Miami Art Week 2014: Splatters, Drips and Drops

Well-designed, colorful chaos across painting and sculpture at multiple fairs

There’s most likely thought behind every minute detail within an artist’s work—even if that stray droplet or bleeding line feels more like the product of chance. At this year’s Miami Art Week many pieces embraced—even celebrated—the chaos of fluidity and fluid impact. Whether that’s a drizzled glaze and the impact of gravity, a color that’s been spritzed, or an entire installation of rain-like pieces. Although these works are varied in media and message, each stands unified in an embrace of the drip, the drop and a good splatter.


Swiss-born, New York-based artist Urs Fischer stopped people in their tracks with his installation at the Sadie Coles Gallery booth within Art Basel. “Small Rain” (2013)—composed of plaster, oil-based primer, stainless steel and nylon filament—contained 1,080 hand-strung raindrops that occupied almost the entirety of the space. The drops, shifting in color from soft greens to deeper yellows, appeared frozen in time and place. The balance of chaos and control was impressive, as was the innovative use of an art fair gallery booth. Remarkably, “Small Rain” was also made in an edition of two.


Calling to mind Jasper Johns with a graffiti edge, “Pop Target #M6” (2014) by Ford Beckman employs collage work but lets the acrylic and varnish atop it all drip down on its backboard. The dripping lends a messier, more chaotic energy to the target iconography. Seen at the Aperture Foundation set-up at the Untitled Art Fair, there’s something familiar to the piece, and yet it’s distinctly Beckman.


At Pulse Art Fair, Margie Livingston showed “Large Black, White and Pink Pull #1” (2014) at Greg Kucera Gallery‘s booth. The large-scale acrylic paint on Alupanel work gives the illusion of having been soaked in water and left to drip and set—creating blended swirls.


As straightforward as it sounds, Nathalie Djurberg‘s “Donut with Purple and White Glaze” (2013) lets color drizzle over form. Crafted from rubber foam coated in fabric canvas, Djurberg’s piece isn’t scrumptious but it’s certainly cute—especially the acrylic paint and silicone drips. While the colors might not be true to what we know of doughnuts, the form and glaze are spot on. The piece was on display at Gió Marconi within Art Basel.


Stretched across a wall at Gallery nine5‘s Pulse Art Fair booth, “Strata” (2014) stunned. Together, artists Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann and Joe Corcoran affixed bulbous glass baubles—some half formed—onto paper that had been splattered and swiped with acrylic paint and sumi ink. The entire piece, beautiful and chaotic, artfully utilizes drips and drops to great effect.

Images by David Graver