Gustavo Oviedo: Biomorphic
Museum of Graffiti Pop-Up Gallery
If one word can define both Miami-based artist Gustavo Oviedo’s practice and our socio-cultural landscape today it is “change.” From climate change to biological evolution, the dynamic shifts that shape greater South Florida are equally embedded into and inspired by the environment through which Oviedo works.
His latest collection, presented in “Biomorphic,” makes no exception. Its own namesake speaks to the pushes and pulls of natural and man-made transformation — precipitated by means both intentional and inevitable. By blending the boundaries between context and content, Oviedo not only embraces uncertainty in his surroundings but also uses it as a narrative driver and means of creation for the work itself.
Rising tides, unending horizons, repositioned coordinates, resurrected reefs, and sinking boats are a few familiar places that are once again put on display. However, their inherently transformative nature presents an updated look and new investigation into these microcosms, ripe for today. Each space and specimens’ uniqueness is on full display, showing no matter how similar experiences, repetitive natural events, and evolutions shape these subjects, they are anything but expected or predictable — infinitive patterns and possibilities are each celebrated.
“Biomorphic” also invites viewers into the latest evolution for Oviedo and his overall practice. Discovery has always been a central theme to his art, represented through found detritus and exploratory documentation. Nevertheless, this collection goes deeper to expose a process of self-discovery.
By building on the foundation of his multi-year exploration of similar concepts and techniques, Oviedo’s introspection has allowed him to self-select the most effective aspects of his output, presenting increasingly distilled bodies of work. Oviedo explains; “the more you are able to hold back, the more each choice becomes important to the sum of the whole.” Be it on the street, on the beach, a gallery, or studio, this internalized nature of self-selection put into practice is not too dissimilar to the very acts of Darwinism in nature that often serve as his muse.
Constantly shifting this locus of control over what or how the work comes into being extends beyond process and subject matter, also playing a part in presentation. More obvious in Oviedo’s underwater-focused pieces, his murals are equally vulnerable to the elements all around. Exposed to vandalism, commercial development, extreme weather, and public discourse, these installations also experience a high level of co-creation by all that comes into contact with it.
Regardless of the range of chosen media or placement, the relationship between these pieces and the resulting body of work is refined through what can be best described as “environmental curation.”
While the literally temporal nature of many of these artworks limit their lifespan, Oviedo’s ambitions as an artist today reach towards timelessness. With the world seeming increasingly uncertain and change accelerating at a breakneck pace, the quest for preserving relevance is a constant, yet thrilling adventure. Luckily for Oviedo, a balance of sustainable production, focus towards historic documentation, and ecological crowdsourcing that embraces variability uniquely positions him and his work to be well-suited for the future.
As Oviedo continues to think back on his legacy and look towards tomorrow, “Biomorphic” presents us with not only his latest iterations of a constantly evolving practice but also a rare peek into his current perspective.
Excerpt from Joel L’s forward in Gustavo Oviedo’s latest book Biomorphic