FIU Project Room’s First 2016 Exhibition is ‘Phylum Floridian’ by Michael Gray


On Friday, February 5th, the FIU Art + Art History Project Room at Bakehouse Art Complex opened the Artist Residency exhibition Phylum Floridian by MFA candidate Michael Gray.

A phylum is a principal taxonomic category that ranks above class and below kingdom, while a Floridian is a native or inhabitant of the state of Florida. This exhibition is a collection of anthropomorphic drawings by Gray of local animal species found in Florida, matched to characters found in its diverse culture. The drawings seek to reveal social characteristics of the population – animal and human, alike – indigenous to the tropical environment, while exploring areas of invasiveness, ecology and humor.

Gray’s work has been displayed using appropriated family frames bought at local thrift stores or made from reclaimed discarded wood. His work is reminiscent of the artist’s own life and of his experience in Florida, and it evokes an alternative view of the inhabitants of the Sunshine State. Spending time in and around nature has deeply influenced these drawings, which were made to pass this interest onto their viewers for further inspection.

Subtle humor in the work is based on background knowledge of the specific species drawn and is meant to provoke an interest in local wildlife, while shining a satirical light on a contemporary Floridian society.

Michael Gray is a Masters of Fine Arts student at FIU. The Artist Residency exhibition was curated by Brittni Winkler, third-year Masters in Fine Arts: Curatorial Practice Track candidate and FIU Art + Art History Project Room coordinator.

Artist Residency: Phylum Floridian by Michael Gray is currently open in the FIU Art + Art History Project Room at Bakehouse Art Complex: 561 NW 32 Street, Miami, Florida 33127.

There will be an open-studio day on Friday, February 12th, 2016.

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