Miville Gallery Article Anthology

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Welcome to Miville Gallery Article Anthology, the place where you’ll find all of the article published on Art Southwest Florida about The Miville Gallery, its exhibitions and the artists it features.

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Two works by Rene Miville part of Miville Gallery’s inaugural exhibition (07-16-14)

Cesar Aguilera 12On July 2, The Miville Gallery opened in downtown Fort Myers. Occupying the 2,200-square-foot south mezzanine, the gallery’s inaugural show features five artists. One of the five whose work is featured is Rene’ Miville himself.

In addition to successfully owning and operating The Franklin Shops on First and foundingMiville 05The Miville Gallery, Rene’ is a successful mixed media artist and photographer in his own right. He has exhibited at numerous galleries and museums across the country, including the Museum of Art in Boca Raton, the L.A. County Art Museum and The Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany. He created a substantive body of work in the late 1980s and early 1990s using a photographic process that involved splashing and painting developer, stop and fixer onto silver gelatin photo paper. At theMiville 03advent of the digital photography age, his innovative “opposing aesthetic journey” sparked a vigorous curiosity and interest among both museum curators and recognized international collectors and led to a PBS documentary titled “Master Manipulator: Avant Garde Photographer Rene Miville” that was aired extensively in the 1990s and early 2000s. Today, his work can be found in the permanent collections of the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany, the Museum of ART in Boca Raton, the L.A. County Art Museum and the Denver Art Museum.

His experiences as an artist inform his activities as the Viewers 04gallery’s owner, director and curator. “As an artist, I learned that you have to be on the phone making things happen. And that’s also what it takes to run a gallery. In my experience, there isn’t a gallery that makes money that isn’t calling collectors, business people and museums saying, ‘I’ve got this artist you’ve really got to see.’ Or arranging events like private showings and cocktail parties to show off featured art.”

Two of Miville’s pieces appear in the gallery’s inaugural exhibition. They were both created in the downstairs apartment of his mother’s guesthouse on Captiva, a room in which the floor was actually composed of sand upon which the foundation Miville 01of the house is built. “Rene often used the sand in his artistic process, making the works truly a product of his environment,” states the exhibition trifold for the show. “His relationships with his home is expressed in his dedication to the SWFL community, including the creation of The Miville Gallery in downtown Fort Myers.”

The exhibition is on view now through July 31. The Miville Gallery is located on the second floor mezzanine at The Franklin Shops on First which is located at 220o First Street in the historic Streamline Moderne store built by hardware magnate W.P. Franklin in 1937. For more information, please telephone 239-333-3130.

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Introspective work by Danielle Branchaud on view now at The Miville Gallery (07-13-14)

Mezzanine 01On July 2, The Miville Gallery opened in downtown Fort Myers. Occupying the 2,200-square-foot south mezzanine, the gallery’s inaugural show features five artists. One of the five whose work is featured is Canadian-born but locally grown Danielle Branchaud.

A second generation artist, Danielle grew up surrounded by art. But while her mother wasBranchaudinspired by the Southwest Florida landscape, Danielle’s work is more introspective. Through her art, Danielle aims to help her viewers better understand that emotions, from pain and sorrow to happiness and joy, are universal, and her greatest inspirations come from her dreams, even nightmares. “By reaching into her subconscious, her body of work exemplifies what she describes as ‘the things that we feel on the deepest level, and often fail to acknowledge,’” notes The Miville Gallery show trifold. “When you see one of her paintings on a gallery wall, it’s almost certain that this work was ‘birthed from a dream.’”

Viewers 01The five pieces on view at The Miville Gallery are ones that reflect various states of consciousness, which evolved primarily from a meditative state and nature. They portray motifs that are relatable in a way that encourages viewers to see themselves reflected in the painted medium, to say to themselves, “that could be me.”

The Miville Gallery is located on the second floor mezzanine at The Franklin Shops on First which is located at 220o First Street in the historic Streamline Moderne store built by hardware magnate W.P. Franklin in 1937. For more information, please telephone 239-333-3130.

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Daniela Martinez’s doll and arachnid photos provide autobiographical glimpses into artist’s life (07-07-14)

Daniela Martinez 01Last week, The Miville Gallery opened in downtown Fort Myers. Occupying the 2,200-square-foot south mezzanine, the gallery’s inaugural show features five artists. Twenty-two-year-old Daniela Martinez is one of the five.

Martinez uses a remote control camera to produce self-portraits. Two of Daniela’s series are represented in the show. Her doll collection serves Daniela Martinez 07as a metaphor for the plasticity of the personalities that people exhibit on the outside. Starring her pet tarantula, Kitten, Daniela’s silver metal printed series evinces the artist’s belief that even something that is typically viewed with hatred and disgust has a gentle, beautiful side.

“The variety of Daniela’s work is a result of anDaniela Martinez Here Kitty Kitty Tooaspiration to use art for self-expression,” the Miville Gallery states in the trifold exhibition hand-out. “The range of the characters that she creates, from a Barbie doll to a Zombie, reflects her inner diversity. Her artworks are manifestations of her daily life’s experiences; a photograph may reflect the happiness she feels, or the despair.”

The gallery likens her process to that of the legendary Cindy Sherman, and Daniela’s tool box includes light and computer editing techniques that she taught herself by watching online video tutorials. While she may be the youngest artist in the gallery’s seminal exhibition, she is clearly not the least talented, Daniela Martinez 06and patrons and collectors can expect bigger and badder work from this artist in the future.

