"Community Portrait"

"Community Portrait" by Farley Aguilar (Farley Aguilar/Courtesy / April 24, 2013)

The Art and Culture Center of Hollywood's "All-Media Juried Biennial" has always offered viewers a chance to see works by established artists while discovering artists not yet on their radar.

The upcoming biennial, which drew submissions from 267 Florida artists, continues the tradition with 73 exhibiting artists, more than twice as many as the last show.

"There seems to be a new generation of artists coming up that I didn't know at all, so it was refreshing to see new energies coming into South Florida," says Gean Moreno, the artist, critic, curator and art-book publisher who juried the show along with Miami Rail editor Hunter Braithwaite.

The pair chose 109 of the 743 works submitted.


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Selections include "Community Portrait," Farley Aguilar's painting of dozens of figures clad in various garments and accessories, including hats, gloves, masks and ties. Some resemble clowns. Others are dressed like Klansmen, witches or businessmen. The figures, many with freakishly disfigured, zombielike faces, seem both united and divided by their visual similarities and differences.

The oil painting, based on a 1940s photograph, was part of "Americana," Aguilar's 2012 exhibition that explored violence and mob mentality. Aguilar says images displaying past injustices and absurdities demonstrate the cyclical nature of history and the idea that progress is an illusion.

"I think everyone is trapped in a historical period," he says. "I try to straddle a line between humor and horror."

Kelly Boehmer also uses humor to explore dark subjects. "Chupacabra," her nearly 8-foot-high mixed-media work, is named for the legendary beast credited with draining blood from the necks of goats, horses and other animals.

Boehmer's wolflike creature bares sharp teeth and fangs attached to its taxidermic crocodile head. Its ears — pig ears — double as dog treats. Its ribs are the remains of a barbecue meal Boehmer enjoyed, while the body is formed Frankenstein-style from parts of her other sculptures.

Clearly, if "Chupacabra" came to life, the fanged creature could tear a person apart. But fear of the hand-sewn monster is undercut by the taxidermic duckling atop its head donning a Barbie wig and a tiara.

"If I make materials that symbolize death and to me appear silly, kitsch and magical, then it feels a little less frightening," Boehmer says.

Also selected was "Untitled (Blue GG Allin)," Kubiat Nnamdie's print of an unsmiling man wearing a T-shirt depicting the cover of an album recorded by GG Allin, the late punk rocker who earned notoriety for obscene stunts such as defecating on stage.

Nnamdie photographed the anonymous man after he asked him for a cigarette outside an art bar during Art Basel 2011. Last summer, Nnamdie made prints in blue, pink, orange and black.

The work has since been exhibited in Mexico City. "Showing this in South Florida is a chance to bring the conversation back to its birthplace," he says. "The piece has come full circle."

Colleen Dougher operates the South Florida arts blog Arterpillar.

All-Media Juried Biennial

When: Opens 6-10 p.m. Friday and runs through May 26

Where: Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 1650 Harrison St.

Cost: $10

Contact: 954-921-3274 or ArtAndCultureCenter.org