Welcome to the concrete jungle: South Florida artists display “youth culture” at new OBJEX exhibit

“We only have so much space to work with, but we try to make it somewhat different each time,” says Dustin Orlando, owner/operator of Objex Artspace.

He has made it a point to try and add some flavor to the somewhat bland palate of Miami’s art scene. With dozens of galleries showing basically the same art in different spaces, it’s Dustin’s goal to showcase artists who are out of that loop. The current exhibit, Inaudibly Loud, features pieces from Tampa-based artists Jay Giroux, Sunni Barbera and Jeffrey Vreeland, all University of Southern Florida students.

This current mix of art is based around what Orlando calls “underground emerging artists, inspired by youth culture;” um…so this operates with the hopes of providing some kind of imagery for “people in our age group to identify with.”

This description didn’t seem to make any sense until I walked back through the gallery. Every piece was centered around some kind of structure that I saw everyday, at least in my circle of operation: Olde English labels, children mesmerized by TVs, joysticks and other allusions to the computer age, photos of young boho couples, references to graffiti culture and the more I try and make a list, the more I notice that there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between anything, yet ultimately, the pieces are nice to look at. With prepositions at the end of sentences in articles like this, that kind of thing is always refreshing.

While the paintings have a fairly “art school” look to them (i.e., they have a nice, careful composition, a methodical artistic process and a polished finish), they push just enough outside the box to make you wonder what caused the bulge to begin with.

Yeah, this seems a little abstract, but I guess I identified with the art, so it worked for me; plus I’m in the “age group” Dustin was talking about-18 to 25 year olds. After a little talk with one of the artists who was at OBJEX at the time, Jay Giroux, I realized that the eventual hope is to run into some guys like me that enjoy this stuff and have enough money to buy it.

The problem here is that the “iconic” things that the art is based on (these artistic renderings of the concrete jungle that most youth can relate to) tend to be what we all end up buying instead, and, moreover, the twenty-somethings that frequent art galleries in Miami usually don’t walk around with beeners in their pockets.

All introspective jargon aside, it probably makes more sense to let Dustin explain why this kind of art fits in at Objex:

“These guys were real professional. A lot of emerging artists lack the know-how or motivation to do so, [but] in this case it went real smoothly. The quality of the work and the presentation is pretty top-notch, especially for a group of artists this age.”

Yep, that last bit had nothing to do with what I said it was going to, but oh well. The openings at Objex operate around the same premise as the artwork they feature, all the while staying focused on our generation.
Inaudibly Loud is showing at OBJEX Artspace for a couple more weeks (Orlando was a bit vague about the closing date). Call 305-576-6551 for more precise info.

Sven Barth can be reached at big_sven@hotmail.com