Chiara Dyns @Valli Art Gallery, Miami, Installation view, 2017

Chiara Dyns @Valli Art Gallery, 2017

Italian artists grow up surrounded by the historical resonance of several major art history movements. Not only is the Renaissance a visual presence in nearly every part of the country, but also Gothic art, Mannerism, Transavanguardia, Arte Povera and more are found in various iterations. In every major city, one can locate deeply layered cultural resonance within the realm of art history. It’s nearly impossible to wander without discovering art of antiquity from a great master or school thereof. That said, what is a contemporary Italian artist to do? One thing that is common is that their work is often stripped of the recognizable symbolism that was so prevalent years long past. Where representational painting and sculpture were defining for so long, artists working in 2017 tend to look for other shapes and forms that belie truth outside the realm of likeness.

For artist Chiara DynysInsidious Beauty, at Valli Art Gallery nestled in a hidden corner of the Wynwood district of Miami, has been able to create intrigue and suspense without making direct reference to the body unless it is that of the viewer. Rather than rely heavily on the work itself, Dynys’ tends to rely on those present and how they see themselves. There is an element of physical and intellectual reflection, where the artist strives to bend the perception of others dependant on materials used, and the knowledge that others have of said materials. Similar to that of another Italian artist, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Dynys utilizes the reflective qualities of highly polished steel to create a mirrored lens in several of her sculptures. She tends to work with geometric shapes made from materials that aren’t always associated with the forms. A series along the far back wall of the gallery consists of framed pictorial landscapes, each a unique cast object. Using a candy colored palette, the framed objects appear to be rubber or glass but are a material unique to the artist. Poured into various molds that are as spatially specific as they are idiosyncratic, they represent a divorce from antiquity and a marriage to the contrary. It is in this chasm, or divorce from the burden of the past, where Dynys lends her vision, making objects that could be perceived as beautiful but are also strange and otherworldly. Each sculpture at initial glance seems to have an innate function but it’s in the twisting of awareness between fine art and design where the artist is at her strongest.

Katy Diamond Hamer and artist Chiara Dyns, Installation view from Insidious Beauty, Valli Art Gallery, Miami, 2017

While the gallery is somewhat vast for a body of work that might function better in a more intimate setting, Valli Art seeks to further expose Italian artists to Miami and the art world in general. With Insidious Beauty, they’ve done just that as Chiara Dynys is someone who many in the U.S. may not be familiar with.  However, where the insidious beauty lies, in my opinion, is not in the work installed on the walls, but rather in the past. In seemingly endless layers of Italian art history, it is impossible to replicate the beauty of the Renaissance or see yesterday with eyes grounded in today. Insidious, because that feeling of the uncanny that occurs when standing in the wake of an installation as monumental as the Sistine Chapel, is sublime. I think the goal for many contemporary Italian artists working today —Chiara Dynys not withstanding— is to do the exact opposite; to create moments that are less grandiose, in search of critical footing on a long and well-traveled road. Not an easy task at hand but one that Dynys seems intent on exploring.

Chiara Dynys, Insidious Beauty, Installation view, Valli Art Gallery, Miami, 2017


Chiara Dynys, Insidious Beauty is on view at Valli Art Gallery until December 31, 2017.

Katy Diamond Hamer is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Eyes Towards the Dove. She contributes to several publications and can be found on Instagram @katyhamer