René Miville Gallery
The René Miville Gallery opened in July 2014 inside The Franklin Shops.
Gallery Owner René Miville: "It is our mission to create a space in downtown Fort Myers where the artists and their audience engage in a meaningful way."
Daniela Martinez born 1992 in Bogota, Columbia
At age 22, Daniela Martinez is the youngest artists featured in the opening exhibit. Just as some might be born with a silver spoon in the mouth, Daniela was born with a crayon in her hand. Every single one of her pieces is an independently produced self portrait using a remote controlled camera.
Daniela's organic artistic process can be compared to that of the legendary Cindy Sherman. The variety in Daniela's work is a result of an aspiration to use art for self-expression. The range of the characters she creates – from a Barbie Doll to a Zombie – reflects her inner diversity. Her artworks are manifestations of her daily life experiences, reflecting happiness or despair.
Daniela Martinez has an impeccable hand with light and computer editing, techniques she taught herself watching video tutorials online.
Two of Daniela's series are presented in this show. Her doll collection represents the plasticity of people's personalities exhibited on the outside, while the silver metal printed series stars her own pet tarantula, Kitten. The eerily tangibility of these self portraits with her tarantula shows us how even something that is usually viewed with hatred or disgust can be seen as beautiful and gentle.
Cesar Aguilera born 1979 in Quito, Ecuador
Cesar Aguilera wields his paint brush as if it were a magic wand, casting color spells in hopes that they may erase the venomous wounds that humanity has afflicted upon itself and Mother Nature.
The devoted environmentalist currently resides in Naples, Florida.
From a young age, Cesar was possessed by a passion to change the injustice humans have brought upon humans, animals and the environment. While he studied environmental engineering in Ecuador, it was not until he moved to the United States that Cesar realized the potential in the power of art; how he could use art to invoke a change in the environment and life itself.
Cesar's art is inspired by the preservation of life. He focuses on how there is so much beauty in even the smallest things. He wishes to amplify the beauty of human achievement with the voice of his artwork, while still engaging a sense of urgency to preserve our natural wonders.
The exhibit shows three works by Cesar Aguilera concerning the often horrific reality of what goes on in the creation of the products and food that our consumerist society so willingly embraces and presenting ideas of what to do to reverse this.
Kinfay Moroti born 1970 in Chicago, Illinois
Born to a prostitute in Chicago, Kinfay Moroti's earliest goal in life was to escape the poverty, loneliness and the sexual and physical abuse he endured while living in the city's most violent housing projects and eight foster homes. His first escape attempts were daily after school treks to the downtown library, where he encountered the painters Vermeer and Frida Kahlo. "I would imagine that I painted their works," says Kinfay. "I couldn't afford painting supplies, so I painted in my mind." Though early inspired to create, it would not be until June 2000 that Kinfay attempted to "paint the feelings" in his unquiet mind.
As a resident of Southwest Florida, it comes as no surprise that the context of his work often takes place here. For Kinfay, capturing moments in this area is both joyous and painful. Joyous in that he feels honored to share the love that fills the communities; painful in that those joyous moments are becoming more rare. Loneliness and melancholy drive Kinfay's creative state. They are his closest and truest companions. His works are visual attempts to understand these ever present feelings. "Making pictures is like cutting your veins," says Kinfay.
The exhibit presents two series of Kinfay Moroti's work, one which depicts the war abroad, the other concerning local violence and society. The images speak to the beautiful struggle that is life. Without judging, they articulate the consequences of humanity's actions and serve as mirrors, reflecting life back to the observer.
Danielle Branchaud born 1978 in Winnipeg, Ontario
Danielle Branchaud, who was born in Canada but has lived in Southwest Florida since the age of six, feels that becoming an artist was practically inevitable. A second generation artist, Danielle grew up surrounded by art, but while her mother was inspired by the landscape of Florida, Danielle's work is more introspective.
Danielle owes one of her biggest inspiration to dreams – even her nightmares. By reaching into her subconscious, her body of work exemplifies what she describes as "the things that we feel on the deepest level and often fail to acknowledge."
Through her artwork, Danielle hopes to help her audience better understand that the range of emotions from pain and sorrow to happiness and joy are universal to all. The subjects of her work are relatable in a way that we may see ourselves reflected in them. Danielle wants us to consider that "it could be me."
The exhibit shows five works by Danielle Branchaud, which reflect various states of consciousness; most of which Danielle accredits of being of a meditative nature.
René Miville born 1954 in Medford, Massachusetts
René Miville was an innovator in the process of chemical manipulation using the classic darkroom printing process. Each work consists of silver-gelatin paper with the basic chemical elements of developer, stop and fixer applied: a pure photograph as we traditionally know one. However, René painted the chemistry upon the photo paper. He created a substantiasl body of work in the late 1980s and early 1990s. At the time of the dawn of digital photography, René's opposing aesthetic journey sparked a vigorous curiosity and interest among both museum curators and international collectors.
The evolution of René's journey as an artist began with his original career as a fashion photographer and transformed into the unique artistic process that is presented in his works. It was around the time that he began his first endeavors as a businessman when he met his wife on the beaches in Captiva, and since his life has been devoted to caring for his family and the island that he so endearingly cherishes.
The two pieces shown in the exhibit were created in the downstairs apartment of his mother's guesthouse on Captive, a room in which the floor was actually composed of the sand upon which the house was built. René's often used the sand in his artistic process, making the works truly a product of his environment.
René's relationship with his home is expressed in his dedication to the Southwest Florida community, including the creation of the René Miville Gallery in downtown Fort Myers.