Tag Archives: Jacksonville

Artist Diggs: Foard Above

25 Aug Work in Progress at Christina Foard's Studio

Please note that unfortunately, Christina is no longer in this studio.  She is actively created from her home studio– but I loved this insight into her creative world.

Christina Foard is above the clouds– literally and figuratively.  Her new studio space sits high above downtown Jacksonville in the AT&T building.  How could she not be over the moon? This is her view, ya’ll!

Despite the breathtaking view or perhaps, in part, because of it, Christina admits her new studio was a bit overwhelming when she first moved in.   An empty office space, originally intended for row upon row of cubicles, proved challenging to figure out how to best utilize as an art studio.  But a huge advantage to so much space?  Christina has room to breath and room to create.

Ditto goes for her three kids, who are often at the studio with her, sometimes for hours on end.  There is plenty of room for them to run around, even skateboard(!) throughout the studio and Christina has set up a “living room” so that she and the kids have a place to relax while she’s in the studio.

There is also room for Christina, the artist, to “play”.  When stuck for direction or just needing to get some creative juices flowing, she can plop herself down on the floor and play with paint and paper or stand over it and do some “Pollock-style” action painting.  If that won’t get your painting mojo working, nothing will.

Christina’s work is autobiographical– each piece is about a particular time, place, person or memory and is often used as a kind of catharsis, a way of working through a particular memory and replacing what may have been a negative with a positive.   Though a lot of her work is technically representational ( centered around recognizable objects ), it is also highly symbolic.  Circles and ribbons have begun popping up in Christina’s work lately, often symbolizing the intrusion of a chaos of thought on a peaceful mind.

Just as her life is constantly changing and evolving, so too, is Christina’s work.  For this artist, it is more about the process of creating than a finished “marketable” product.  ( Though people do respond to her work and it sells quite well ).  The paintings she creates aren’t necessarily “precious”, she will often go back and not just tweak but completely rework a piece so that it hardly resembles its former self.

The pieces pictured below, for instance, are works in progress.. they may not exist as you see them a week from now.

This new space is allowing Christina to grow as an artist like never before.  She is filled with ideas and there are stacks of new canvases just waiting for paint.

The new studio is also giving her a chance to venture into collage and sculpture.  She has wiped her slate clean of exhibitions and shows until early next year, to give herself time to rejuevenate, reinvigorate and explore where her art will take her.  I can’t wait to see where the journey leads!

You can see more of Christina’s work on her Pick of the Crop page here at Artsy Forager or drop by her website.

Are Chickens the New Black?

1 Aug 192

I admit, I’m not always up on the very latest trends, I am in my 30’s after all.  I knew all about the “Put a Bird On It” trend, but had no idea that art featuring chickens had become such a big deal.  Chicken art makes me think back to my grandma’s house and her Americana farm scene prints featuring chickens.  And her ceramic chicken collection.  Needless to say, chickens aren’t the first subject that jumps to mind when I think of the latest in the art world.  But for whatever reason, these birds are fowls are ruling the roost.

Roost by Brian McGuffey

Seattle area artist, Brian McGuffey draws from childhood experiences in his creative process.  In “Roost”, pictured above, he elevates the rooster from lowly barnyard animal to a dignified, full-plumed specimen.  Just look at that profile.  You know all the hens would be clucking all over him.

King of the Hill by Sydney McKenna

Why did the chicken cross the road?  To attend a chicken-only art show, apparently!  St. Augustine, Florida artist, Sydney McKenna painted “King of the Hill”  specifically for a show at the W.B. Tatter Studio & Gallery celebrating not just chickens, but also the gallery’s sixth year anniversary.  I hope they served a vegetarian menu for the opening. 🙂

But the Tatter who is by no means the only chicken show I’ve covered in recent months.  Remember Yvonne Lozano’s What Happened to the Chickens show?  Yvonne created an entire series of painting centered around a family trip to Colombia and a few friendly chickens she met there as a child.

Here, Chicky Chicky by Yvonne Lozano

Out and About by Hilary Williams

But chickens in art aren’t just reserved for the barnyard.. In “Out and About”, San Francisco based artist Hilary Williams  depicts a little hen who seems to have escaped and is enjoying a lovely day on the town.  This chick is ready for a ladies lunch and some retail therapy.

Speaking of plucky adventurers ( pun intended ), Dolan Geiman’s Blue Highway also shows how chickens in art aren’t just for grandma’s kitchen anymore.  Geiman’s graphic, mixed media approach results in work that is more contemporary than kitsch.

Blue Highway by Dolan Geiman

Where is this upsurge in chicken art leading?  Only the chickens know for sure.  The banty in Jim Draper’s Cross Creek seems ready to take the road less traveled.  And maybe that’s what the chicken art movement is all about.

Cross Creek by Jim Draper

The featured images is Laughing About This Life by Hilary Williams.  All images are courtesy of the individual artist’s websites.

PS– I restrained myself from finding a Road Crossing Chicken joke to go with each piece of artwork.  You’re welcome.

