Aqua remains one of PBT’s favorite fairs during Art Week for its relaxed vibes and its accessibility to emerging artists. Hosted annually at the Aqua Hotel on Miami Beach, this year’s edition featured artists like Shanghai-to-Miami transplant, Super Buddha. His style blends POP Art and Street Art into fun and vibrant pieces that radiate joy. He put his spin on Warhol with a series of swaggy Buddhas busting out of cans of Campbell’s soup. We felt the vibes coming out of Gucci Soup and the rest of Buddha’s wall.
Montreal artist, Marieve Lemay‘s IlluminArt series caught our attention from a distance. Her pieces slowly reveal colorful ethereal portraits that flash before disappearing again. By back-lighting her work and using alcohol ink, her subjects come to life from seeming nothingness in a sudden burst of color. Every piece has a particular intention behind it. Below we have a shot of Maeve speaking to us about Guidance.
New York based artist, Elise Rise, from Shim Art Network creates hybrid canvases in a surrealist style that incorporate traditional mediums like acrylic paints, and more surprising materials, like garbage bags. The results are textured pieces that serve as commentary on the nature of disposability and renewal.
Recycling and the repurposement of materials was a recurring theme at this year’s Aqua. The health of our planet is an incredibly salient issue globally and many artists at Aqua echoed that collective consciousness in their work. Spencer Hansen of Skye Gallery used natural materials and old fur coats that people donated to create otherworldly creatures. He even designed his studio in Bali using recycled Javanese wooden fishing boats.
Beacon Gallery featured Raquel Fornasaro. Her Zoomorph series questions the future of humanity and their relationship with the Earth. Children are depicted as the Curupira, a mythological demonic entity in Brazilian folklore that preys on poachers and hunters that take more than what they need from the forest. One powerful piece shows three children as vultures during the Brumadinho tragedy in January of this year. A dam failure caused the death of 256 people and 12 million tons of industrial waste made their way into the nearby ecosystem.
Michael Gitter‘s rubber duckie fountain in the courtyard was a perfect center piece to bring it all together. His tag line, “Water is Life, Water is Art” was emblematic of this year’s Aqua. This year’s show offered a deep environmental consciousness to go along with the always fun and chill atmosphere. Nowhere was this more evident than his fountain. We even saw a few kids take souvenirs from it, but who could blame them… I know I wanted to take one.
Until next year Aqua, much love, PBT, drip drip
David Collante – firstname.lastname@example.org
Steven D Morse – email@example.com