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Published December 6, 2023

Seen by Testudo: Exhibitions at NADA Miami 2023

By John Dennehy

John Dennehy co-founded Testudo with the mission to establish a more accessible and fair art world. John is a passionate collector of works by queer artists and antique ceramics.

Each year in December, the art world descends on Miami for its annual art week. From fairs like Art Basel, NADA, and Untitled to institutional shows at ICA, the Bass, and the Pérez, for a few days Miami seems to be the center of the universe. Here are 5 booths from NADA that stood out.

Installation images, Super Dakota at NADA Miami 2023. © Vanessa Diaz, Courtesy of the artists and Super Dakota, Brussels, 2023.

Adrian Geller, Tyler Macko, LaRissa Rogers, Thom Trojanowski, Super Dakota, Brussels. 

Super Dakota features new works from Adrian Geller, Tyler Macko, LaRissa Rogers, and Thom Trojanowski. Described as “a celebration of traditional craftsmanship,” the presentation revels in themes of rural bliss and Americana. One of my favorite works was Trampled Garden, a standout work by Adrian Geller that incorporates striking material details into the painting including a sheep’s wool, an intricate wooden fence, and a gardener’s tasseled shorts. Elsewhere, Tyler Macko’s mixed-media wall works bring together symbols of American decorative arts. Observable Basket immediately tugged at my midwestern roots with its nod to hunting culture by combining depictions of ducks with other symbols in brown, yellow, and green hues. The center of the booth showcases three sculptures by LaRissa Rogers that consider her identity and visibility as an Afro-asian woman. Finally, the paintings by Thom Trojanowski provide an exciting bit of fantasy that round out this sublime presentation.

Jennie Jieun Lee, "Will and Testament", 2023. Image courtesy of Cooper Cole.

Jorian Charlton, Sara Cwynar, Jennie Jieun Lee, Jenine Marsh, Paul P., Scott Treleaven, and Sami Tsang, Cooper Cole, Toronto. 

In this group exhibition featuring works by a number of artists from Cooper Cole, the two artists that caught my eye were Jennie Jieun Lee and Jenine Marsh. Lee’s ceramic sculpture on display features a collection of colorful, emotive busts. Layering colored glaze to each work achieves a painterly quality that signals emotional depth. Marsh’s sculpture in the exhibition, Enclosure, features steel flowers and train-pressed coins held in a hinge. As described by the artist, the title of this work derives from the process by which common land was closed off to peasants in England during the early days of capitalism. The delicate flowers being held by the oppressive steel hinge made a fitting symbol for the restriction of access to nature that is rampant.

Installation images, Towards at NADA Miami 2023. Images courtesy of Towards.

Jacob Todd Broussard & Kareem-Anthony Ferreira, Towards, Toronto.

This two-person presentation features paintings from Jacob Todd Broussard and Kareem-Anthony Ferreira. Broussard’s paintings on view include paintings from his fantastic solo show with the gallery earlier this year, in which he explored ideas around queer belonging in his ancestral home of Lafayette, Louisiana. The dark color palette evokes a southern gothic theme, and this eeriness pervades his most recent work as well. Through his painting that depicts a beach scene, Ferreira examines identity as a first-generation Canadian and his family’s history in Trinidad. Together, this pairing is unified through a complicated exploration of family history.

Installation images, Sara's at NADA Miami 2023. Images courtesy of Sara's.

Harris Rosenblum, Sara's, New York. 

Sara’s, a downtown New York gallery that opened this year under Sara Blazej, offers a solo presentation of artist Harris Rosenblum who uses a multitude of materials to craft a distinctive world. The artist described inspirations ranging from, “online craft tutorials, fringe ideologies and machine comprehension.” Two sculptures in the booth, Lesser Demon and Papal Orc, offer the viewer a first glimpse into the haunting universe the artist is building. Two large-scale wall tapestries, a collaboration between Rosenblum and Tomi Faison, compete for the attention on opposing walls and feature alluring anime characters. All in, the booth gives an exciting glimpse into the future of Rosenblum’s practice.

Installation images, The Valley at NADA Miami 2023. Photos by Tim Johnson. Courtesy of the artist and The Valley, Taos.

Amelia Lockwood, The Valley, Taos.

Amelia Lockwood’s solo presentation with The Valley focuses on recent ceramic sculptures that were made with atmospheric firing. By adding salt and soda ash into the kiln, these pieces achieve a rich color palette of deep red, khaki, and yellow that connect the work directly to the clay from which they come. This association with the earth is furthered in form - the sculptures feature organic shapes that suggest plants, seashells, insects, and coral.

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