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Sandra Ramos

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Elisa Turner. Sandra Ramos Dot Fittyone, Miami. Artnews. reviews: national. December 2011. pp 115.

Miami and Havana have been embroiledin a complicated relationship since Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba, in 1959,prompting the deterioration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and theUnited States and spurring the immigration of hundreds of thousands of Cubansto Miami over the years. In this potentexhibition, titled "90 Miles: Living in theVortex," the Havana-based artist Sandra Ramos revisited this decades-long dramasymbolically uniting the two cities.

The show centered around 90 Miles (2011), a bridgelike installation whose title refers to the approximate distance between Cuba and Florida. Spanning 32 feet, the work is constructed from 12 photographic light boxes mounted atop a simple-yet-sturdy aluminum scaffolding, with aerial views of Miami and Havana positioned at each end. Visitors to the gallery could step up onto the light boxes and traverse the structure, metaphorically moving from one city to the other by walking over a series of im¬ages of the Florida Straits, the body of water many Cubans have attempted to cross in order toreach the United States. Ramos shot all of the images from an airplane during a flight from Havana to Miami earlier this year. Spangled with cottony tufts of clouds that float above pale azure and dellarobbia blue waters, the nearly abstract compositions have a dreamlike aura, but in this context they became reminders of an anguished geographic and political divide.

Also on view were digitally manipulatedphotographs, some of which portrayedfantastical bridgelike forms made fromcoiled ropes, barrels, or logs; a serigraphyand lithography series titled "Secret Fear"(2011); and three 3-D animation videos,including Shipwreck (2008). Their presence amplified the bittersweet power of 90 Miles.