Ninety-nine percent of the time I completely love my life in the Pacific Northwest. But occasionally, there is that nagging little 1% that longs to be back in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, just so that I can be in the thick of the exciting artistic resurgence happening there. Though the arts in Jax were hit hard by the recession, artists and art supporters are determined to make Jacksonville a cultural destination. Among them, artist Steve Williams is bringing home forward-thinking, atypical art with his new gallery, Florida Mining.
Williams is no stranger to playing gallerist. He’s been at the heart of several successful galleries in Jacksonville over the years. As an artist, he thrives on being involved with other artists and their creative processes. And, being the generous soul that he is, wants to help them succeed and in the process, is bringing his unique vision for the arts to his hometown.
Florida Mining’s mission? To present emerging to mid career artists who are thought provoking and fresh with a mix of medium and perspective. And they were off to a slammin’ start with their first show featuring a new series of work by Northeast Florida photographer Laird, a series infared photographs which begin with organic surroundings and are composited and mirrored so that the resulting image becomes almost hauntingly alien, yet familiar.
Florida Mining’s sleek, contemporary space, designed by the brilliant team at Designmind, Larry Wilson and Rebecca Davisson ( both artists in their own right ) is the perfect showcase for making avant-garde work accessible to North Florida.
Up next for Florida Mining is a new show, Tonya Lee: All Smiles, a new series from the Jacksonville-native, current Philadelphian featuring paintings and wallpaper ( yes, you read that right! ), embracing Lee’s fascination with alternative materials.
Tonya Lee: All Smiles opens at Florida Mining this coming Friday, 11/11/11. If you are anywhere nearby, you will not want to miss it! Big things are in store for this new venture. Go and experience it for yourself.