Johnny Robles: Let It Slide

We think Johnny Robles is all grown up. “Let It Slide,” his inaugural gallery solo exhibition, is presently on view at Spinello Projects – and this, on the heels of a major show at the Art & Culture Center of Hollywood

Not so long ago, walking the streets in Wynwood was an exercise in discerning mural styles. Among them was Robles’ rainbow drippings and grisaille palette. If 2009 was the Golden Age of the district’s walls, Robles, like many Miami creatives who greeted their first audiences in the streets, has since graduated to more profoundly playful work.

An alphabet soup of coral collected from the Gulf Coast, for one, is a central piece in “Let It Slide” – an exhibit that explores the faded world of childhood. Coralphabet (A – Z) reminds audiences of their ABCs, and presumably, of a time in their youth that has come and gone. Robles dedicated four years to collecting the unaltered coral for this installation; one can only imagine how the process may have been nostalgic as well as rejuvenating, in re-purposing these once-living beings into symbols of language.

Coralaphabet

Progressing from the more docile rides in the show - such as a rubber swing (Gentle Collapse) and a playground slide (Sleep Sweeper) – to sheer thrillers, Robles transforms the courtyard of the Gesamtkunstwerk building into the Hunger Games of playtime. “A seesaw, while in motion, propels each rider at least five feet from the ground” and swivels on a 360-degree axis.  Instagrammers have likely seen video of people going bananas for this teeter-totter on acid. As with many of Robles’ objects, they  “communicate the presence of risk in play.” Perhaps more importantly, they impart the risks of no play at all.  

Johnny Robles Seesaw

“Let It Slide” is on view until November 15, 2014 at Spinello Projects, located at 2930 NW 7th Avenue in Miami. Robles, a South Florida native, received his BFA in Illustration/Sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2007, graduating Magna Cum Laude. His first significant solo exhibition, Recreation, was held at the Art & Culture Center of Hollywood in spring 2014. Robles has participated in group initiatives at venues including the Cisneros-Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO), Naples Museum of Art, PRIMARY PROJECTS, and David Castillo Gallery. “Let It Slide” is Robles' most extensive solo exhibition to date.

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