Miami Beach 411
March 12, 2007
By Manola Blablablanik
Hey, I’m not writing about Xavier Cortada just because he’s an old friend from college. We recently reconnected through his mangrove project and I can’t praise him enough for his spiritual connection to nature, which he has turned into a beautiful art form. This is a Miami boy with an amazing vision.
At Kunsthaus, you can see Xavier’s ice paintings, which he “painted” while on tour of Antarctica. These paintings were literally made from adding paint to ice core samples from the remotest area of Antarctica. (As if Antarctica wasn’t already remote?) While stationed at McMurdo Station, Xavier created over a dozen works that, upon first impression, look like abstract watercolors. As the ice melted, Xavier treated the ice as a tool – brush, sponge and pastel technique – and in the process, sediment from the samples latched on to the paper. The effect is stunning. You’re not just looking at a painting, but literally a piece of our earth from many, many thousands years ago.
As Xavier put it: “I’m doing what nature does on a macro level, examining the process.”
While in Antarctica, Xavier also “planted” a mangrove seedling in the true South Pole, which he estimates, will take over 150 thousand years to make landfall as the ice breaks and melts and travels to some warmer coastal territory. The gesture represents setting an intention for wholeness and healing in the planet. We joked about how we’d have to reincarnate and come back to see the mangrove take root, but of course the gesture is symbolic. “It represents cycles in nature and how all is connected.”