Local artists take MIA travelers to Key West and Other Unusual Places
Miami International Airport travelers are in for a real trip when they visit Key West and Other Unusual Places, a new art exhibition of printed works in Concourse D by prolific Miami-based visual artists and printmakers Brian Reedy and Tom Virgin. Based on Reedy’s fascination with the supernatural and Asian architecture, mixed with a selection of Virgin’s works representing his travels from coast to coast across the United States, Key West and Other Unusual Places is on display at The Eye Has to Travel Gallery near Gate D29 until October.
Reedy is best known for his whimsical block prints. Block printing is a form of printmaking that involves the carving of linoleum or woodblocks and printing the resultant images on paper, cloth, or other material. The linocuts on view in this exhibition stem from Reedy’s lifelong interest in dinosaurs, the paranormal, and his visits to the architecture of India, Japan, and Thailand. Reedy hopes that his block prints can take passengers and airport staff to a place a bit detached where one can take things less seriously.
Art can be a perfect form of escapism - a means to go to fantastic places limited only by the extent of one’s imagination.
Reedy’s art is a playful and nebulous form of storytelling. He creates strange and unusual places by combining fantastic imagery that could be either arbitrary or symbolic, and which can be taken as social commentary or be interpreted as the viewer fancies.
Virgin’s works span a range of media, from paper, woodcut prints, metal drawings, artist books to other ephemera, such as vintage maps, posters, and postcards. Communities and geographies represented here come from his travels to Key West, Florida; national parks at Glen Arbor, Michigan, and Chesterton, Indiana; and artist residencies in Portland, Oregon and Red Wing, Minnesota.
The setting of Virgin’s work is rooted in shared experiences and relationships formed during collaborations in interdisciplinary projects with other visual artists, poets, and writers. Virgin uses contemporary printing technologies and traditional “hands-on process” of printmaking to produce compelling textures and surfaces that carry the active hand of the artist in the work.
I’m honored to be exhibiting at MIA. The airport is a venue that I have great regard for as a traveler, an artist, and a teacher whose students have been showing work at MIA for many years.
Reedy’s work can be found at Outre Gallery in Melbourne, Australia, Galerie F in Chicago, and Bottleneck Gallery in New York City. Brian’s artwork is used on apparel in Hot Topic stores nationwide, and at Uniqlo stores in Orlando, San Francisco, and New York City. He has produced licensed artwork for Marvel, DC, Warner Brothers, Disney and Fortnite. Brian is also an art teacher at Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer.
Virgin is proprietor of Extra Virgin Press and a Title I public school art teacher for 25 years. Extra Virgin Press began creating community around letterpresses in 2015, winning a Knight Arts Challenge Grant from the John L. and James S. Knight Foundation. Other significant support has come from two Oolite Arts, Ellies Creator Awards; a Wavemaker/Long Haul Grant; and support from Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs; the Miami Foundation; and many other community partners. His artist books are included in the collections at the University of Miami’s Special Collections, Miami-Dade Public Library’s Permanent Art Collection, The Bienes Museum of the Modern Book, the Jaffee Center for Book Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami (MOCA), and others.