Virginia Poundstone BOG – MIA
Locust Projects, Miami
by our Miami Exhibition Scout Jennifer Victor

Untitled3Not far from Wynwood where BBB Magazine’s Stephen Wever explains “neon goes to die,” I cross a threshold leaving behind the noisy street for a quiet village of greenhouses tucked neatly against a blue sky-walled valley. I am transported to Bogota.

Except, I haven’t even booked a ticket and the humidity is condensing in my thick, black hair as I enter a sub-zero air conditioned gallery. I am at Locust Projects, a non-profit exhibition space celebrating it’s 15th year in Miami thanks to grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and generous community support. Tonight is the opening reception for BOG – MIA by visiting New York based artist, Virginia Poundstone. Curated in part by the Locust executive director, Chana Sheldon and assisting programmer, Amanda Sanfilipo. On view in the Locust Project Room is Nobody Knows Me Better Than You by Alan Gutierrez.

Untitled2This is the first time that Poundstone has exhibited in Miami and in such a wide open space, she admits. The exhibition captures the “logistics of transport vernacular” concerning Columbia’s most lucrative currency, flowers. All I can clearly see are two television screens mounted on either extreme of the entrance capturing Columbian pickers tending rows of roses : they touch the towering vines like window washers barnacled along mirrored skyscrapers. Veiling the rest of the entrance are four floor to ceiling vinyl screens printed with images of greenhouses growing pink and yellow roses. The image-structures are printed on advertising material and were inspired by the mesh protection that covers greenhouses. A comment on the presence of flowers as a global, commercial commodity that are bred in Europe and sent to Columbia (for it’s perfect climate) before being shipped abroad.

The screens lead to a corridor where a mirrored structure eternalizes a massive ceiling canopy of flowers destined for the trash pile. In the flowers too wilted for market, in that detritus, there is beauty.

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A few steps away from the technicolor waste pile, I enter the main space : the market place. Miami is the center of the flower trade for the rest of North America. Atop boxes from wholesalers near Miami International Airport are sculpture pieces employing aluminum wire, black granite, and flowers that have undergone a process of transformation. Previously a commercial floral designer, Poundstone, really plants the theme of the exhibition here. Aluminum wire (a material used to engineer airplanes) grows out in all directions from a black granite block meant to mimic green flower foam. These flowers are immortal.

The buds have been dehydrated then rehydrated with chemical based glycerin and various dyes. They are stripped of their enchanting scent because the pheromones released contribute to a flower’s decay and lasting longer is the business.

“Why would you do that to a flower ?” Poundstone asks, when “part of the energizing thing about a flower is that it dies.” The short answer is because it makes the most market sense to.

 

Virginia Poundstone’s work will be on display at Locust Projects January 18 – February 22, 2014 | Tuesday – Saturday : 12 – 5 p.m. |