Locust Projects presents Hidden in Plain View, the seventh edition of the LAB MFA summer exhibition program featuring Victoria Ravelo, MFA candidate at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University. The exhibition opens to the public with a preview and reception on Thursday, June 10 from 6-8pm, and is on view through August 7 from 11am-5pm. Admission is free.
Ravelo will be in residence June 1-30, during which time she will transform the storefront Mobile Studio into a working laboratory in which she will create sugar sculptures daily. The use of sugar references the ties of the local community to the Caribbean and the impact the sugar industry has had on the Caribbean as well as its historical significance and influence globally. Although initially only available to those in the ruling class and used as an opulent display of wealth, sugar evolved to become so accessible that those outside of this class developed their own traditions associated with it that continue today.
The amorphous sculptures will capture and reflect natural light with an almost amber-like appearance, alluding to its past as a precious colonial product. Locals from the community will be invited to collaborate by donating materials that have personal significance (for example: items of clothing, handwritten notes, etc.), which will be embedded into the sculptures in an act of preservation that exalts these everyday objects and transforms them to create new associations. Ultimately, the altering and processing of these objects will form something autonomously new that still bears visible traces of its earlier forms, capturing the spirit and presence of a people within an area in a specific moment in time.
“The goal is to expose unifying threads within the multiplicity of shared experiences that exist within Locust Projects’ surrounding communities – predominantly composed of working-class people of the Caribbean and Latinx, African American diaspora – and connect their individual narratives with that of greater Miami as a whole.” – Victoria Ravelo
The work recognizes the forgotten histories of sugar while bringing people together in the shared space of the present. As the sugar sculptures are exposed to the elements, they will physically morph and change over time. The organic process mimics our own bodies changing with time and age, and brings to mind Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s works with candy such as “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, that change form through visitor interaction.
The project is intended to serve as a space for exchange, where one can come in and leave with something in return for what they have offered. Whether it's a piece of candy, or a greater sense of community, everyone is meant to take something home with them from the space. Every individual offering comes together as a whole to build new histories; a transmuting of the old to create something new.
The finished collaboratively-created installation, on view from July 1 through August 7, serves as an archive of local memory and maps the cultural landscape of Miami's diverse communities through space and time.
This project was selected as part of Locust Projects’ annual LAB MFA Open Call by panelists Donnamarie Baptiste, curator and arts and culture producer; Christian Curiel, professor at Yale School of Art and Locust Projects alum (2019); Whitney Humphreys, artist, teacher, and Locust Projects LAB MFA alum (2019); and Elizabeth Withstandley, video installation artist and co-founder of Locust Projects.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Victoria Ravelo was born in Miami to Cuban exiles. Her work reconciles the multiplicity of experiences shared by first-generation Americans, utilizing abstraction to address the ways we (re)interpret and (re)make the world(s) we navigate and inhabit.
Ravelo earned her BFA from the University of Miami in 2015, and her MFA from the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University in 2021. Recent exhibitions include: La casa vacía with Grupo Ánima in Havana, Cuba; but when you come from water, The Chapter House, Los Angeles, CA (2021); outlaw culture: or higher ground, curated by William Cordova at Bridge Red Studios, Miami, FL (2018); and solo exhibition, Now, at Miami Dade College, Homestead, FL (2016).
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