Category Archives: art

Adhesive Forces

The subconscious and grotesque stick together in the art of Russell Maycumber

Russell Maycumber's "kclub," ink on Post-it Note; year unknown.

(Russell Maycumber’s “kclub,” ink on Post-it Note; year unknown.)

Since the early nineties, Russell Maycumber has been documenting his life, travels and interior reality onto three inch, yellow squares. Introduced by the 3M Company in 1980, the Post-it Note is a small square of paper with an adhesive backing – initially introduced as an office-friendly product that could be used to jot down reminders, appointments and upcoming tasks, and then applied to any available flat surface. Yet Maycumber uses these ubiquitous pieces of sticky stationary to create images that explore memoir, humor and the phantasmagoric, creating them systematically, if not compulsively; a kind of hypergraphia barely contained in magic marker and yellow paper. The 44-year-old Maycumber admits to owning “volumes” filled with these images that date back to the early nineties. But rather than having them tucked away on some shelf in his house, the St. Augustine-based artist creates massive installations and sculptures that can contain hundreds upon hundreds of these carefully arranged Post-it Note drawings. Viewed in mass, the small squares can have an overwhelming effect: these images of chimerical creatures, people captured in mundane activities, classic automobiles, flying skulls, sexuality and playful demons seem to exist in a weird realm that splits the difference between the subliminal and the obvious. Some images feature cryptic text, while others offer little help in deciphering the odd, miniature graphic. Maycumber’s work seems to find company in the fever dream-styled imagery of artists like Francisco Goya, Edward Gorey, Max Ernst (especially the surrealist’s pioneering, 1934 collage work “Une Semaine de Bonté ,” translated as “A Week of Kindness”) or even underground comic raunch lord S. Clay Wilson. Yet Maycumber’s concepts and delivery are wholly his own, blasting these images at the viewer in the form of a mob of hundreds of pieces of visual shrapnel, aimed for the bull’s-eye of the viewer’s retina and mind.

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Class Action

Jacksonville University now offers MFA in Visual Arts program

 Northeast Florida’s current spate of artistic activity is surely due in no small part to the art and design programs offered at local colleges and universities. The Art Institute, Flagler College, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida all offer programs geared towards students seeking an education and guidance in creative careers in a variety of disciplines and media. These same schools certainly benefit by featuring faculty members and instructors that are as serious about their respective artistic disciplines as they are in sharing their experience and wisdom with their students.

Jacksonville University (JU) is now stepping up their game with the implementation of a Masters of Fine Arts in Visual Arts degree, the first of its kind ever offered by a local college. Continue reading

Graphic Language

Donny Miller creates provocative text-fueled imagery for the 21st century

InTheAge

Donny Miller has a message for you. In fact, for the past two decades the L.A.-based artist has been creating thought-provoking images that combine clip art, self-branding and even pictures of the cosmos with messages that run the gamut from sardonic observations, to social commentary and even encouraging affirmations. In one Miller piece, a still life image of wine, cheese and fruit acknowledges, The hardest thing to do in art is something original. In another, a man and woman reveling in a cloud of confetti and party balloons are sprawled into over-sized champagne glasses, crowned with the header, Enjoy ignorance. A dark-haired woman adjusts her hair, seemingly deep in thought: I’m making new memories because I don’t like the old ones.   Continue reading

Pressing Through

Three artists champion the power of expression with Hero or Non-Hero?

Expression Necessary to Revolution

“Expression Necessary to Evolution”

Hardship, grief and loss are universal experiences; inevitable moments of being that can be as heartbreaking and painful as they are life-altering and even transformative. Yet like their positive counterparts, such as joy, love and success, these times of change can redefine us and even make us stronger. Perhaps the people we consider heroic are in a sense those who can accept these unavoidable highs and lows of life with equanimity, practicing an almost uncanny acceptance of both the shadows and light that color our existence. These same heroes become an example to others and their epitaphs are ultimately inscribed on the lives that they touch.

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Temporary Residence

Home is where the art is with “The Apartment Exhibition”

[Installation shot of the living room of "The Apartment Exhibition." All photos by Laura Evans.]

[Installation shot of the living room of “The Apartment Exhibition.” All photos by Laura Evans.]

Five local creative types are putting space to good use. Curated by Staci Bu Shea, “The Apartment Exhibition” features individual and collaborative work by Thony Aiuppy, Sterling Cox, Lily Kuonen and Edison William. Located in Cox’s 500 square foot, mother-in-law apartment behind his Avondale home, “The Apartment Exhibition” features over 30 pieces that touch on concepts of cohabitation, tenancy and ownership as well as deeper, provocative ideas such as nostalgia, impermanence and belonging. Continue reading

