Pittsburgh Takes Miami by Storm: The Boxheart Gallery and Mine Factory Shine at Aqua Art Fair

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Resound 1 & 2 by Mia Tarducci

Amidst the breezy setting of a South Beach hotel in the middle of bustling Miami, gallery owners, artists and collectors alike will be weaving in and out of hotel rooms transformed into gallery spaces to find the latest and greatest works from the art world.

Fort Study by Seth Clark

This is Aqua Art Miami – one of many art fairs that pop up during Miami Art Week, the center of which is the Art Basel Miami Beach show, an international affair that also appears in Basel, Switzerland and Hong Kong. Thousands of guests and artists congregate around the beach at these fairs for the week from Wednesday, December 6 through Sunday, December 10.

Among the international exhibitors at the show (including galleries from London, Paris, Istanbul and more) will be two Pittsburgh galleries, The Mine Factory and Boxheart Gallery from the neighborhoods of Point Breeze and Bloomfield, respectively.

For the Boxheart Gallery, which has also exhibited in shows in New York and Canada, this will be the second year at Aqua Art.

Gallery owner Nicole Capozzi speaks on the show’s global reach, “The amount of people that we can reach from all over the world in a week wouldn’t be possible if I was sitting here in the gallery, waiting for them to find my website…They are having the opportunities to visit galleries from all over the world in one setting, that you would never get to go to unless you go to France or Germany.”

“For the artists, there is the possibility of finding collectors for their work. More than that, they are put in this opportunity where they are exhibiting alongside major peers. You just don’t know who else is exhibiting in these shows…They’re exhibiting around Banksy and Hirst – it elevates their career a little bit. And then you have the opportunity to network with these artists and gallery owners, as well.”

Aqua Art is one of the most accessible shows during the fair, and features cutting edge works from up-and-coming artists. The sheer amount of different kinds of works presented creates an incredible variety in a single room and represents the real diversity of Pittsburgh art.

At the Boxheart Gallery’s space alone, there will be the art of propmaker and fine artist Kyle Ethan Fischer; plein air painter Crista Pisano; social practice artist Daria Sandburg; Russian sculptor Irina Koukhanova; mixed media artist Andrew Ooi; painter Seth Clark; and abstract artists Heather Kanazawa and Josh Hogan.

“It was very exciting to exhibit down in Florida,” said Fischer, who was also a part of Aqua Art 2016. “What’s great about being down there is you get to meet people down there from around the world who are just huge fans of art, and the dialogue you have is amazing.”

Also representing Pittsburgh is the Mine Factory, a unique gallery space created in 2013 that focuses on “nontraditional” approaches to curating art. At Aqua Art Miami, the artists’ works will be presented by Jeffrey Jarzynka, a local curator and art dealer. Featured artists include sculptors Michael Walsh, Carlos Rodriguez, and Ed Parrish Jr. and painter Mia Tarducci.

Interstellar #6 by Michael Walsh

For Aqua Art, the artists came together to create works that would start a dialogue on communication. Walsh and Rodriguez, both former graffiti artists, create sculptures that give two-dimensional figures of expression a three dimensional shape. Tarducci has a degree in linguistics, and represents the shapes and ideas behind language color and life in her abstract paintings. Parrish Jr even designed a work for the exhibit incorporating emojis – one of technology’s most prevalent additions to modern discourse.

However, the impact is wider than simply examining the way in which language is used, but rather modeling how it can affect and impact society at a whole – the perfect subject at an international art fair such as Aqua Art.

“You have so many different cultures globally that are interconnected and communicating in ways they never have…” Jarzynka reflected on the curated works. “I think what this is doing is taking four distinct individuals with their own distinct ways of expressing themselves and putting them in a room. It becomes harmonious, but still has individuality and dissonance. It is a somewhat accurate reflection of today’s society. I think the goal would be is that we all get to that place of harmony.”

To learn more about Aqua Art Miami, you can visit their website here: http://www.aquaartmiami.com/home

Photos courtesy of Boxheart Gallery and Jeffrey Jarzynka.