The Miville Gallery is located on the second floor mezzanine at The Franklin Shops on First which is located at 220o First Street in the historic Streamline Moderne store built by hardware magnate W.P. Franklin in 1937. For more information, please telephone 239-333-3130.

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Naples artist Cesar Aguilera uses metaphors to express social commentary (07-05-14)

Cesar Aguilera 12The Miville Gallery opened in the south mezzanine of The Franklin Shops on First on July 2. Designed to introduce new work by curatorially-vetted artists to first-time and neophyte collectors, the gallery is featuring five artists in its inaugural exhibition. One of those artists is Cesar Aguilera, an Ecuadorian transplant possessed by a passion to change the injustice wrought by humans on each other, animals and the environment through his mixed media social art.

Cesar Aguilera 07A case in point is Captive Soul. This oil and clay on wood panel piece depicts a man in handcuffs. But the man’s cuffed hands are not painted onto the surface of the wood panel. Sculptural, they protrude from the surface that imprisons the tortured face of Aguilera’s subject in two-dimensionality. Aguilera has been exploring the possibilities of integrating sculptural elements into his paintings since immigrating to the United States since 1998 but, as Tincture’s Terry Tincher observed during the exhibition’s opening, while anyone could conceive the effect, it takes someone with Aguilera’s skill to “brilliantly pull it off.”

Technical acuity aside, Captive Soul has something important to say. Cesar Aguilera 13The man depicted in the painting, you see, is not under arrest. He is a migrant worker held in slavery in a farm camp in Immokalee run by a contractor known as a crew leader. He no doubt came to Immokalee illegally, paying a transportation fee for the ride to Florida. Told he could work off the fee over time, he learns upon his arrival that he cannot leave the contractor’s camp until he pays the debt in full, a near impossibility since the crew leader deducts from the worker’s meager wages exorbitant sums for food, rent, alcohol and cigarettes. To ensure he doesn’t just walk away, the camp is “supervised” by armed guards, who often pistol whip, rape and threaten to kill workers who try to leave the camp. Many camps are surrounded by fences topped by barbed wire.

“This worker was handcuffed and kept in a van at night,” Cesar revealed at the gallery’s opening.

Cesar Aguilera 14“For decades, farmworkers received sub-poverty wages, were forced to work long hours not under their control, and experienced mistreatment and violence from their bosses, or crew leaders, in the fields,” Coalition of Immokalee Workers member and farm worker Oscar Otzoy told Global Research just last year. But to put that statement into sharp contrast for his viewers, Aguilera depicts in the accompanying painting, Famulatus, a pair of cracked and weathered fingers grasping a handful of orange tickets. In the background, a quarter, nickel, dime and one-cent piece are splayed on a plain wood bench. “Each ticket is worth 41 cents,” remarks Aguilera. “That’s all a migrant worker is paid for picking a bushel of tomatoes in the hot Florida sun.” Not to mention fields containing plants so coated in pesticide that it stings the eyes and makes it hard for the workers to breathe.

Cesar Aguilera 08So severe were the conditions in Immokalee just a decade ago that it prompted a lengthy expose in The New Yorker titled Annals of Labor: Nobodies. Conditions have not improved much. ”In America today we are seeing a race to the bottom, the middle class is collapsing, poverty is increasing, but what I saw in Immokalee is the bottom in the race to the bottom,” independent Senator Bernie Saunders was prompted to say just a few months ago.

But Aguilera does not use the evocative imagery of Lost Soul and Famulatus to draw attentionCesar Aguilera 02to human trafficking and slavery. “Captivity has many forms and the most common is the captivity to excess, which extends to all of humanity and is the cause of most of our socioeconomic anguish as well as the incentive to enslave people to maximize the returns which nurture the many faces of our human excess,” states the transparency posted adjacent to the painting. “Civilization can seem a world of captive souls, even though we only see the most obvious victims, the ones that echo the voice of our own quiet desperation, the ones that disguise the burden of our adolescence as a species.”

With a background in environmental engineering, Aguilera also uses art to comment Cesar Aguilera 03on ecological themes. In There Is Something You Can Do, which he exhibited in 2011 at Samaniego Fine Art in North Naples, Aguilera excoriated the wanton dumping of toxic waste in the waters off Africa, where there is an absence of regulation and enforcement given the chronic warfare and political in-fighting being experienced by many African nations. “The waste is poisoning the fish, and the fish are poisoning birds, other animals and even people,” Aguilera observed at the time.

Cesar Aguilera 04Aguilera was born in the colonial district of Quito, Ecuador, the middle son of five children. He grew up in an artistic family and at a young age learned the basics of color and shape from his older sister, who was in art school. Visits to his uncle’s art studio further fueled his passion for art. While his early works were done in graphite and watercolor, he transitioned to oils and acrylics after moving to the United States during his late teens. While he regularly incorporates mixed media and sculptural elements into his compositions, his painterly style is clearly influenced by the Old World sensibility of Renaissance masters.

Mezzanine 01“Cesar’s art is inspired by the preservation of life,” states the trifold that The Miville Gallery published in conjunction with its seminal exhibition. “He focuses on how there is so much beauty in even the smallest of things. He wishes to amplify the beauty of human achievement with the voice of his artwork, while still engaging a sense of urgency to preserve our natural wonders.”

You too can become inspired by Aguilera’s poignant metaphorical artworks at The Miville Gallery. It is located on the second floor mezzanine at The Franklin Shops on First which is located at 220o First Street in the historic Streamline Moderne store built by hardware magnate W.P. Franklin in 1937.

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