Wedged in Doral’s industrial strip – one of the most unexpected places for art – MaX Gallery’s Blue Balls exhibit brings together the work of five talented art-school friends in digital photography, video and paintings, dealing with the recollection of their past, all the while trying to alleviate sexual tension with the perception of memories.

On the left wall are Pablo-Gonzalez-Trejo’s works – quirky and imposing depictions in charcoal, such as his “Untitled Diptych,” a gigantic mouth with a tongue licking the upper lip and an equally giant scrotum intricately detailed, down to folds, hairs and wrinkles. “Untitled Triptych” is comprised of a hummingbird, a flower, and a toy soldier seen from the back, each a symbol of moments in Gonzalez-Trejo’s childhood.

Standing alone, these figures are seemingly innocent icons of youth. However, given the theme of the exhibit, the pieces together are suddenly charged with heated sexual energy, especially with the suggestive bill of the hummingbird coupled with the delicacy of the flower (hint, hint). The toy soldier adds aggression to the otherwise sweet moment.

Working with charcoal allows the artist to capture how a memory is often distorted, which fits well with the next work, a collaboration between Perez and Christian Duran entitled “Peekaboo.” As the name suggests, it’s a voyeuristic compilation of 25 hazy stills taken from various porn flicks. It creatively mixes juvenescence with eroticism as it represents the memories of boys discovering dad’s porn stash. The adulterated images, much like a memory, do not take away the impression one gets when seeing graphically contorted women atop surgically-enhanced penises.

Frank Garaitonandia’s art revolves around his fascination with the skin’s capability to attract and repel at the same time. This obsession with the flesh drove him to spend four years in a Florida farm slaughtering, skinning, preserving and observing the effects of decay on pigskins. The result is “4 Skins,” a series of digital photography close-ups of his observations. Also, his metal-and-clay sculpture “Abajo de la Cama” (“Under the Bed”) is linked to the other pieces with its sense of eroticism and innocence, juxtaposing a beckoning bed with miniature praying nuns.

Yamel Molerio’s collection of Cuban and American adages with pictures reflect the literal meaning rather than the figurative. For instance, the phrase esta entera literally means “she’s complete,” which Molerio portrays by labeling parts on a woman’s body. What it means to Cubans is simply that the girl in question is quite hot.

Overall, the show leaves you with the intended feelings of anxiety and sexual frustration, hence the name, but the pieces flow well from one to the next and attempt to make a blunt statement through subtlety – so go see this for a soothing massage below the waist.

Blue Balls is on view at MaX Gallery, 7846 NW 57th St., Miami, through November 22. Call 305-994-7909 for more info.

Ambar Hernandez can be reached at