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Sun Breaker

Rob Goyanes

Ruby Sky Stiler, Sun Breaker, 2015. Installation view at Locust Projects, Miami. Photo Credit: Zack Balber with Ginger Photography Inc.
Locust Projects
February 29 – April 18, 2015

A functional aesthetics is necessitated, in part, by climate. For hot climes, shorts and chancletas adorn the human form, and slits, slats, and holes dress the built ones.

The New York-based artist Ruby Sky Stiler has built an exhibition of works that play in the sun, or rather, the track lighting of Locust Projects. Still, it gives you the feeling of walking around Miami: hanging panels of medium-density fibreboard were laser-cut to produce patterns of zig-zags, undulating waves, and Picassoish figures, referencing the brise soleils, those perforations of architecture common in the tropics that allow for the flow of air and light through the facades of buildings. From far they seem Romanesquely golden, like memorials to Pompeii; up close, the post-industrial brown of the fiberboard conjures images of standardized, transnational shipping.

The panels satisfy a desire for order, their geometry being impressively clean and repetitive, though their strict formalism may lack an expressive depth regarding the subject matter. However, the inclusion of human forms–which the artist’s sculptural practice engages regularly–creates an engaging cast of characters frozen in flat, decorative tombs. On the walls are a series of cast plaster reliefs, white and nearly blending into the background, strong allusions to the Deco and Miami Modern movements. Also on the wall, an animation plays depicting the changing arrangements of paper cutouts used for research.

Most pleasing are the shadows created by the panels, the eponymous breaks in the “sun” that do well in posing the central thread of the show: atmosphere.