The Miami Herald

Living & Arts

Tue, Jun. 18, 2002

BY ELISA TURNER


BARBARA GILLMAN

Move at Miami's Barbara Gillman Gallery suffers from a vague focus, presenting an erratic array of work by artists with Florida ties who've moved to New York, among them Gilberto Ruiz, Deborah Schneider and Ward Shelley. It's the kind of show you look at for compelling individual pieces, but first you have to overlook the faulty connections often surrounding them.

It's not really clear, for example, what Thomas Koole's nervy and spooky little sculptures -- with bits of genitalia and more than a few intimations of torture instruments -- are doing next to Scott Richter's richly saturated, thickly surfaced mixed-media paintings. The aggressive composition in Richter's Tomboy still looks wet, fat with messy frosting-like paint, but it confidently unravels the crisp certitude underlying Modernist abstractions such as those of Piet Mondrian.

A trio of terse photographic portraits by Judith Page is another notable inclusion, with an oily coating of flesh-colored paint nearly obscuring off-beat photographs of a young woman. Her barely indistinguishable expressions -- identified in their titles as postures of waiting, seething and laughing -- are funny for their upfront blandness, perhaps exposing the true dullness of ubiquitous celebrities snapped in similar poses.

The show also includes a video documenting Shelley's performance during the show's opening. Encased in a transparent plastic get-up connected to an umbilical cord-like tube that wound throughout the gallery, Shelley, in his persona of Bubble Boy, walked the line between entertainment and a sinister sort of surveillance.