Cardboard Kaleidoscopes: Candace Fasano

5 Jul Warmth, oil on canvas, 66x56

Candace Fasano is a painter and a poet.  Where the paintings end and the poetry begins is not always distinctive.  According to Wikipedia, “poetry primarily is governed by idiosyncratic forms and conventions to suggest differential interpretation to words, or to evoke emotive responses.”  Substitute words for images and you’ve hit just the beginning of what makes Fasano’s work so interesting.

Topographical Remembering, mixed media on canvas, 48x48

Like poetry, Fasano’s paintings abound with symbolism and rhythm, their ambiguous nature often leaving them open to interpretation.  Though they may have been created with a certain narrative in mind, the visual elements expressed are more suggestive than overt.

OMGGMO, oil on canvas, 96x72 diptych

Just as Candace the poet plays with words, Candace the painter plays with paint.  Building up texture, leaving whispy washes of color and sketchy lines contrast with typographical verbiage.

Balancing Act, oil on canvas, 30x36

Layers of imagery create layers of meaning.  Objects within the works are often rendered realistically, but are not necessarily resting in their reality.  They may become transparent, weaving in and out of the composition like the ghostly marks left behind after an pencil eraser has done its work.

Warmth, oil on canvas, 66x56

imaginary landscapes attract 

pictures from our collective mythologies.

text or fragments take hold like scaffolding

constructing and deconstructing

realities into temporary truths

revealing fragile limitations 

of growth and decay –

viewed through a cardboard kaleidoscope

–c.fasano

To see more of Candace Fasano’s work and to read more of her poetry, visit her website and blog.  If you like her work as much as I do, please fan her Facebook page to keep up with all her latest news.  If you’re in the North Florida area, be sure to visit the Cummer Museum‘s “The Neighborhood As Art” show, which features one of Candance’s pieces.

Friday Forager Faves: For My Dad

17 Jun 1957 Chevy by Craig Pursley

Sunday is Father’s Day.  Geographically, I am farther away from my dad than I have ever been in my entire life.  We are blessed, in this age of technology, to still be able to keep up with each other every day even though we are miles apart.  If you’re on the blog’s Facebook page, you’ve seen my dad around.  He reads and “likes” everything I post.  He has always been that kind of father– supportive no matter what I’m doing, even if it isn’t exactly his cup of tea.  Today, in honor of my dad, I’m posting my favorite pieces of art that remind me of him, his interests and the things he loves.  This one’s just for you, Dad!

The Late Show by Russ Wilson

Whitewall by Leslie Peterson

Corner Station by Stephen Parker

Tri-5s by Daniel Brown

1957 Chevy by Craig Pursley

Happy Father’s day to my dad & all the other Artsy Fathers!

Lucky Spasms and Other ArtWalk Goodness

7 Apr

Beauty was abounding in Jacksonville last night and I’m not just talking about the perfect weather.  My sister-in-law and I attended the monthly Downtown ArtWalk and were treated to not just the usual visual stimulation but mental and emotional engagement, as well.  Now, I had a list about a mile long of the spots I wanted to hit, but we arrived late and spent quite a bit of time at each one, so.. yeah, we only made it to a few. 

But we began the night with a bang at The VAULT Gallery, Willliams-Cornelius’ space in a former bank vault ( yes, you read that right! ) on Forsyth Street.   Greeted by the Mr. Williams & Ms. Cornelius themselves, and intern Adam, we set off to see what artist Jeff Whipple had in store for us.   Whipple has been working on this “Spasm” series for more than thirty years.  What began as a painterly device to fill negative pace, the three-barred icon has grown from an element in the background to become the object of an entire series of work.

The three bars that comprise a “spasm” serve to symbolize life, lifetime or a lifestyle.  The artwork is open to interpretation, based on the viewer’s own experience– how you see it may not be the way I see it and that’s OK.  All of our lives are different and it is in this difference that we each find meaning in the spasms.  This is work that truly that makes you stop and think– what does this mean?  To the artist?  To me?

In conjunction with the showing of Jeff Whipple’s work, Williams-Cornelius also presented a performance piece by self-proclaimed “deformance artist”, Liz Gibson.  Gibson was born with a birth defect causing her to have only seven fingers– five on one hand and only two on the other.   The performance last night was a character of Gibson’s own creation “Ben Wa Betty”.  Betty appears as part archetypal Asian lady, but in a hip and provocative way.  Gibson tells stories of how at times she felt lucky or unlucky to have been born with a deformity, all while pouring wax over her deformed hand, proving how you can take something that seems unlucky and make something beautiful out of it.  

The overaching theme is one of contentment– be happy with who you are and how you were made.   At times you may feel unlucky, but there will always be a reminder of just how lucky we all are.

 Our next stop was Southlight Gallery, where there is always a display of exceptional art by some of the most well-known artists in Jacksonville, right along side with talented emerging artists.  The featured artist last night was wood sculptor, Grant Ward

I’m a sucker for any burl or wood sculpture and have been a fan of Ward’s pieces for a long time.  There is something about an artist that looks at a log or a tree stump, sees the potential for creating something unique AND possesses the craftsmanship to create something polished and beautiful out of such rough raw materials.

