Beyond Picturopolis, the city of Neapolitan Ice Cream

By Dinorah Perez Rementeria

Beyond Picturopolis. Miami Exhibitions
Michelle Weinberg, Neil Bender and Elisabeth Condon exhibited in a group show at the ArtCenter/SouthFlorida. Creating the imaginary city of Picturopolis was the le motif for these artists to collaborate in a harmonic visual interaction.

The word Picturopolis may refer to Persepolis, the ancient ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire. According to Deodorus, Persepolis had three walls with ramparts. All of them had towers to provide protection space for the defense personnel.

The images depicted in Weinberg’s work pretty much recall fences or division panels. These separators are decorated with geometrical motifs – ovals, circles, rectangles, squares – in different colors. There are other vivid designs like flowers, balloons, and letters on the white background. Gouache on paper is the technique used by the artist to generate her mythology within the city. Is there any gossip we must know about the beautiful Picturopolis? Yes, there is. Here is the first one: A Botanical Pet Show has just opened in the city!

Neil Bender favors the pink color in his work. His collages combine abstract with figurative patterns. A series of small pieces distributed on the wall gives the impression of being an installation rather than independent works. The spectator is invited to read stories hidden behind the apparent naïveté of the pink composition. One of the pictures reminds us of a cow while another seems a constellation with joint dots forming an abstract silhouette. Here is the second rumor about the magical Picturopolis: There is a man – probably a dancer, a gymnast or an acrobat – wearing pink leotard in the city!

Elisabeth Condon contributes with seven paintings made in watercolor as well as oil and acrylic on linen. Her main subject is the depiction of the Autumn. Leaves are falling off the trees; hurricanes and tornadoes are insinuated in the use of abstract forms. There is also a dove house, similar to a castle, lifted up in the air. Condon uses lots of brown, red, and yellow to represent the atmosphere of the imaginary Picturopolis. Suspicious feet are found in the painting, and of course the third surprise arrives: Big Foot is coming to the city for nuts and berries!

It is really touching how any pretext can be good for artists to work on their projects and prepare an exhibition. The construction of an invented city is a successful one. Who doesn’t want to go to the enchanted Picturopolis to see the man in the pink leotard, the legendary Big Foot or the Botanical Pet Show? By visiting the show, the spectator knows he has inevitably become another inhabitant of the mysterious city, where there is also plenty of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream for everybody.


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