Duo Exchange

Tony Rodrigues and Mark George join forces for an upcoming show

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The friendship of Tony Rodrigues and Mark George was initially formed over the bond of making visual art. The two met in 1991while still in their late teens and early twenties, creating collages and assemblages that were fueled by their shared love of the DIY ethos of art-fueled entities like punk rock and Dadaism. Since then, Rodrigues and George have each enjoyed respective success by exploring their highly individual approaches. Rodrigues reappropriates found imagery of the past century and creates canvases by juxtaposing those same signifiers into a highly personal visual vocabulary that can be disturbing and playful, sometimes in the same composition. Along with spouse Wendy C. Lovejoy, Rodrigues has also created the popular line of TACT apparel that brings his eye-engaging sense of design to the world of fashion. Using greenhouse roofing material as his de facto canvas, George paints haunting, Neo-Pop art portraits in acrylics; his pieces can resemble road signs from a bygone era or surveillance snapshots that give the audience the sense of being voyeurs and witnesses to secretive, intimate exchanges. Yet despite their separate endeavors over the years, Rodrigues and George have invariably taken the time to work in cooperation and share ideas. These opportunities have been a chance for the two old friends to blow off steam, encourage one another and chart their growth from two art-enthralled teenaged punk rockers into bona fide, well-respected visual artists. Continue reading

Deep in the Woods

Sarah Emerson explores the darker ground in her engaging landscapes

["The Overlook," 48 x 60, acrylic and rhinestones on canvas]

[“The Overlook,” 48 x 60, acrylic and rhinestones on canvas.]

Before his death in 1889 at the age of 44, the British poet Gerard Manley Hopkins had devoted his short life to traversing what he called the “outscape” and “inscape” of being, celebrating the natural world around him while traveling deep into the shifting lands of his own interior terrain and recording the experience of those collective journeys.

In his poem “Nondum” (Latin for “not yet”), Hopkins ruminates on a world that is eternally in creation while seemingly frozen in its own lifelessness, a landscape both mystifying as it is morbid:

“We see the glories of the earth

But not the hand that wrought them all:

Night to a myriad worlds give birth,

Yet like a lighted empty hall

Where stands no host at door or hearth

Vacant creation’s lamps appal.”

Over the course of nine verses, Hopkins describes a place of seasons with changeful moods, “chaotic floods,” where voices moan among the reeds and “prayer seems lost in desert ways.” It is a world of shadow taunting light, where faith and direction are swallowed up like sunlight hitting the moon. Throughout the poem, Hopkins calls out to a creator who has long since ignored his creation, while drawing us a map of a boundary-less land, a ghost town now vacant of even its phantoms.

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Shape Shifter

Lily Kuonen forges a hybrid breed of multimedia ideas with her “Playntings”

["Want" by Lily Kuonen.]

[“Want” by Lily Kuonen.]

While some artists might revisit their ideas, Lily Kuonen revisits, re-addresses, re-thinks and re-assembles both her ideas and very work in pieces she calls “Playntings.” Using familiar raw materials such as canvas and paint, the 28 year old Kuonen also assimilates tools such as vise grips and lumber into her pieces, blurring lines between studio/piece, installation/presentation and, ultimately, art and artist. Kuonen’s work is almost hyper-contemporary in the sense that she is perpetually changing and “upgrading” her art in an ongoing methodology and approach that she describes as “repurposing.” A singular (in her own words) genealogy is formed as Kuonen continually reassigns materials from old pieces into the new, her work forever evolving from the ancestral lineage of prior concepts and experimental approaches. Continue reading

Current and Crucial

Upcoming three day exhibit at Flagler College presents inventive new work from students

The Oldest City continues to offer some great, new art. And much of that sustained and ongoing creative force is being produced by the art and design students at Flagler College. The Crisp-Ellert Art Museum presents the school’s latest collection of work by both senior B.F.A. and B.A. students over the course of three days. The opening reception is held on Thursday, April 18 from 5-9 p.m.; the show is also on display on Friday, April 19 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and on Saturday, April 20 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 48 Sevilla St. in St. Augustine. Thursday’s opening night reception also features a performance by local musical act Queen Beef. The contact number for the museum is 826-8530. Continue reading

Green Mind

Jim Draper reflects on the experience of “Feast of Flowers”

[“Ogeechee Lime,” oil on canvas, 72  x 109, photographed by Doug Eng.]

[“Ogeechee Lime,” 72 x 109, oil on canvas. Photographed by Doug Eng.]

Jim Draper is right on time. Meeting me in the Stein Gallery at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens on our agreed upon appointment of 1:30 p.m., Draper strolls into the large space where his multi-disciplinary project “Feast of Flowers,” has been on display since mid-December of last year. “Sorry I’m late,” he says. After I assure him that he is right on the money, we sit in two black leather chairs that face his recent work while also providing us with a fitting view of the museum’s award-winning gardens and the St. Johns River. It is an ideal setting to speak with Draper, as his twin loves – painting and the outdoors – are both within sight of one another. Two iPads are placed on the table between us and a collection of hard-shell binders are stacked upright against the wall. The tablet computers contain copies of the digital publication which coincides with the exhibit; the spiral bound books feature dozens of photographs that Draper took during his many excursions into the natural world, the very source and place that feeds his work. The 25 recent paintings in the exhibit are large-scale oils that both celebrate the flora and fauna of Florida while also warning of their possible passing. The title “Feast of Flowers” is a translation of the Spanish “Pascua de Florida,” the name chosen by Ponce De Leon in 1513 when he and his fellow explorer-conquistadors “discovered” the very much already-inhabited land that became known as Florida. On this 500th anniversary of Ponce De Leon’s arrival, Draper explores these ideas of “feasting,” devouring, conquest and commodification throughout the exhibit.

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