This story is over 5 years old.


Biology and Mythology Meet in Psychedelic Sculptures

'When Two Are In One' features 11 specially commissioned sculptures by Matthew Ronay that explore reproduction, the human body and more.
Photo courtesy of Pérez Art Museum Miami.

11 sculptures, subtly arranged in order of height, unified in their bold colors and round shapes, reference biology and reproduction at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. With titles like Penetration Regression, Probe, and Divided Egg Green Burrowing, the pieces hint at the strange processes of reproduction and science, re-imagined in static form through sculpture.

Rife with metaphor, whimsy and symbolism, Matthew Ronay’s When Two Are In One installation tackles complex themes even while it showcases the artist’s sense of humor. The New York-based artist often works with saturated colors and fluid forms, creating pieces that reference seemingly disparate fields, teetering on the line between forgotten ruins and futuristic creations or ritualistic objects and minimalist artwork.


Photo courtesy of Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Specially commissioned by the museum, the installation transforms the space of the Project Gallery near the museum’s lobby. Eements like folk traditions, psychedelia and mythology also inform Ronay’s work. Two pieces, Janus and Night Janus Purple, take inspiration from the story of Janus, a character from Roman mythology with the uncanny ability to look in both directions at the same time (with the help of two faces). In Ronay’s sculptures, the story gets re-envisioned in bright hues.

Janus shows a bright green figure with bloated eyes that seem to drip a bodily fluid. A large tongue hangs out, also showing small drips. The two faces seem like incongruous mirror images, their weight balanced atop a thin structure supported by a round base. The sculptures seem almost totemic, like relics of a past civilization—yet they remain modern in their bright colors and surreal forms.

Photo courtesy of Pérez Art Museum Miami

In this manner, Ronay seems to make the body humorous yet grotesque. When Two Are In One displays his fusion of complicated topics with an undeniable whimsy. “The body is humorous sometimes,” Ronay tells The Creators Project. “For as fragile and perishable as it can be maybe it's important that it includes some respite from its impending demise.”

Each piece beckons the viewer to really spend some time with it, taking it in from all different angles. Even while Ronay often creates the pieces with specific frameworks or themes in mind, each work still leaves room for viewers’ interpretation.


Ronay, in fact, hopes that the installation will offer viewers a space for reflection. As each viewer passes through the space, he wants him/her to realize “that looking and really contemplating an artifact can be illuminating.”

Photo courtesy of Pérez Art Museum Miami

In addition to thinking about the interaction between viewers and the installation, Ronay also kept in mind the dialogue between the pieces and the museum’s location. The lush elements of the natural surroundings nearby created a vibrant background for the pieces.

“Working with the room was oddly uplifting in the end because the work played off the horticulture nicely, I thought. I was surprised,” Ronay explains. “It's odd to look at sculpture with such a luscious backdrop.”

When Two Are In One will be on display at the Pérez Art Museum Miami until January 15, 2017. To learn more about the installation, click here.


Dev Hynes' PAMM Collaboration Shines in Miami

Giant Sculpture Escapes Museum, Hilarity Ensues

6 Must-See Shows in Miami's Newest Art Hub, Little Haiti