Future Past Perfect
July 30 through October 15, 2023
July 30 through October 15, 2023
Future Past Perfect presents seven concurrent exhibitions of emerging South Florida artists who have already established a consistent body of work that has garnered attention. For each of these artists, this is their first solo museum exhibition.
Experienced collectively, these solo exhibitions demonstrate how these artists confronted their fears of the unknown while grappling with the tragic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and explored themes such as politics, migration, global warming, and social justice in their work. Their distinct artistic practices were honed and influenced by the isolation experienced during this period, resulting in exponential growth, maturity, and mastery of their work.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented unforeseen challenges to the artistic community, derailing the career trajectories of many emerging artists. Those who were art students during the pandemic navigated the intimidating task of building an art practice in isolation and through remote learning, while museums and galleries remained shuttered for extended periods of time. Forced to rely on the internet as their primary platform for sharing their work with the public, these artists experienced limited personal contact with fellow artists and professionals. However, the unparalleled opportunity for uninterrupted studio time allowed them to delve deeper into their creative process. Their artistic journeys are now ready to be shared with a wider audience, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the remarkable creations born from this concentrated period of studio introspection. Future Past Perfect showcases the vibrant diversity of South Florida’s communities and captures a regional renaissance that is bursting with talent that has yet to receive widespread recognition.
The exhibitions featured in Future Past Perfect were curated by Director and Chief Curator Bonnie Clearwater and the Museum’s Bryant-Taylor Curator Ariella Wolens.
Future Past Perfect Artist Interviews – Zoe Schweiger
Future Past Perfect Artist Interviews – Alejandro Piñeiro Bello
Future Past Perfect Artist Interviews – Kandy G Lopez
Future Past Perfect Artist Interviews – Joel Gaitan
Speaking from the Future: Career Advice for Aspiring Artists
1) Nathalie Alfonso: LineScape Dusk
The site-specific installation, LineScape Dusk, which Nathalie Alfonso (b. 1987, Bogota, Colombia; lives and works in Coral Springs, FL) composed on a single 26-foot wall in the museum will cease to exist following the exhibition’s closure. This ephemeral project is informed by Alfonso’s conceptualization of artmaking as a matter of physical endurance, an action-based performance hidden from public view. The laborious task of executing this large-scale drawing fully engaged the movement of the artist’s body, making it an essential part of the work itself.
LineScape Dusk is reminiscent of the vast expanses of Impressionist artist Claude Monet’s Water Lilies series of paintings. Alfonso’s composition implements Monet’s similar exploration of the horizon line by pushing it to the physical limits of the gallery space. The soft pastel palette of Alfonso’s installation marks a recent departure for the artist who previously worked primarily in monochrome. Although LineScape Dusk is abstract, it was inspired by Alfonso’s engagement with South Florida’s natural wonder, the Everglades.
2) Susan Kim Alvarez: Oogly Boogly
Susan Kim Alvarez (b. 2000, Honolulu, Hawaii; lives and works in Miami) plunges viewers into her wild imagination, where cartoon characters and mythological creatures abound in paintings, textiles and sculpture. Her cacophony of surreal figures engulfs the pictorial frame, each saturated with flourishes of neon and translucent color. Alvarez’s studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art were upended as a result of the pandemic. The isolation forced her to slow the pace of her process and educate herself on occurrences in the world. “Art,” notes Alvarez, “is a crucial part of documentation, activism, and general awareness, and knowing that has pushed me to reevaluate my practice and consider what I can do for my community.”
To counter the isolation she experienced at art school during the pandemic, she applied and was accepted to the artist residency Summer Open program at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami in 2022, where she could be more connected to other artists. Having been raised in Miami, this homecoming reconnected her with her family and cultural roots, which propelled her to explore the folk stories of her Cuban and Vietnamese heritage. The grotesque monsters who inhabit her painted world exhibit human frailties from a child’s perspective, such as in her tender though ghoulish textile work, Wanna Go On a Date?, which was purchased by NSU Art Museum for its permanent collection.
