Fall Art Sneak Peek

by Madeleine Peck Wagner
The fall art season for Jacksonville, Florida is looking quite interesting. From the China Show at MOCA, East/West, to the upcoming Russell Maycumber show at nullspace gallery, the works on display promise to illuminate the mundane, and cast new light on Western fetishization tendencies. The following is a short look, with some opinionating, on upcoming art shows in the city.
If no other show is attended this season, East/West Visually Speaking at MOCA Jacksonville is a lavish visual feast that turns Western notions of China back on themselves. While it’s tempting to dismiss contemporary Chinese art as the propaganda-esque result of a Communist government, in reality, it’s some of the most sought-after work in the international scene right now. Galleries, collectors and museums are turning their collective eyes eastward. With wit, irreverence and impeccable technical execution, the works featured in the MOCA show force a reconsideration of Western and Chinese visual traditions.
Perhaps most visually startling are the insertion of commercial brands into paintings, sculptures and ceramic works. The Luo Brothers’ “Welcome the Famous Brands to China,” is a strong example of this awkward, but successful visual culture blend; in the piece, a cherubic baby rest atop Coca-Cola cans strewn with flowers, and snuggles up to a Big Mac. Crafted of glazed porcelain, the piece cleverly fuses materiality and tradition with scale and collectability (it is larger than shoebox, smaller than a thirteen-inch television). Also on display are several paintings that tackle the traditional Chinese landscape, but rendered in a matter that recalls Cezanne in one piece, and Van Gogh (who himself referenced Asian art) in another. East/West is up through January. MOCA Jacksonville, 333 North Laura St., 366-6911.
At nullspace, the gallery that is quickly emerging as Jacksonville’s leading alternative art space, the works of Russell Maycumber will be on display through October 15, in Pips and Paracosms, the Lost and Found of Paradise.
Maycumber, an artist who works primarily on post-it notes is in keeping with the galleries absurdist leanings that typically hide a more profound meaning. Of his work, the artist writes, “I found a phrase while reading about the cognitive development of children. There is a stage where the children construct paracosms (unique detailed imaginary world) I try to think back to the time when I was about eight or nine. Images of what my own sense of play involved emerge and I come up with visual chunks: plastic pink and green robots, some space themed figures, some based on actual movie characters, a train set and a few bricks of modeling clay. My memories never actually coalesce into a distinct story or include consistent plotlines, characters or settings…”
Non-narrative, hyper-detailed artworks: nullspace at it’s best. After Maycumber, David Lauderdale will be exhibiting his works in time for the November Art Walk. nullspace, 108 East Adams St., nullspacegallery.wordpress.com.
On September 22, Senate Republicans (including John McCain) blocked the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Law. So it’s timely (and entirely coincidental) that the Cummer will be hosting a show entitled, The Art of War. The works, a collection of posters belonging to Jacksonville resident Major General Gerry Maloney USAF (Ret.), are the propaganda poster used by various United States agencies to inspire and reinforce the war (WWII) effort. Cummer Curator Holly Keris says of the posters, “This exhibition is interesting on a number of levels, although the posters specifically address a time and place in America’s history, they are remarkably relevant in our current times. I hope our visitors will be inspired by the sacrifices made not only by our parents and grandparents, but also by the men and women who continue to serve our country today.”
The free Community Celebration is Tuesday, October 12 from 4 to 8 pm. Swing dancing, war-era newsreels, patriotic music and graphic design make for a nostalgic evening, Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, 829 Riverside Ave., 356-6857.
J. Johnson’s show, Black and White, features the works of disparate artists working in the aforementioned colors. It is a study in restraint and subtlety, through November 5. 177 4th Avenue North, Jacksonville Beach, 435-3200.
R. Roberts has a roster of upcoming shows including, Renoir and the Master Impressionists, with an opportunity to meet Renoir’s grandson, Alexandre Renoir, on October 2, and 3.
These are just a few of the interesting and exciting shows planned for the fall and winter at area galleries and museums. The writer took the time to opine a bit, because, well, she likes to. Plus, the shows are too compelling to just merit a mention in a list. Jacksonville is getting some fantastic, timely shows. Hopefully, our community will respond with support and debate.