These pebbles and intricate ribbon concepts may suck you in like a whirlpool of lines and color

The Miami Design District has been bustling with activity lately with many art openings. Of the new exhibits is De’ja View by Warren Isensee and Coverlets & Carvings by Alex Blau at Kevin Bruk-two abstract artists with two distinct styles.

Both the shows are small in number, but quite poignant in display. On three bare white walls, Alex Blau’s perfectly square 13″ by 13″ paintings are evenly distributed. At first, they resemble a bunch of fancy seat cushions up on a wall. She uses a very interesting, precise technique involving layers of clear acrylic over alternate coatings of airbrushed acrylic on canvas. The design in each of the nine pieces is linear with vivid bright colors in intricate patterns of geometric shapes. The different strata give depth to the images and make them appear 3-D like those mystifying Magic Eye illustrations. Although the pieces are clearly related, they each have their own unique characteristics of design and color.

“Star Chips” is a painting reminiscent of a video game: a bright green background is the canvas for a intensely pixilated argyle design that sucks you in like a supernatural mission on Zelda. Another piece by Blau is “Vanilla Sandwich.” It has a lot of depth with crisscrossing red x’s that almost look like ribbons and white horizontal bars that create alternating columns across the x’s.

In the subsequent room, Warren Isensee’s seven paintings use a pebble motif, enthralling the viewer with bright, bold colors in faultless forms and circles. The pieces are massive in size and engulf the onlooker into a colorful, vibrant daze. With the exception of one painting and unlike Blau’s linear design, Isensee uses an idiosyncratic circular motif.

“Upsy-Daisy” is a huge painting marking in at 50″ by 60″. The piece has various dyed pebble shaped spots with a plethora of colors behind them, all depicted in a very clean-cut matter. There is no shading or textures, but rather a variety of hues painted in immaculate nugget shapes. Despite this lack of umbra and nuance in each color, the overall framework still isn’t flat and is highly stirring to the eye.

“Finest Aura” (82″ x 82″) may be the highlight of both shows. The circular pattern of pebbles draws to the middle like a vortex of warm colors. It appears as if you can dive into the image and swivel into the maelstrom, drowning yourself in the lines and colors. The hues are mostly warm, and though the image does not exude a balmy, fuzzy feeling, it isn’t a cold painting either.

De’ Ja View and Coverlets and Cravings run through Nov. 28 at the Kevin Bruk Gallery, 3900 B NE First Ave., Miami. Call 305-576-2000 for more info.

Kira Wisniewski can be reached at