Under the ArtEd Connect Program

Converging Plateaus

As part of its ArtEd Connect program, the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Americas, in collaboration with the University of Miami, will present to the South Florida audience the exhibition "Converging Plateaus." The show brings together the work of seven graduate students from the University of Miami who are currently pursuing their MFA degrees, spanning their second and third years. The artworks encompass a variety of media, offering a comprehensive view of the diversity and caliber of the art program at the University of Miami.

Curated by Carlos Enrique Prado y Jorge Rodríguez Diez (R10)

June 14th -July 6th| 2024

As the title suggests, the exhibition evidences the convergence of very diverse artistic perspectives, which also reflect the artists' determination to refine their technical skills and develop the concepts that structure their personal poetics. Each of these students has demonstrated significant growth in their work and will take advantage of the opportunity provided by the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Americas to share their pieces with the community, their colleagues, and their family and friends. This exhibition has a precedent in "Circle of Influence," when the then Kendall Art Center, also in collaboration with the University of Miami, presented pieces by students Anthony Magnetti, Kim Bauldree, Sepideh Kalani, and Elizabeth Guignino, each showcasing their different and unique approach to the art of ceramics.

The ArtEd Connect program (formerly known as SOFLO New Art) focuses on giving graduating MFA students the opportunity to exhibit their best work and enter the art world with an exhibition and curating experience.

Converging Plateaus presents the work of Natalie Galindo, Zuyi Jin, Alian Martinez Rives, Monia Meluzzi, Lucas Varnum, and Cherlynn Zhang.

Natalie Galindo

Natalie Galindo is a Miami native with Cuban-Colombian parents. She currently works and studies at the University of Miami in Florida pursuing her Masters Degree in Painting. She received her Bachelor's degree of Fine Arts at the University of Florida in Gainesville with a focus in painting. She has been part of multiple group shows and exhibitions including an Art Basel group exhibition N2GETHER at Miami Art Society in 2021. She has commissioned private and public mural work in Miami and assisted Artists such as Rey Jaffet at the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami beach. She is represented by Miami Art Society Gallery and received the painting award at the Lowe Museum of Art Annual Student Juried Exhibition in 2023, best in show and best painting in 2024, and an honorable mention award in 2017 for the JF Gallery Annual Juried Art Exhibition in West Palm, FL. In 2019 she was part of the Void Projects residency program. Natalie also has two publications, Coin Toss Magazine in 2021 and Miambiance in 2015.'In my studio practice, I explore themes of time, memory, and spirituality, intertwining my everyday life experiences into my work. Utilizing the wet-on-wet oil painting technique, I immortalize cherished moments and individuals, capturing both their physical presence and intangible essence. Through an immersive state of flow, I navigate the layers of my personal and familial history, drawing from embodied knowledge and distorting the perception of time. Inspired by philosophical concepts of time consciousness, I explore the nonlinear temporal structure, inviting viewers to unravel narratives that resonate with their own experiences. Rooted in spirituality, my practice incorporates yoga, meditation, and tarot as tools for self-discovery and healing, creating personal symbolic connections to the spirit realm. Drawing inspiration from artists like Rothko and Hilma Af Klint, I aim to evoke emotional experiences and invite viewers to connect with something greater than themselves within my paintings.'

Zuyi Jin

Zuyi Jin is a painter and illustrator from Lanzhou, China, graduated from Capital Normal University in 2022 with his bachelor’s degree in Oil painting.  Zuyi is currently enrolled at the University of Miami to pursue his MFA in illustration with a full-teaching assistantship. MENDA series of illustrations is an examination and reflection of the artist's past experience. In the electronic painting, different textures are superimposed to show the artist's feelings about the atmosphere of his hometown. Various elements in memory are metaphors for thinking about the relationship between individuals and society.

Alián Martínez Rives

Alián Martínez Rives, born in Sancti Spíritus, Cuba, in 1988, lives and works in Miami, Florida. He is completing an MFA in Digital Imaging at the University of Miami and holds a BFA in Art and Technology from the New World School of the Arts and the University of Florida (2021). His solo exhibitions include Art Basel and Art Wynwood. Group exhibitions include the Gotland Art Gallery, Berlin, Germany; Le Lieu Center en Art Actuel, Quebec, Canada; and the Miami Film Festival. Rives has received numerous awards, including the Douglas Turner Grant (2021), and is in collections at Miami Dade College and various institutions in Sancti Spíritus, Cuba.
Alián Rives's work emerges in the interdisciplinary space of art and technology. His multidisciplinary approach involves extracting information from historical data and official records. Influenced by Critical Theory, Rives's methodology involves extracting signs and data from their established environment and placing them in the artistic realm. With a poetic and interactive approach, his work offers a critical commentary on oppressive tolerance proposing instead liberating tolerance, which involves actively supporting and promoting dissenting viewpoints that aim to challenge and dismantle oppressive structures. Rives suggests that genuine tolerance should prioritize the emancipation of marginalized groups and the transformation of society toward greater equality and freedom.

Monia Meluzzi

Monia Meluzzi, born in 1991 in Rimini, Italy. She grew up with both Italian and Dominican influences due to her parents' backgrounds. Her artistic journey began in childhood, leading her to earn an Artistic Maturity Degree in 2011 in her hometown. Seeking new experiences, she traveled to the United States, settling in Miami, Florida, in 2015. Meluzzi got her BFA at Florida International University, in 2022. She exhibited her works for the 100th anniversary of the Stone House at Deering Estate in Miami, 2022. In 2023, at the Project Art xMOCA Pop-up at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. Now, Meluzzi pursuing her MFA at the University of Miami, Florida.
'As an Italian artist in the 21st century, I narrative the social injustices that surrounds the behavior of humanity. My sculptural works share a global crises like war, environmental and society. Through immersive installations, I want to evoke personal experiences of suffering, drawing viewers' attention to these pressing issues. I repurpose objects to create new visual artworks, minimizing environmental harm while expressing myself creatively. My style is characterized by linear, gestural, and dynamic elements inspired by the Arte Povera movement and influenced by artists like Italian Architect Antonio Sant’ Elia and Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota.

Lucas Varnum

Lucas Varnum was born in Massachusetts. He received his BFA in Sculpture and Ceramics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Currently, he is an MFA candidate in Ceramics at the University of Miami, about to start his third and final year in the program. Varnum's work represents both failure and success. He casts basketballs with slip and attempts to shoot each one into a basketball hoop. This process captures the embarrassment felt from missing a shot in front of others and freezes that moment, keeping it eternal. Collectively, they create an overwhelming presence of shame and embarrassment. The bright colors of each ball are loud and in your face, impossible to go unnoticed. Each basketball is beautiful and something precious to admire, but at the same time, it is a constant reminder of his failure.

Cherlynn Zhang

Cherlynn Zhang is a story gatherer and image maker whose artistic practice encompasses photographic installation, clay sculptures, creative writing, movement, and performance. Her work explores the intricate intersections of border cultures, cosmopolitanism, deterritorialization, exile, and memory.

This exhibition has also been made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Mayor, and the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners.

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