Can I Sit Next to You?
How do we form new and meaningful connections through exclusively virtual means during a global pandemic? How do we collaborate and genuinely create with one another across the new virtual landscape? What is the creative nature of distance? A small group of artists have converged in Miami at Dimensions Variable to consider these questions and, through their respective and collaborative work, co-exist and see each other in their own work. Can I Sit Next to You? features works by artists Nicole Doran, Jacin Giordano, Coe Lapossy, Loretta Park, and Brandon Opalka.
Following several months of strictly virtual communications, the artists’ final collaborative action is the installation of their individual and collective work at Dimensions Variable, where select works are paired together. In so doing, each artist has a work that ‘sits’ next to every other artist in the show—a gesture that is both collaborative and generative and asks where one artist’s work ends and the next begins. These pairings intentionally remove the physical distance—and emphasize the closeness—that has existed between these artists for the last several months.
The work of Chicago-based artist Nicole Doran exists in a liminal space between painting, assemblage, and material abstraction and her paintings are often adorned with handmade ceramic objects strung like pendants or charms across their respective surfaces which offer a kind of charge to the work. Jacin Giordano is similarly interested in the tactility of paint and the significance of deconstruction and his works often feature networks of holes carefully carved out of the painting surface, revealing their insides to the viewer. Their exposure reveals something about the nature of both paint and the depth of the artistic process. The body and disrupting the binary in which it exists are central to the work of Coe Lapossy, whose video series of speaking paintings and hand-painted found pillows each recall our relationship to the human body and chart new futurities in which to connect with other bodies, painterly or otherwise. The sculptural work of Loretta Park is rooted in an exploration of value, the meaning of materials, and modalities of abstraction. Through the use of brightly colored found and discarded articles as source material, Park’s work is a rejection of the material and historical hierarchy of sculpture. Works by Miami native Brandon Opalka function as ruminations on emotional states, isolation, and the complexity and beauty of the natural world. The surfaces of his paintings collapse in carefully cut fragments of canvas, like snake skin or frayed palm leaves—a necessary shedding that makes new movement possible.
The deeply collaborative nature and collective curation of “Can I Sit Next to You?” is a profound statement about the current state of creative collaboration and encourages each of us to sit a little closer together.
– Evan Garza
Brandon Opalka (b. 1978, Portsmouth, VA) lives in Louisville, Colorado and works between Colorado and Miami, FL. Opalka studied at South Tech Education Center/Graphic Design 94-97, International Fine Arts College/Painting 97-99, and Miami Dade Community College/Environmental Science 2002-2004. Raised in South Florida, Opalka lived and worked in Miami for over 20 years before moving to Colorado in 2018. Opalka’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the U.S. and abroad, including 99 Spring Street, Superchief, NY, NY (2021), 20 ans Déjà, LHOSTE, Arles, France (2021), Last Year, Flowerbox Projects, Miami, FL (2021), A Joyous Planting, curated by Max Kauffman, MudStudios, Denver, CO (2021). Other work includes murals for Miami’s Wynwood Walls (2011), site specific installations & paintings, Back on Earth, Emerson Dorsch Gallery, Miami, FL (2014), Janigans, Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, Hollywood, FL (2013), and large-scale mural project Nature is Imagination Itself, Dorsch Gallery, Miami, FL (2010). His drawing and installations exhibited abroad include Think Warm: Miami draws for you, Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2006), Cash, Cans, & Candy, Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna, Austria (2013). Notable Museum Exhibitions include Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Frost Museum of Art and Boca Raton Museum of Art. Opalka’s curatorial work includes Rigid: A brief history of Miami graffiti, NOW Contemporary, Miami, FL (2012), and the groundbreaking exhibition Some Like it Hot, HistoryMiami, Miami, FL (2014). Opalka is a founding member of FeCuOp, an artist collective. He is also the founder & curator of The Co-Worker, a mobile contemporary project space (2014-2016). His work has been reviewed and featured in Art in America, The Miami Herald, ArtNews, and 303 Magazine.
Coe Lapossy (b. 1980, Medina, OH) earned their M.F.A. from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 2013. In 2006, they earned their B.F.A. in Studio Art, Painting from Kent State University. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Memphis as Assistant Professor, Coe served as a Lecturer at University of Massachusetts Amherst from 2017-19. In addition, they designed an Advanced Studio Seminar: Who Am I To Feel So Free? for the Five College Consortium. Coe has also been a visiting critic at Smith College, Rhodes College, and Bennington College. They have created site-specific works for Elsewhere Living Museum, Flansburg Architects Artist in Residency Program, The Boston Center for Arts, Terrain partnered with CNL Projects in Chicago, and ICOSA Collective Gallery in Austin, Texas. They have also exhibited at Museum of Fine Art, Boston, the Howard Art Project, Lesley University, the Museum of Pocket Art (MoPA), and Penn State University. Coe has been awarded residences at the Provincetown C-Scape Dune Shack Artist Residency and Elsewhere Artist Residency in Greensboro, NC. In 2019 they served as a CAA Conference Panel Chair on the topic of, The Practice and the Other Practice: The Relationship Between Making Art and Teaching. Coe also curates and writes for Tailgate Projects, a mobile gallery.
Jacin Giordano (b. 1978 Stamford, CT) lives and works with his wife and two children in Western Massachusetts. He received his BFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD and his MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Giordano has exhibited in galleries, museums, and art fairs throughout the United States and internationally including deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA, Perez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL; The Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, FL; Harn Museum, Gainesville, FL; The Texture Museum, Kortrijk, Belgium; Fondation Villa Datris, L’Isle-sur-lasorgue, France; Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum in Miami, FL; Western New England University, Springfield, MA; Locust Projects, Miami, FL; Foxy Production, NY, NY; Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FL; Dimensions Variable, Miami, FL; Otto Zoo, Milan, Italy; Richard Koh Fine Art, online. He is represented By Galerie Sultana in Paris, France. Giordano has taught painting and drawing as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Giordano is a recipient of the 2020 Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Individual Support Grant and the 2006 South Florida Cultural Consortium Grant for Visual Art. His work is included in the West Collection, Oaks, PA; The Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL; The Debra and Dennis Scholl Collection, Miami, FL and Perez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL. Giordano has been featured in The New York Times, Artforum, New American Paintings, The Boston Globe, Vogue and other publications.
Loretta Park (b. 1988, Goshen, NY) is a visual artist and holds an MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a BA from Bowdoin College. Her work has been exhibited at The Umbrella Arts Center, Concord, MA (2021), Shelter In Place Gallery, Boston, MA (2020); New System Exhibitions, Portland, ME (2019); Ray Gallery, Brooklyn (2018), Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, MA (2017); and Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockland, ME (2017). Reviews of exhibitions including the artist have appeared in Art New England, The Boston Globe, and Korean Daily. Loretta currently works in the Boston area and serves as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Nicole Doran b. 1983 (West Palm Beach, Florida, USA) received an Associates Degree in Fashion Design from Miami’s International University of Art & Design in 2003, and in 2011 she received a Bachelor of Fine Art with a concentration in Painting and Ceramics from New World School of the Arts. In 2020 She received a Masters of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While living and working in Miami she also attended the Knight Foundation’s Art + Research Center, an alternative school in Miami’s ICA Museum. In February 2018 she completed her second solo show at SPINELLO projects, titled Digital Shaman. Recently her work has been included in shows at The Green Gallery in Milwaukee and Elmhurst Museum of Art, Illinois.