3) Joel Gaitan: Muerto Por Una Traición
Joel Gaitan (b. 1995, Miami; lives and works in Miami) celebrates the synchronization of Miami cultures, religions, and customs. For his exhibition, he conceived an installation that imitates conventional museum displays of pre-Columbian works, but challenges viewer’s assumptions of Mesoamerican anthropological artifacts by foregrounding each of his terra-cotta sculpture’s narrative. Among the themes conveyed by these works include the idea of being in love and lust, protection and prayer, etymology, offerings, surrogates of people in the artist’s life, and the artists’ love of pop culture.
Miami-born to Nicaraguan parents, Gaitan embraces his ancestry and history as central to his work, and employs traditional hand-building clay techniques. Gaitan notes that the title of the exhibition, which translates to “death over betrayal,” is a reference to the death of Jesus Christ. It also derives from the lyrics to the song “Aguanile” by Puerto Rican salsa singer Héctor Lavoe and was chosen to honor and celebrate the synchronistic road that the artist follows and his obsession with mortality and resurrection.
4) Kandy G Lopez: (in)visibility: caché
Among the works included in Kandy G Lopez’s (b. 1987, Bayonne, New Jersey; lives and works in Fort Lauderdale) exhibition are four recently constructed large-scale fiber portraits, each depicting a friend or passerby with a striking sense of presence. As Lopez notes, “I paint the (in)visible and the vulnerable while showcasing their power.” The title of the exhibition considers the multiple meanings of the word caché, primarily focusing on its definition as a person with an intangible (or hidden) sense of commanding presence; in her own words, “Someone who has swagger.” To have caché is to exude a sense of power, however, what lies beneath this is often a desire to be seen in a space where one feels unacknowledged.
Emotions, expectations, and visibility are stored away for the comfort of others, hidden in a caché. Lopez explores the strength, power, confidence, and vulnerability of individuals through a variety of media. The artist, who is an Associate Professor and Program Director of Art + Design at Nova Southeastern University, intends for her work to help educate, communicate, and foster discourse around race and racism. Her woven textile portraits are a way for the artist to consider her own image as a female Afro-Dominican American and come to terms with the performed and adopted identities she and others create as a means of survival in today’s society.
5) Alejandro Piñeiro Bello: Escaping Paradise
Alejandro Piñeiro Bello (b. 1990, Havana, Cuba; lives and works in Miami) focuses his exhibition, Escaping Paradise on a painting titled Exodus, created on the occasion of his debut museum exhibition at NSU Art Museum. Scaling 12 by 19 feet and spanning three panels, the work is Piñeiro Bello’s largest, most ambitious painting to date. The work seeks to capture the sensations of color and light under the Cuban Sun. A feeling of heavy heat is conveyed through undulating lines and a psychedelic palette which together form a Surrealist mirage. Amidst this ethereal landscape, a group of individuals can be seen immersed in the waters of the Caribbean. They navigate through the waves, utilizing the water as both a means of escape and a pathway within the islands’ tumultuous history. In Exodus, Piñeiro Bello invites viewers to contemplate the complex relationship between the allure of paradise and the desire for liberation. Through his masterful use of color, form, and subject matter, the artist prompts us to question the notion of paradise itself and the various ways in which individuals seek to break free from its confines.
Just prior to the start of the pandemic Piñeiro Bello traveled to Cuba to visit his family, but his return to Miami was forestalled due to travel restrictions. During this resulting limbo Piñeiro Bello devoted his time to painting on the island nation’s tropical beaches. Through these technicolor landscapes, Piñeiro Bello seeks to commune with his Cuban predecessors, writers and artists such as Virgilio Piñera, Alejo Carpentier, José Lezama Lima, Julián del Casal, Wifredo Lam and Victor Manuel García Valdés, who synthesized the experimental spirit of the avant-garde with Cuba’s innate cultural identity.
6) Lulu Sanchez: ADOLFOLAND
Lulu Sanchez (b.1992, Miami; lives and works in Miami) creates work inspired by her family’s artistic lineage. Her conceptual focus frequently merges diaristic visual elements with a painterly exploration of color and form.
