Contemporary Realism at MOCA

September 7, 2014
2 mins read
Hasler - Portraitas Palom

On September 12th, for their patrons and members only, MOCA unveils an exhibit featuring American contemporary painters Haley Hasler, Jason John, Andrea Kowch, Bryan Le Boeuf, Jenny Morgan, Kevin Muente, Frank Oriti, and Kevin Peterson. There is a reception for patrons from 6-7pm, followed by one from 7-9 pm for museum members. The general public is invited to the exhibition on September 13 through January 4.

These eight current artists present a look into the contemporary trend of the realist figurative painting movement.

“My portraits are about the relationship between the person and the place, especially working-class people in my age range, who are returning from college or the military and moving back to the suburbs of Cleveland where we once wanted to escape,” says Frank Oriti. “Returning to places that have memories of childhood that have matured, it’s hard to switch back…I pull from my own working-class backgrounds showing connection and disconnection from the figure to the background’s white-washed element – physically erased,” says Oriti, whose work is strong and tight, reminding you of, as he puts it, “the daily grind” so many people go through day after day to make ends meet for themselves and their families.

One of the artists, Jason John, happens to be a University of North Florida assistant professor in painting, but he has created a national reputation. In addition to his paintings in the exhibition, John will hold studio hours at MOCA, allowing visitors to see him at work.

The thread twining this exhibit together twists through the inner self-portraits turned into narratives by Hasler, the situational portraits by John – Jacksonville’s own, the intentional compositions by Kowch, the portraiture of mood and situations by Le Boeuf, the compelling and disruptive figure portraits by Jenny Morgan, the landscape paintings posing unending questions by Muente, the boomerang journey of people coming back to their roots blurred by the reality of the past by Oriti, and the raw portraits in a broken world by Peterson. This is a show of the “now” – a mirror for us to ponder as we walk through their images and enter the mysterious worlds of each artist. Portraiture Through Time: A MOCA-Cummer Museum Tour on Sunday, October 5 from 1-4pm

Go on a journey through time beginning at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens where you will tour the permanent collection of portraits from the past, followed by transportation to MOCA to view the contemporary American portraits on exhibit. ($15 MOCA or Cummer Members, $20 Non-Members)

Women Painting Women on Thursday, October 23 at 7pm, MOCA-featured artists Haley Hasler, Andrea Kowch, and Jenny Morgan will discuss their roles in today’s art world, the women featured in their artwork, and the reasons why they paint them. Discussion is free and open to the public. (Members’ Reception at 6pm; three-course prix fixe dinner for Avant Garde and Collectors’ Circle members at 8:30pm in Café Nola at $49 per person, includes tax and tip; wine pairings and full bar available for an additional charge, payable the night of the dinner – reservations required)

[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]MOCA Book Club on Thursday, December 11 at 1pm and 7pm – “Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life” Guided book club discussions and interactive, hour-long tours at 1 pm and 7 pm. Join the group at Café Nola for a meal before or after you attend one of the events. Reservations are encouraged.[/box]

Advance registration at or call 904.366.1214.

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