For his Locust Projects installation, Miami painter Roberto Gómez enlists the weather.
Roberto Gómez, Untitled (Topographic Map study 1), 2014.
Agriculture and cutting-edge contemporary art would seem to make for odd bedfellows. But not to Roberto Gómez. In fact, working on his family’s produce farm in Homestead has given Gómez some of his most striking artistic ideas, resulting in paintings that owe as much to the vagaries of nature as to Gómez’s own hand. “It was a happy accident,” he explains of his current approach. Expecting a hurricane to strike, Gómez had purchased gallons of extra paint with which to coat his farm’s trees—denuded of leaves by the hurricane’s winds, they would otherwise burn in the sun.
However, when the storm veered away from South Florida, Gómez indulged his curiosity and poured some of the extra paint out on the ground, just to see how it would dry once the humid air worked its alchemical magic. Intrigued by the results, Gómez began pouring paint onto strips of plastic, peeling it off once it dried, sometimes adding a differently colored second layer, and then leaving the whole textile-like conglomeration to sit outdoors for a month. “It’s like collecting time,” he chuckles of the weathering effects on his Op-Art-like patterns.
For his new installation at Locust Projects, Gómez is suspending his artwork in the air via clotheslines. “I’m hanging paint instead of laundry,” he says with a laugh. Once again, Homestead itself has been an inspiration: “People aren’t even conscious of the alteration of the landscape,” he says of the clotheslines that dot the countryside there, bisecting distant views and throwing a surreal palette into the otherwise monochromatic rural terrain. “I guess it has to do with me being a farmer,” he muses. “I’m fascinated by how everyday life can be translated into art.” Roberto Gómez’s “Inside Out” is on view at Locust Projects, 3852 N. Miami Ave., Miami, 305-576-8570
photography courtesy of the artist