They Say, 'Balls!'

Two artists find inspiration in coconuts and bubbles

The installation Dare to Pass, for instance, is a sort of archway formed by strands of rope enclosing a handful of large red balls, with another on the floor nearby. The wall-mounted Circle I, on the other hand, consists of LP records painted red and arranged to form a big circle. There are variations on these two pieces elsewhere in the show.

Other pieces feature balls of various sizes engaged in various activities: One sits at the base of a wooden ladder in Escape, ready to climb from the words PURPOSE IN LIFE at the bottom to SUCCESS stenciled on the wall at the top; another ball substitutes for the knob on a green door in Welcome; several balls rest on and around a sky-blue plastic playground slide in Exit or Entrance; eight bowling balls painted red make up Circle III, with a solitary blue outcast off to one side.

Here and there are photographs of red balls or bubbles in different contexts. Next to the big ball of acrylic and modeling paste Blow Me This Bubble, which resembles bubble gum, are four color photographs of people blowing bubbles with... bubble gum. A triptych of photos called Return to Origins features a pregnant woman with a big red circle painted on her belly.

Pérez Celis finds other galaxies in the hull of a coconut
Pérez Celis finds other galaxies in the hull of a coconut


On display through May 17. Call 954-340-5000.
Coral Springs Museum of Art, 2855 Coral Springs Dr., Coral Springs

The most ambitious -- and most powerful -- piece is the installation Peace Inside, which includes camouflaged netting and bowling balls with military helmets arrayed around a large, vertical rectangular box. Peer inside the box and you'll see your own eyes (plus a third eye in between -- how Riquezes does it, I have no idea) reflected in a mirror, along with what appears to be a dimly lighted corridor filled with red balls that seem to stretch into infinity.

A brochure and a handout for the show quote Riquezes: "[T]he red ball, playing a main part within the work, is an emblem of humanity, individual and/or universal, that is trapped, covered and a prisoner of schemes rigorously pre-established, of a world that wants to mold it to its convenience and perspectives, codifying it with a language many times subliminal, represented pictorially by a series of symbols..."

I regret reading this artspeak, as well as the even more highfalutin musings in an accompanying essay by Miami "art historian/sociologist of art" Dr. Milagros Bello. Silly me -- I just admired Riquezes' work for its whimsicality and sense of plain old fun.

A final note: As part of the only artists-in-residence program in the area, the Coral Springs Museum has commissioned Jan Kolenda and John Foster to create The Everglades -- A Relief Ceramic Tile Wall Mural. The 54-by-17-foot tile mural will be permanently installed on the museum's south side in time for a September dedication ceremony. Between now and then, supporters of the arts are invited to participate in the project by buying a square foot (nine tiles) or a square yard (81 tiles) of the mural. Call the museum for details.

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