NiteTalk: Talking Art with Aliona Ortega (& Olivier Waltman)

Aliona Ortega R1

Another Second Saturday is upon us, and, as everyone well knows, that means Art Walk in Wynwood. As always, the action will be a feast for the eyes, especially within the liberating confines of Waltman Ortega. Gallerists Aliona Ortega grabbed partner Olivier Waltman so they could fill us in.

For those who don't yet know, who (and what) is Waltman Ortega? Aliona: Waltman Ortega Fine Art is a contemporary art gallery located in Wynwood. The gallery opened its doors in 2010 as a partnership between a Paris-based gallerist Olivier Waltman and a Russian gallerist based in Miami Aliona Ortega. Its original location in Saint-Germain-des-Pres, Paris, Galerie Olivier Waltman, has been operating since 2006.

We represent emerging to mid-career artists and specialize in painting, sculpture and photography. Our gallery offers a rigorous, yet approachable contemporary program featuring an international roster of artists from the US, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

How'd you decide to make Wynwood your (new) home? Aliona: We have been watching how the Miami art scene has been emerging and developing in the course of the several past years, starting off by participating in various Miami-based art fairs (Art Miami, Scope Miami, etc.). Although Miami is still quite a young art scene, in comparison to those in New York, Paris, London; we strongly believe that it continues to get recognition through out the art aficionados all over the world. And with Wynwood being the epicenter of the contemporary art scene in South Florida, we decided that it was the right moment to open a permanent space.

Is there much of a difference between the Parisian and Miami art scenes? Olivier: The Miami art scene is also a younger art scene than Paris. Most of the galleries are less than 10 years old and this is a major factor of liveliness and discoveries. Some art neighborhoods in Paris host numerous young and cutting-edge galleries, such as the Marais and Saint-Germain, but these galleries "live" next door to the older and more established ones. This can be a positively crucial element in terms of attracting various crowds of collectors and mixing them together. Miami, beyond its huge potential, certainly has a real challenge to face: its art scene, now young and fresh, has to gain respectability and more attention from the media, collectors and curators throughout the world to really become an unavoidable destination.

Speaking of European art, wanna tell us a bit about February's offerings? Aliona: Our February show is a sculptural exhibition done in collaboration with a prominent Parisian gallery Galerie Piece Unique. We'll be exhibiting sculptures by two world-renowned European artists: Cyrille Andre (France) and Marcello Cinque (Italy).

Cyrille Andr√©'s monumental wood sculptures reject the classical ideas of beauty: he presents us indefinable animals, men or women without faces.  The use of a chain saw to create the incisions and the rough surfaces on the finished forms gives vitality to his creations. Their postures refer to waiting or isolation; women under umbrellas or taking a dog for a walk; animals seem to be here just to emphasize the loneliness of these sculptures, locked in their lead clothes.

Marcello Cinque's sculptures are made of rubber and special pliable paint - rolled up as if squeezed out of a tube of paint. The shapes evoke in mind something from out of space. In some of his sculptures there is seemingly no connection to nature, the spirals and the concentric or thread-like shapes arouse in the spectator the impulse to touch them in order to discover the mystery of their fascination. In other works it's quite the opposite: the forms are organic and particularly drawn from nature: shore lines, islands, cliffs or architectural elements.

How'd you connect to the two? Olivier: Both artists question the classical standards of sculpture. Their vernaculars are quite distinct but the way they challenge the notions of scale, choice of materials and formal approach of sculpting seemed to us a pertinent dialectical confrontation. Part of the answer will be given when the visitors stand in front of them!

Waltman Ortega is located at 2238 NW 1st Place Wynwood. For more information log on here.

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