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Old school glossy lamps bundled up like a juicy bunch of ripe grapes.

That is the vision that caught my eye as I was walking around Paradise Plaza last week. I couldn’t resist the curiosity and masked-up to walk into the space to find Miami based artist Kerry Phillips hard at work installing her solo exhibition. My eyes were feasting with the rebellious color palette that was laying all over the place in the shape of home objects, childhood mementos, fabric and yarn… lots of piled yarn. Slowly, but surely, the Miami local art scene is making its post-pandemic appearance back into our streets. I’d even say it’s back with a vengeance, reclaiming the high-pulsing energy of our city that seemed gone in the past few months.

Kerry Phillips An Accidental Collection

“An Accidental Collection (the junk drawer)” is a down-the-rabbit-hole invitation into Kerry Phillips’ connection to her past and present through familiar objects and the ones she finds along the way. I was especially intrigued by a pair of large canvases where Kerry displays all the objects that belong into her mother’s knick-knack drawer, along with the drawer itself. It got even more fascinating when she told me that her mother loaned her everything on the condition that she’d return them back to Texas after the show is over (instruction booklets, old office supplies, undefined plastic parts, nails, screws, kids brushes, empty bags… you get the picture).

Kerry Phillips

You’ll also find links to Kerry’s childhood in the shape of several portrait canvases she created by sewing together the original multi-colored 1970s carpets and area rugs from her childhood Texas home. She’s the first to admit that you shouldn’t touch them. I can say it was an hour well spent. I left with a sense of warmth and those comforting feelings that follow me every time I connect to my own childhood memories of going through my grandparents' stuff. 

Make some time to visit the show, and make sure you take an old object with you. Kerry has created a living corner within the space, where she’ll be rearranging her objects and your objects until the show ends. Kerry Phillips An Accidental Collection is on view in Paradise Plaza, 151 NE 41st Street, Suite PP133. On view until October 30. 

Kerry Phillips at the Miami Design District

Johana Boccardo is an artist and (accidental) writer who is passionate about peeling off the many layers of Miami and sharing its distinctive underside with the world.

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