Finding art on the floor of Primera Casa

humberto torres floored photo

Chances are you remember looking up into the sky and trying to find shapes in the clouds. But have you ever tried looking down and finding shapes in patches of sunlight dancing across the floor?

OneStop Generalist Humberto Torres ’12 did just that. He was waiting for the elevator in the Primera Casa when he found art. An MFA photography student, Torres saw the floor as a canvas splashed with shadows and light-bending shapes. So he took pictures.

More than 600 photos and one year later, Torres unveiled “Floored” at the Graham Center Student Art Gallery¬†earlier this month. The exhibit showcases 35 photos capturing the intriguing interplay of sunlight, palm trees, reflective windows, white-tiled floor and diamond-shaped marble inlays.

“The floor is something people don’t usually look at,” Torres says. “People step on it every day, but it’s beautiful and constantly changing with the help of light and the viewer’s imagination.”

The enduring message of his exhibit: “to appreciate the moment. These things are fleeting. Some of them will go away the second after the picture is taken.”

The photographs capture spots of sunshine chasing each other across yellow walls, window frames reflecting crosses on the tiled floor and edges of mirrors harking back to a world outside the photo Рcapturing movement not seen in the frame.

At the edge of one photo, an FIU folder is strewn across the floor with tell-tale words etched on its cover: “Imagine the Possibilities.”

Torres says the Panther motto resonates with his exhibit. “I’m seeing the possibilities, trying to find all the possibilities of the floor, to read it somehow.”

In case you’re wondering, Torres did not place the folder in the photo; it was already scattered over the floor when Torres captured the moment.

“It’s pretty cool,” says biology major Vanessa Blanco of the exhibit. “Some of these shadows look like different things, different shapes.”

Walking through the exhibit, she recalled concepts about the creative process she learned from Art + Art History professor Gretchen Scharnagl in an honors class she took recently.

“There are different ways to look at [each photo], and it can be completely different from the artist,” Blanco says. That’s why she’s fascinated by it.

“In one way, it’s like finding the beauty in the floor,” Torres explains. “When things are looking down, they start looking up. You’re looking at the floor, but all of the sudden, you’re looking at the sun and the trees.”

Case in point: the photo dubbed the fan favorite by Torres features the reflection of a palm tree and clouds crystallized at the center of a diamond-shaped tile.

“It’s not something you see every day,”says business management major Ian Butterfield, who works in the Graham Center Welcome Center. “It’s surprising. I didn’t think you could find art in the floor. It’s cool to find art where other people don’t look.”

Located in the Piano Lounge across from the bookstore, the art gallery hosts artwork done by FIU students, faculty and staff.

“Floored” will be on display until Sunday, July 3.