long for clouds’ and become one                          with nature, multiple times over, as they leave the galleries to immerse themselves into the buzzing life of Lincoln Road.

               Attitudes in Latitudes: The Northern Wild Explores the Tropics, curated by Ombretta Agró Andruff opens March 14 and continues through April 26, 2015                 at the ArtCenter’s Richard Shack Gallery and Project 924. A special opening reception featuring Agró and her invited artists will be held on Wednesday,                       March 18 at Richard Shack Gallery between 7 and 10 p.m. and is open to the public.

              A performance by Ana Mendez will be held during opening night and the curator walkthrough on April 8, 2015.

               For more information about the exhibition, visit

About ArtCenter/South Florida

The ArtCenter was the first micro-enterprise development program of its kind for artists in Miami-Dade County.  It currently hosts more than 40 artists providing subsidized studios, jobs and technical support.  In 2013, ArtCenter expanded its residency programs by launching its revamped Studio Residency Program and the new Visiting Artist Programs to attract national and international artists. The Exhibition Series exposes resident and non-resident artists to approximately 120,000 people per year.  The Education Program is for all ages and offers over 165 on-site tuition-based ARTstudies classes and free community outreach initiatives for special needs populations.  On-site public programming includes lectures, concerts, performances, screenings and free admission to ArtCenter galleries and artists’ studios.