Miami artists exhibit new work during Art Basel Miami Beach

Soir, Virgo collaborate for downtown Miami exhibit


MIAMI – Six-year-old Elena Romano began twirling around an art gallery, as a musician known as Amir Sultan Roth sat on the floor playing a hand pan, an exotic percussion instrument made out of steel. 

The Miami Children's Museum Charter School student said she had never heard ambiance music like that or seen art work like the one on exhibit at the downtown Miami pop-up gallery on North Miami Avenue. 

The conceptual photographs up on the wall were a collaboration between photographer Jacqueline "Soir" Rios, also a zine editor, and Elizabeth Clark, better known for her electronic music and video games as "Virgo." 

"The photos were taken in a pool and the woman [Virgo] is floating all alone," Elena said.

Soir, a New World School of the Arts graduate, and Virgo, described by Miami New Times as "Miami's Best Local Musician," were among the locals exhibiting new work this weekend as the commercial art world descended for Art Basel Miami Beach, America's largest fair of contemporary art open until Sunday. 

Elena was munching on cheese and crackers, as a tall woman wearing a stretchy cosmic-themed body suit and a bubble gum pink wig walked around with a bottle refilling champagne flutes. 

"The 'Resurface' fine art photography series depicts the renewing of one's pure essence with water working as a catalyst to great healing," Soir said, adding Italian painter Sandro Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" on exhibit in Florence inspired her. 

White-clad Virgo, who modeled for the photographs, previewed the VR build of her new video game, "Water Planet," and performed behind her electronic keyboard. Her ethereal look included bleached hair that matched the pearl glow of her porcelain skin.

Soir's former New World School of the Arts professor Antonio Fernandez said the artists were part of a new progressive art wave in Miami.

"This is a very pleasant, uplifting exhibit," said Fernandez, who added he was proud of Soir's work.

The gallery was far from where Madonna and Ariana Grande kissed during a performance Friday night and away from the glitz of the many parties -- in South Beach, Wynwood, Midtown and the Design District -- where paparazzi spotted Heidi Klum, Kendall Jenner, Venus Williams, Gucci Mane, Chris Rock and Sean Penn. But in the eyes of Elena, the work of Soir and Virgo embraced what contemporary art is all about. 

"It's something like you have never ever, ever seen before," the little girl said. 

Soir's pop-up gallery, 125 N. Miami Ave., will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, and upon appointment on Saturday and Sunday until Jan. 15. The artist will be donating a portion of the proceeds to the Lotus House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence. For more information, e-mail Soir@JacquelineSoir.com.

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