Spring Contemporary

DEERING SPRING CONTEMPORARY 2020:

The Deering Estate presents Deering Spring Contemporary Projects – a series of artistic interventions throughout the year beginning on May 18, 2020.

The Deering Estate maintains the legacy of Charles Deering of supporting artists and creative innovation through its vigorous residency and exhibition program. The Deering Spring Contemporary has always been a platform for artists to explore the site and illustrate different facets of the history of the site and its surroundings.

This year, the Spring Contemporary was intended to explore the intersection of art and innovation at the center of many artistic displays presented at world’s fairs both in the United States and Europe. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibition has been divided into individual interventions. Several of these projects have been modified and highlight the estate as a sanctuary for creative experimentation. Some artists have chosen to alter their original works in response to the current pandemic and others chose to explore topics including humanity’s relationship with technology, scientific exploration and historical frameworks. All of these works evoke the innovative spirit of world’s fairs and Charles Deering’s lifelong commitment to promoting advancements in the arts and sciences.

Throughout the year, selected artists will be introducing their works on various sites throughout the estate. Some of these works will be activated through performance and audience participation, including a commissioned dance performance by Maya Billing in collaboration with Don Lambert and an interactive sculpture by Sinisa Kukec.

About the Projects:

Natalia Garcia-Lee’s new suite of paintings are the culmination of her study of human behavior from the perspective of neuroscience and is located at the intersection of art and science. Through a series intricately applied layers of paint and interlacing patterns, Garcia-Lee’s paintings trace the chemical processes of the brain that cause human beings to react, feel and exist in response to a world of stimuli. She refers to these works as the “Monkey Mind” series in reference to the Buddhist concept of the restless and reactive state of the mind of the contemporary world. Each painting in the series illustrates a reaction or chemical process and can be understood as an interconnected framework of neurons and neurotransmitters that form the mind and behavior. Through her use of atmospheric colors and layering, Garcia-Lee’s paintings recall the depth of color field painting and demonstrate her command of the language of abstraction.

Regina Jestrow’s Palm Grove installation Extended Connections is an interactive mediation on the psychology of social distancing and life in the new normal in a post Covid-19 world. Jestrow’s work makes strong connections to the formal language of textiles and indigenous quilting practices of storytelling. Extended Connections tells the story of the “new normal” and takes its form from the distances and patterns of social distancing. The work also invites viewers to consider the positive aspects of these new modes of interacting and spatial relationships. The installation allows for viewers to engage with the work by standing on the brightly colored markers arranged as a grid across the lawn in the Palm Grove.

Jillian Mayer’s Slumpies call attention to our ever-increasing relationship with technology and how this has changed our body language. These forms are meant to be utilized as supports for the body in repose and engaged with technology in the form of handheld device. The concept that technology “makes our lives easier” is pointed to by the supportive aspect of the work that is meant to facilitate using devices. Visitors do not need to support their own body as they’re engaging with that tech-interface (like a cellphone). The incorporation of these forms into the natural landscape of the Deering Estate highlights the irony of the mediated experience of the natural world through the lens of a screen. The sculptural forms of the Slumpies are also meant to recall the dramatic gestures of classical painting and sculpture.

For his new work, current artist-in-residence Richard Moreno took inspiration from the architectural structures produced for world’s fairs as well as the 1922 Stone House. The Mysteries of the First Stone is a large temporary structure built to house a resin-casted limestone found at the Deering Estate. It draws a poetic connection between humanity and the bedrock of South Florida. Oolitic limestone is a composite of fossilized organisms that form together over time and serve as a document of the life that has passed through a site. Moreno was fascinated by the evidence of over 10,000 years of human occupancy on this site and envisions a mysticism about the land at the Deering Estate that drew Charles Deering to protect it over 100 years ago. This work highlights the history of artists seeking to capture the divine in nature dating back to the earliest known works of art.

In the fall, the Deering Estate will present projects by Sinisa Kukec, Maya Billig and Don Lambert as well as A Growing Transparency, a collaboration between photographer Bárbara Fernandez and Madrid-based light artist Javier Riera.

Sinisa Kukec’s FACING GAIA is an interactive sculpture that invites the community to participate in the making of the final work, through a series of responsible inclusive destructive interventions. The work is comprised of a 10-foot-tall monolith made of steel and wood, with a gold polished aluminum mirror face, and a small mountain of crushed granite fist-sized stones. Kukec will be on site throughout the installation to instruct those who choose to participate in the collaborative art-making process. Over the course of the exhibition, the Deering Estate community will have profoundly transformed the mirrored surface rendering it a reflective abstraction of the surrounding landscape. Kukec’s work reflects upon how behaviors, rituals and social conventions effect our place in the universe. The work also utilizes the artist’s interdisciplinary interests in applied sciences and philosophy.

Current artist-in-residence Maya Billig will be choreographing a new dance performance in relation to a new sculpture by Don Lambert that also recalls the experimental, ephemeral and futuristic architecture of world’s fairs.

Growing Transparency will present Javier Riera’s light projections of geometric patterns onto the natural landscapes of the Deering Estate. The luminous interventions will accompany live performances of sound healing by local musicians, curated by Bárbara Fernandez. This work connects participants with the energy of the natural world of the Deering Estate. The project is conceived by both Riera and Fernandez as a means of raising the vibrations of our collective consciousness with the site, and give audiences a new way of connecting with the natural landscape and over 10,000 years of human history at the Deering Estate. This project is funded in part by the Knight Foundation.

Cultural Arts Programming at the Deering Estate is made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, and The Deering Estate Foundation, Inc.

Arts Overview