At the entrance to the Projects — North warehouse in FAT Village, slabs of fake, fur-covered red meat are suspended from hooks connected to the rafters. Next to that is a tunnel-shaped, nylon installation titled "The Light of the Flesh," named as such because it resembles a pierced shell of stretched-out skin. It has the distinct feel of a torture chamber.
"I call it the 'flesh zone,' " says Rockford, of Fort Lauderdale. She is referring to a section of the warehouse dedicated to skin-centric installations, part of her group art show "Rough and Tumble," which opened Aug. 31. The large-scale works from 29 artists are responding to themes of "violent, random, disorderly action and struggles," Rockford says during a tour of the 8,000-square-foot warehouse on Monday night.
"I gave them several definitions to choose from, from violence and roughness to unpredictability and rawness. It's inspired by this warehouse, which isn't air-conditioned and feels raw and gritty inside," says Rockford, who has a studio at Fort Lauderdale's Sailboat Bend Artist Lofts. "So I think there are pieces here that have a certain repulsion — a grotesqueness — but simultaneously an attraction."
The same area of the warehouse carries "Repressed Ambitions" by Miami's Gabrielle Wood, a 6-foot-tall installation of a gaping mouth with 32 teeth and bleeding, fuchsia gums.
"I just wanted to capture that feeling of what a creepy dream would be like, that surreal feeling of having frustrations with your teeth," says Wood, 31, of Miami.
The exposed-concrete walls of Projects — North are an apt backdrop for an exhibition of disturbing and whimsical visuals, Rockford says. Taylor Pilote's installation "There Goes the Neighborhood" depicts a series of three melting road barricades on the gray warehouse floor, while the three pedestal displays of Lake Worth's Victoria Skinner show a rubber baby doll whose head has been transposed onto the body of a sheep.
The rear corner of the warehouse will house Matt Falvey's untitled video projection project, which consists of a wall-projected digital video and a rabbit-eared television airing white noise. During the opening reception, the clink of metal striking metal repeatedly will come from Paul McClelland's "Stress Test," a motorized sculpture of a ball-peen hammer banging a chisel wedged inside the skull of a ceramic bust. Visitors can climb inside Valeria Rocchiccioli's "Bug in the Chlorophyll Shower," a 1975 Volkswagen Beetle whose interior has been gutted and replaced with fake moss, vines and plants.
At 8 feet tall and 22 feet long, Ryan Farrell's "Bike Tank" is among the most ambitious installations. Welded together in two weeks, the sculpture, resembling a battle tank, is an assemblage of 16 broken-down bikes housed in a metal skeleton frame.
"I actually got zinc poisoning twice," says Farrell, of Miami, with a laugh. "But you can actually pedal it. I'm a gearhead, and I love all things mechanical, but I liked the irony of a machine that fights in wars over the cause of petroleum, but being powered by bicycles that use no energy consumption."
Rough and Tumble
When: Through Oct. 5
Where: The Projects — North at FAT Village, 523 NW First Ave., Fort Lauderdale
Contact: 954-729-5794 or FatVillageProjects.com