Family is no easy subject, and the topic evokes such a wide range of emotion. Whether you have not talked to relatives in years or they just left a family dinner at your house, they are your blood. The new exhibit opening at The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Our Shared Past, will be focusing on personal family imagery from the guest curator, Jefree Shalev. For those familiar with his curatorial work with the traverse nullspace gallery, this should surely pique interest.
The concept of this show came to Jefree as he recently rediscovered a box of 8mm family movies. In watching them, the scope of feelings that manifested ranged from sadness to delight. He felt alienated by these motion pictures, disconnected from a family unit that once was. However, he explains, “this allowed me to view the images from a formal perspective and to see the personal as universal.” As he delved deeper into the films and dissected them frame by frame, he was slowly unearthing unimaginable treasures.
After selecting 175 evocative images from the hours of found video, Jefree invited 33 Jacksonville artists to integrate their vision into his family’s images. The combination of the artists’ interpretations and his iconic pictures make up Our Shared Past. The participating artists were given very little direction in this project, except to chose an image that spoke to them; the rest was up to his or her artistic vision.
As Jefree points out, the movies that he examined are 16 frames per second, with all of the images in the show making up a mere 2 seconds of actual life. This develops a common theme of a moment in time: one miniscule snippet out of a lifetime of memories and experiences. While the capturing of time might be small, these pictures hatched from eras of old speak to the soul as a timeless and universal representation of life.