Monday, November 2, 2009

John Hood writes about Butter...

It’s Butter, Baby… And You Better Be There


Wynwood is about to get a bit wilder come Friday the 13th when long-time player and all-around man about town Francisco De La Torre sets up smack dab in the middle of all the fact action with his much beloved Butter Gallery. And there’s not an art aficionado in all the land that isn’t already keen on making this mad happening.


You know De La Torre, probably as Paco, and you know Butter. For three years it was the one cool thing about Coconut Grove. And it surely was the only world class gallery to make the once Bohemian village a place to be again. But all good things do conclude; or at least they move onward. And De La Torre has decided to do just that.


Accompanying the mission-prone gentleman is the Butter brood, which right now stands at five and resembles a family more than a stable. The quintet, which spans the spectrum of this city’s increasingly bustling scene, consists of Miami’s most vivid visualists. And their creations literally define the tagline Much in Demand.


Take Yuri Tuma, whose work can veer from a forward angling ala Calatrava to a refracted elegance that harks back to Peter Saville during the days the Brit did flowers for New Order. Or Ahol Snifs Glue, who could be considered the street equivalent of Roger Dean, had the legendary prog-rock cover artist listened to Biggie rather than Yes when he was reading all that J.G. Ballard.


There’s also Tawnie Silva and his painstakingly representative commentaries, which can range from the deeply anatomical to the robustly environmental without ever once becoming pedantic. And old-school skate pro Jahmal Williams’s new tricks in the gear trade, which made a Dogtown outta Beantown, and a Bahne board outta the whole MIA.


Then of course there’s Rick Falcon, whose debut solo show opens the new Butter. Falcon, a deific portraitist of exactitude and grace, creates the kind of cosmos that seems to wink at the work of Walter Keane even as it delves deftly into Renaissance mastery. Think Giotto gone Pop after a bout of Max Ernst and you might get some idea of Falcon’s neo-classic iconography. Imagine an instant historicity and you’d have a notion of its impact.



De La Torre too is an accomplished arranger of imagery, in many, varied disciplines. And whether he’s summoning his inner Tibor Kalman, stopping the presses at Tiempos, pulling out the palette and getting back to painting, or shepherding Butter’s brood into a bold, new world, his work belies a multi-dimensional life lived to its proverbial fullest.


Like the emulsion from which it takes its name, Butter is churned from something earthy and organic. Unlike that emulsion, however, Butter has immense miscibility. In other words: Butter mixes, in all proportions, to form a solution. A solution to the way we will look at all things from here on out.


Dig it. 

John Hood

photo by Rudy Duboue

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