Dead frogs and human skin abound at art exhibit

If you walk into the Schmidt Center Gallery between now and Jan. 25, 2004, it should be immediately apparent that youí_re not catching your average paint-on-canvas exhibit. The first thing youí_ll see is a bunch of real dead frogs arranged in a circle with a metal wire connecting them through the frogsí_ abdomens, otherwise known as Maria Fernando Cordoso’s Dancing Frogs. Further toward the back youí_ll come across Janneth Mendezí_s presentation of skin tissue in black cases and strands of hair intricately woven into shapes.

No, it is not a science fair. Ití_s Corporal: Contemporary women artists from Latin America, an exhibit showcasing 13 Latin American artists. Most of the pieces are being shown courtesy of Casa Riegne Gallery in Miami.

According to W. Rod Faulds, the University Gallery Director, Giannina Coppiano Dwin, a former FAU student, selected the exhibition works. Dwin is a graduate of FAU’s Master of Fine Arts program.

íåI like when we can relate our exhibition to academic disciplines that can go beyond the arts,í¬ Faulds says.

Many of the artists in this exhibit use their work to send a broader social message. Cordosoí_s frog piece is supposed to be reflecting maní_s dominance over nature. Mexican artist Margarita Cabrer reconstructs household appliances with vinyl and thread, expressing her feelings about the sanctioned economic exploitation of Mexican workers.

Sandra Bermudezí_s Wallpaper consists of the nude image of a woman, reduced in size and repeated across a blue background. Alone this piece doesní_t sound particularly impressive, but when you look at the woman up close, you realize that she has been íåcleaned up.í¬ She has no pubic hair or genital orifices. The woman is meant to be objectified í± she sits in a íåpin-upí¬ pose í± but has no real purpose because she cannot menstruate or procreate or nurture. This piece is also meant to comment on peopleí_s obsession with the ultimate objectifier, pornography.

Other artists decided to make artistic commentary on more individual things. Mendezí_s presentation is meant to represent how a small amount of body tissue is needed to provide a personí_s DNA and, therefore, identity, but the more subtle question is about human individuality and life experience. She seems to be questioning how much you can actually learn about a person just through tissue; through the tissue you will not know what a person has been through or what he thinks about in his most private moments.

Ana Patricia Palacios uses pictures of two feminine figures to discuss the duality of life. The figures (they could be dolls, girls or women) are supposed to function as metaphors of people searching for their identities. Another piece dealing with duality is Silvia Gruner’s dual projection video titled El Hombre que amo, La mujer que espera. It is trying to represent men and women í± an impatient toy horse characterizes men, while a hand tenderly petting an animal characterizes women.

It’s a good all-around exhibit that can be enjoyed by men and women alike, though its pieces will probably appeal more to females because it is made by women and many of the works represent or feature females.

The Gallery’s hours are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 12pm to 4pm; Wednesday from 12pm to 6pm and Saturday from 1pm to 5pm. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

The artists showcased are Sandra Bermudez (United States), Margarita Cabrer (Mexico), Maria Fernando Cardoso (Colombia), Sandra Cinto (Brazil), Silvia Gruner (Mexico), Larissa Marangoni (Equador), Janneth Mendez (Ecuador), Delcy Morelos (Colombia), Ana Patricia Palacios (Colombia), Liliana Porter (Buenos Aires), Sandra Ramos (Havana), Monica Van Asperen (Buenos Aires), and Eugenia Vargas (Chile), who will be doing a lecture on November 20th.