Aqua: Art Walk on Steroids

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Joan Cox’s Picks from Aqua Art Miami 2015

The vibe at Aqua is familiar like your favorite neighborhood art walk—-cocktails in hand, doors open to the night air, and brightly lit rooms bursting with energy and art on two open levels of this upscale motel-style hotel. The art is interesting, varied, and international without being overly slick… and also featured several DC and Baltimore area artists.

Walking through Aqua feels like hanging out at your best friend’s art opening. It is teeming with people you don’t know yet but want to meet and by the end of your walk through all 50+ rooms/galleries you have certainly made a few new friends. Whether you are a curator, artist or collector, everyone is genuinely interested in talking about the art and about the fairs they’ve already seen or still want to see.

The center courtyard offers cocktail bars and a Gelato stand along with lounging spots where you can soak up the art, check your phone, or just enjoy the people watching.

IMG_0159-1The lobby featured an installation work by this year’s ArtSlant prize winner, Tina Tahir, made of spices and pigments poured into intricate patterns on the floor.

FullSizeRenderFresh, painterly portraits, including one of the gallerist, at Aureus Contemporary by Karim Hamid

IMG_0163-1Also some angry baby/little men by Viktor Freso at Aureus

IMG_0171Hamiltonian Gallery was a definite hotspot of good work and cool people.

IMG_0176“Throne” Dan Perkins at Hamiltonian

IMG_0172“Flow II” by Nara Park at Hamiltonian

IMG_0180 IMG_0179“Animax Accumulo Tabuletta” by Joshua Haycraft at Hamiltonian

IMG_0191 IMG_0189Loved these little girls and dolls in porcelain with gold leaf by Mo Cornelisse at C. Emerson fine Arts

IMG_0187 IMG_0186Delicate and Intricate laser cut/hand cut work by Rogan Brown also at C. Emerson

IMG_0201Winner for best PopArt: at first glance this work seemed trite but it ended up being one of my favorites, if you take a closer look at “Dorothy Selfie in Miami” by Mark Andrew Allen

IMG_0207 IMG_0204Another DC-based artist I loved, Nate Lewis at Morton Fine Art with sculpted paper/portraits that were amazing. Yay!

IMG_0210 IMG_0220-1More porcelain work referencing children was odd, but what I liked was the androgynous nature of these figures by Kirsten Stingle at Signature gallery

IMG_0212 IMG_0218-1 IMG_0217Also loved these energetic, sexual, voyeuristic photographs at Signature by W Chester Old

IMG_0214These lovely portraits by Caitlin Karolczak worked so well as a grouping that I wanted to take them all home.

IMG_0229Iconic paintings by Haitian artist, Simil EmilicarIMG_0237Loved these mirrored, fragmented, rotating heads… The shadows on the wall were key to the work’s beauty.

IMG_0245Creepy crayon art “Candidates in a bottle” by Jon Allen at AHA Fine Art

IMG_0248Meanwhile also gorgeous drawings at AHA fineart by Margaret Withers

IMG_0252 IMG_0250I saw lots of lenticular art at the fairs, you know the kind of art that has two images you see as you walk past, but this was my favorite with a Trueblood reference: “I wanna do bad things with/to you” by Nathan Sharrat

IMG_0253And here is Nathan wearing the shirt I wish I had been wearing for the entire week…


IMG_0254Intermission… social networking moment in the courtyard brought to you by vodka and flavored perrier

IMG_0256Wanted all four of these mixed media paintings by Anthony May

IMG_0260And these four mixed media black and white panels by Luisa Mesa

Thanks to my Art Miami co-star, Laura Amussen, for hitting all the fairs and parties with me and for frequently holding my drink so I could snap photos — my feet are just now recovering!


Author Joan Cox is a Baltimore native, is a painter, photographer, graphic designer and writer. Cox left town in 2005 to open an art gallery in New Orleans and returned to Baltimore in 2011, by way of Alexandria, Virginia. She is a recent MFA graduate from Massachusetts College of Art’s Low-Residency MFA Program at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Cox’s work consists of large paintings, photographs and watercolor monotypes. She uses narrative, historical art references, and fantastical elements of costumes and autobiography to depict taboo intimacies between women, acknowledging and emphasizing the female gaze. View her work at

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