Art and music have long collided within South Florida. Well before Miami became linked with Art Basel and certain neighborhoods were taken over by galleries, South Florida's arts scene was alive and vibrant, maybe not as in your face as it is now, but there nonetheless. Two artist/musicians who have seen the region's growth have been former Floor drummer, Holly Hunt's Beatriz Monteavaro and Kreamy 'Lectric Santa's Priyadarsini "Priya" Ray.
As members of seminal Florida bands, their names will forever be etched into the canon of Florida's underground music scene. Both women happen to be visual artists, and as such, offer a unique perspective on the cross-genre work of musicians creating visual art and visual artists creating music.
The upcoming Echos Myron exhibition at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood takes its name from a Guided By Voices song. This group show concentrates on the creative collectivity of a particular and diverse group of artists, drawing from a pool of over three decades worth of work. We had a chance to speak with Beatriz and Priya about the show.
"Ouroboros" - Beatriz Monteavaro at Emerson Dorsch
New Times: Let's discuss first how you two decided on doing this project.
Beatriz: This was originally a show Priya was putting together a few years ago with a mostly '90s scene angle. She was not able to secure a space at that time. The opportunity to curate a show was presented to me by Jane, and the only thing I wanted to curate was something like what Priya wanted to do a while back. So I asked her if she'd want to co-curate it with me.
What is the particular reason of the show's title? What is it about a 20 year old Guided By Voices song that encompasses the idea of musicians and visual artists and musicians who are also visual artists exhibiting together?
Priya: That's a question I'll leave for Betty because she decided on the name. I believe she chose that song because it describes the excitement or energy that exists when music and art is created from a world of passion rather than the consumption.
Beatriz: An echo is a repeated reflected sound. Myron was a Greek bronze sculptor.
Do you both agree that there is an intrinsic link between the two disciplines?
Priya: I believe there is an intrinsic connection between all forms of expression. Music, art, architecture, even engineering. I believe that the connection is human expression and it can come in all sizes and shapes and is not only limited to music and art.
Kreamy 'Lectric Santa
When putting this show together, was it a bit of a revelation to have such a large pool of participants to approach within South Florida?
Beatriz: Priya was more familiar with the old-school participants. I was more familiar with who was working within both languages nowadays. I definitely am surprised at the amount of people in the show.
Priya: South Florida has always had a large scene of art and music that has existed. If we were to go further back than the '90s, I believe that number could be much larger.
How does music affect your art and vice versa?
Beatriz: It's probably mostly the problem solving aspect and the desire for things to be "right." "If it's right you can tell" from the song.
Priya: For me it's not really. They are two separate things. The band is definitely a collaborative effort whereas my art is purely about my vision. That's how it is for me. I cannot speak for the others.
Many of the artists who'll be in the show have been longtime friends of yours and by that I mean that they've been artists well before South Florida became the art Mecca that it is now. What are your thoughts on the development of South Florida's artistic profile?
Priya: I am a firm believer in that money and creativity is never a good combination. When money is in the picture I feel it's like dangling a carrot in front of a horse. Once the money is dangling it changes that moment of creativity from something you do out of purely creating to something that is driven by making money. Though Miami has become a "Mecca" now, it seems the mighty dollar is what is the driving force rather than the passion.
What are your long-term goals with this exhibit for yourselves and the artists featured?
Priya: I don't have any long term goals really. My present goal was to put a show together that showcased artists and musicians that are still carrying on the tradition of playing music and making art that is not necessarily fueled by the dangling carrot.
David Alexander Bennett
Snakehole and Bank of Christ
Echos Myron, curated by Priya Ray and Beatriz Monteavaro opens on Friday, September 5 at 6:30 until 10 p.m. at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood. The exhibition will last until November 2 with a panel discussion on Wednesday, September 24, at 6:30 p.m. Call 954-921-3274, or visit artandculturecenter.org.
Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m., and closed Monday. Gallery admission is $7 for adults; $4 for students, seniors, and children ages 4 to 17; and free to members and children 3 and under.