Francesco LoCastro must have had a lot on his mind when he constructed the paintings that comprise his recently opened “Advent” show at the Art and Culture Center. Enormous, larger-than-life, unquantifiable themes percolate from the artist’s colorful and exhilarating work, which reinterprets geometric abstraction for the 21st century through inventive bursts of epoxy resin. There are sometimes subtle, sometimes vast differences between the paintings, but they all embody a clutter of soft-hued, three-dimensional shapes that suggest no less than the very creation of our world.
The evolution of nothingness to somethingness and, perhaps, back again to nothingness, is right there in the titles of his pieces: “Zygote,” “Gamete,” “Vessel: The Beginning of All Things,” “Portrait of a Civilization,” “Exodus,” “Vessel: The End of All Things.” In “World in a Wire” (I love the Rainer Werner Fassbinder reference in the title), sleek lines and bars surround what might be called the God Particle. Many of LoCastro’s paintings contain what appear to be towering buildings and pyramids that might have either sprouted from nothing or are collapsing into it; at any rate, each piece is like its own Big Bang, a universe of shapes expanding and forming ephemeral elements.
If you don’t see universal creation, perhaps you see the psychedelic shards of biotech ingenuity. This may very well be art for the Information Age – pictorial representations of the nuts and bolts that create our microprocessors and computer chips that wire our globe. Either way, each piece, no matter how small, staggers the mind and opens it to a myriad of possibilities, and they are well worth the time to lose yourself within them.
The next room in the Art and Culture Center features site-specific work from Peter Hammar, a Miami Beach visual artist originally from Stockholm. This show, titled “Zeitgeber,” also seems to be a meditation on nothingness. There are hanging, neon-lit windows and mirrors looking into a void of white, near a wall layered with aged, coffee-stained wallpaper. In the middle of the wall are white gaps where photos once hung. Even more obtuse are the empty ice bucket on the floor (a 300-pound block of ice stood near it on opening night, until it did what ice does) and a mylar balloon trapped in a rectangular Plexiglass cube. There’s a sense of unfulfilled symbolism when walking through this enigmatic assemblage, but I imagine Jean-Paul Sartre would have loved its existential possibilities.
Other exhibitions include a small but impactful show from Dana Lauren Goldstein, a photographer whose work has appeared in Vice magazine, among other publications. There are hardly enough pieces in it to provide a broad overview of her work, but these portraits of women looking alternately sexy, mysterious and playful leave an impression.
Finally, the motley, sociopolitical mixed-media creations of South Florida artist Jessy Nite ends this Art and Culture Center visit on a fun and thoughtful note. Instead of painting words, she creates them from pills, as in her large-scale, cursive script “Lean on Me,” which is, of course, what many people to with their own pill dependence. There are also Rorschach-like blots created from pills and other visually tricky works that need to be gazed from multiple angles to catch all of their nuances.
Taken collectively, these four exhibits (there’s also a sound installation from Gustavo Matamoros) run a pleasing gamut of the Art and Culture Center’s many breads-and-butters, from the absolutely perplexing to the provocatively straightforward.
All of these exhibitions run through Oct. 27 at Art and Culture Center, 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood. Admission costs $7 for adults and $4 for children and seniors. For information, call 954/921-3274 or visit artandculturecenter.org.