When Fantasy Meets Reality

“My work comes from sensations of childhood; feelings and experiences that were important at that time, but people tend to put away as they get older,” explains Peter Santa-Maria, a Miami artist who will exhibit his latest collection of ethereal dioramas this Saturday at “Peter & Dex Made Some Art.” Santa-Maria’s three-dimensional clay sculptures do preserve a childlike innocence – courtesy of wildly outrageous characters and a cartoonish sensibility – but they also delve deeper into the meanings behind our youthful fantasies.

Take, for example, his work "Libido Restoration Therapy." You might think the two-faced floating head that wraps its phallisized tentacles around a bewildered couple is a melding of Urotsukidôji and Big Trouble in Little China, but Santa-Maria has a more reflective explanation: “As a child my parents went through a difficult divorce. I watched so many alien movies like ET and thought, ‘Why can’t this happen to me? Why can’t some alien from another place come down and fix my problems?’ Analyzing these sensations, like having an imaginary friend or pretending your kitchen cabinet is a spaceship, shows us how important they really are.”

Sharing Santa-Maria’s vision of fantasy and reality is Dex Mission – an illustrator-phenom who crafts meticulously detailed images with pencils and watercolor. Mission’s hyper-realistic pieces range from depictions of national figures like Mike Wallace to wild montages of bodies and color. But despite the contrasting levels of representation, Mission and Santa-Maria share a lot of common artistic ground. Both feel that artists too often regard the fantasy genre as indulgent and simplistic. Santa-Maria says that exclusiveness in the mainstream art world is just pushing people away from enjoying the work at a higher level. “It’s cool to come into an underground gallery and be able to look at figurines and neat statues and recall childhood, but also to deal with subjects that are mature,” he exclaims. “You have to hook people in by allowing them to see interesting things and then allowing them to look beyond that.”

Which is why their show this Saturday at 8 p.m. at Pink Ghost (21 W. Las Olas Blvd., Suite B, Fort Lauderdale) will be a perfect opportunity to find yourself waxing escapist and thoughtful. Plus, there’ll be no cover, free food, and good tunes. Yup, the classics never die. Call 954-616-1304, or visit www.pinkghost.net.
Sat., Sept. 1

 
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