NiteTalk: Mirroring Imagist Yuri Tuma Gets Buttered Up


The last time kaleidoscopic photographer Yuri Tuma had a solo show at Butter Gallery it was a packed house. This time expect no less. Tuma's new show is called "Garden," and it is filled with unearthly delights. See for yourself this Saturday night.

Saturday night marks the opening of your second Butter Gallery solo show. Can you give us some details please? The title of the show is "Garden" and it will run at Butter Gallery from Sept. 11 through Oct.2. I will be showcasing about 26 photographs with a chance of a couple of last minute surprises.

Why did you title it "Garden"? The "Garden" show is about gardening the mind. Just like with plants, our mind needs soil, seeds and care. Planting our brain with seeds of perspective and cultivating it with knowledge as well as understanding will result in the never ending blossom of infinity. One can find sense in infinity looking at a perfectly symmetrical object or creation for there is no end and no beginning. By presenting a visual infinite I hope to awaken not only my mind but also other's minds to the power of awareness as the fertilizer of the mind. 

Being with Butter has gotta be a boon to your career. How'd you connect with gallery owner Paco De La Torre? I first met Paco at Joey's where I work. After he'd come through the restaurant's door a few times we started talking about art and his then-brand new gallery. I had mentioned to him I was an artist and showed him one of my photos. He became curious and we went for a beer and from that beer the rest is history. I have been made at home at Butter. Paco has a vision for his gallery and for his artists, and he is extremely dedicated to making his vision happen -- and very successfully so, too. Paco creates a true sense of team between him and his artists, and the chemistry works. Being part of the Butter family is an extreme honor and privilege I am always thankful for. Paco is a mentor and a friend.

You've said that the idea behind your work is to "achieve some kinda confusion." What do you mean?
I believe confusion can only happen when the viewers allow themselves to be open to a different meaning of what they are looking at. It is during that very quick and immediate moment of allowance that new information can enter without any premeditated concept and remain pure. So in a way, confusion is somewhat of a method of communication I try to achieve through my work. Confusion is a friend.  

It's true a lot of folks are somewhat puzzled by your pieces, if only for the fact that they can't be pigeon-holed a pure photography. What sort of process to you employ?
Ultimately my creations could be achieved digitally and/or manually through a dark room. I employ a method that could most easily be described and understood as "mirroring". It is only after I find the perfect initial point (the original photo which remains untouched throughout) that I can employ my method and puzzle the pieces together.

It seems you're guided by some kinda inner kaleidoscope. Is that even close? [It is] so close I believe my inner kaleidoscope became even clearer. When I am out taking photos and finding inspiration I think of what something could be rather than what it is. If there is any confusion to my work, it is because I am not confused at all. When I first started using the mirroring method my inner kaleidoscope was a bit rusty and the lens a bit dusty. Through the years and with much practice I was able to polish it up a bit and achieve a more sophisticated symmetry.

Confusion and kaleidoscopes aside, what other things are inspiring to you? Awareness, different perspectives and acceptance. Or is it different perspectives, awareness and then acceptance? Or maybe it is acceptance, awareness and then different perspectives. Not sure yet, but I am always looking inside and out to find those three things united for its everywhere around and inside of us.  

Miami's art scene is beyond burgeoning. Are there any local artists whose work you particularly dig?
Choreographer/performer Rosie Herrera and visual artist Rick Falcon are it. Rosie can perfectly match a moment of seriousness and joy almost spontaneously with her creations. I find her method to be very unique because it is a simultaneous mélange of cabaret theater with her classical and contemporary dance training. During her piece "Various Stages of Drowning" I was never sure if I should laugh or cry, and for that I am a true fan and admirer. Her and her troop of amazing dancers and artists, including Liony Garcia and Rudi Goblin, will perform at the Arsht Center beginning of next year.

The second artist I mentioned is Rick Falcon. Rick beautifully paints innocence and naiveté with a man's man hand in a way I haven't experienced before. It is a calming and charmingly beautiful experience to look at Falcon's surrealistic oil paintings. I am proud to say he is a fellow artist at Butter Gallery and his new solo show will open in October.
What's coming up for Yuri Tuma?
Next for Yuri Tuma is mirroring to achieve the perfect asymmetry.

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