Sanchez’s debut exhibition, ADOLFOLAND sees the artist respond to the work of her late uncle, artist Adolfo Rene Sanchez (b. 1957, Camagüey, Cuba; d. 1990, Miami, FL), a fixture within New York’s eighties East Village art scene, the epicenter of what came to be known as the New Wave art movement. Mining the family’s archive, Sanchez located Adolfo’s source material, and artworks left unfinished as he succumbed to a premature death from AIDS-related complications.
Appropriating these found images, Lulu Sanchez inserts her own narrative, resulting in the formation of an iconographic palimpsest. In this, Sanchez is not only exploring the makings of her own selfhood, but the innumerable approaches to mimetic representation offered through painting. The works within this exhibition present a spiritual exchange between two family members, who though they never met, are brought together by their creative force, offering a new legacy to the New Wave.
7) Zoe Schweiger: Above the Limestone
This exhibition showcases recently completed paintings by Zoe Schweiger (b. 2000, Miami; lives and works in Miami) in which the artist emphasizes her vision of a not-too-distant future, where her loved ones are submerged under the rising tides of South Florida, and forced to endure a new everyday existence within a dystopic Atlantis. While Schweiger’s ethereal figures are visually enchanting, the work is a clarion call for audiences to react and prevent this unsurvivable scenario. Like Miami-based Schweiger, the museum’s local community must grapple with a potential future in which by 2040, the places we call home may no longer be habitable.
The exhibition includes two paintings by Schweiger that were purchased by NSU Art Museum, one of which, High Tide, 2022, was the first purchase made possible by the museum’s new Curator Circle membership of emerging collectors and arts patrons. One of Schweiger’s recurring models is the artist Susan Kim Alvarez (featured in the adjacent solo exhibition), whom she met while a student at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and with whom she shared studio space in Miami after the two graduated.
Installation images of Future Past Perfect, 2023. Courtesy of NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale.
Support has been provided by the following Funds at
the Community Foundation of Broward:
Ann Adams Fund
Susan C. Gutman Charitable Fund
Kresge Unrestricted Fund
The Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation Broward Community Fund
LineScape Dusk was made possible with support from the Broward County Cultural Division.
(in)visibility: caché was made possible with support from the Broward County Cultural Division.
Images from top to bottom:
Installation view of Nathalie Alfonso, Linescape, 2023 at Spinello Projects.
Image courtesy of the artist and Spinello Projects. © Nathalie Alfonso
Susan Kim Alvarez, Wanna Go On a Date?, 2022
Collection NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale. Purchased with funds provided by the Museum’s acquisition fund. © Susan Alvarez
Joel Gaitan, Little Havana Baby <3, 2022
Terracotta and gold luster. Courtesy of the Artist and KDR305, Miami, FL
Kandy G Lopez, LoriAnn, 2023
Yarn and spray paint on plastic canvas. Courtesy of the artist and ACA Galleries, NY © Kandy G Lopez
Alejandro Piñeiro Bello, Mariposas, 2023
Oil on linen. Photography by Zachary Balber. Courtesy of the artist and KDR305, Miami, FL. © Alejandro Piñeiro Bello
Lulu Sanchez, Un Caso de le Vida Real Gen Z, 2021
Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist. © Lulu Sanchez
Zoe Schweiger, High Tide, 2022
Collection NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale. Purchased with funds provided by Curator Circle. © Zoe Schweiger
NSU Art Museum
Discover more as a member.
Major support for exhibitions and programs at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is provided by the David and Francie Horvitz Family Foundation Endowment, the City of Fort Lauderdale, Wege Foundation, Community Foundation of Broward, Lillian S. Wells Foundation, the Broward County Cultural Division, the Cultural Council, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, the State of Florida through the Division of Arts and Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts, Spirit Charitable Foundation, Fosco Family Foundation, the Moss Foundation. NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is accredited by the American Association of Museums.