I have always especially loved Ward’s pieces that combine burl wood with spun metal.  These pieces take on, for me an other worldly space-like quality.  It is as if the wood is a planetary surface and the metal pieces are alien pods making their home there.

After leaving Southlight, we made our way toward the river to the Suntrust Tower, new home of Town Editions, Thomas Hager’s new line of accessibly affordable limited editions– making this artist’s beautiful work available to even a young collector.

 

These hand-crafted, signed and numbered editions are created using vintage photographic processes, which give the simple subject matter an elegance and sophistication lacking in much of today’s photographic prints.  Also on view are some of Hager’s paintings ( He paints, too!  I know! ).

 

Filled with texture and a pastel & neutral palette, these pieces are reminiscent of sand or rock.  They have an organic feeling to them that such completely non-representational work rarely possesses.   I’m looking forward to seeing Tom’s paintings evolve just as his photography continues to do so.

I wish I could tell you more about all the places we visited and amazing art we saw, but alas, that was the end of our night.  I can tell you that I will be back downtown soon to visit the exhibits and studios I missed.  I’m not sure how anyone could see it all in ArtWalk’s four hours.. but what an awesome problem to have! 

May’s Downtown ArtWalk will be May 4, 2011.  More information available here.  Hope to see you there!

Loss of a Legend: Hamish MacEwan

6 Apr

Yesterday I learned of the passing of one of the great leaders of the art community in Jacksonville, Hamish MacEwan.  Hamish was born in Scotland, eventually coming to the US and earning a Masters of Art degree from Harvard University.  His career brought him to Jacksonville and though he gained notoriety as the head of the arts department at Episcopal High School in Jacksonville and producer of cultural programs for Jacksonville’s local PBS Station.  It is in his paintings and personal relationships that Hamish’s real legacy is found.

Vertical Interior Exterior I by Hamish MacEwan

 I can still vividly remember my first encounter with Hamish.  I had only been working at Fogle Fine Art for a short time, when Hamish came into the gallery on Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville.  I had, of course, already been familiar with his work from living in Jacksonville and working for SuperStock, who handled the licensing of much of his artwork. 

Vertical Horizontal Break I by Hamish MacEwan

He came into the gallery looking like a character from a Rosamunde Pilcher novel, dressed in cordoruoys, tweed jacket ( complete with elbow patches! ) and hat.   His voice had that beautiful Scottish lilt and he was the epitome of a Scottish gentleman.  I always remember his hankerchiefs, because they reminded me of my own grandfather, also an old-school hankerchief user.

Vertical Interior I by Hamish MacEwan

Hamish was a prolific artist, painting every day even into his 90’s.  In 2009, Fogle joined forces with MOCA Jax to do a retrospective of his work the year Hamish turned 90 years old, “90 in “09” showcased the artistic journey of this remarkable artist.  I was fortunate to give Hamish a ride home after the opening at the gallery.  He was blown away by all the attention and so appreciative and humbled by this celebration of his life of work.

Vertical Interior II by Hamish MacEwan

After I dropped Hamish off that night, I watched him amble along the sidewalk to his apartment, leaning on his cane.  I pictured him the next day, same as always, painting in his studio.  I like to think that he is still painting. 

Goodbye, Hamish.  Thank you for the creative legacy you have left us all.

All images via Fogle Fine Art.

Springing Forth

29 Mar IMG_2450

WINTER TRANSITIONS;  SPRING STORMS is R. Roberts Gallery’s celebration of the transition from the grey, dreary days of winter into the fresh bloom of spring.  The show features the work of three very different artists, mixed media artist Madeline Peck-Wagner, sculptor James Oleson and encaustic painter Kathleen Wobie.

As you enter the gallery, you may almost miss James Oleson’s tiny bust sculpture.  This diminutive piece, made of repurposed metal, will definitely make you stop and take the time to really check it out.  I couldn’t believe I walked right by it when I first came in!  Beyond the bust is one of Oleson’s horse sculptures.  With its stilt-like legs and flowing tail, this equine could be right out of a Tim Burton movie.  Oleson also has some much larger scale sculptures that are interesting in their own right. 

Speaking of equines, Madeline Peck-Wagner’s mixed media works were defnitely, for me, the star of this show.  She takes subject matter that could be trite and cringe-worthy ( think cheesy Southwestern art ), but treats it in a unique, contemporary and elegant way.

These are delicate line drawings possessing an intense presence and power, much like the impressive animals depicted.  The cross-hatching & precision of the lines are reminiscent of architectural drafting, giving the figures depicted a strutctural, landscaped quality.  Conversely, blots and washes of brightly colored paints call to the spiritual significance such animals, both living and decayed possess.

Just as the delicate, bare branches of winter transition into the full, heady blooms of spring, so we move from Madeline Peck-Wagner’s graceful lines into Kathleen Wobie’s encaustics, thick with wax, paint & color.   Kathleen’s pieces, in the context of this show, seem to depict spring at its height– full of pastel tones and sunshiney warmth.

For me personally, I found the larger, abstract piece below to be Wobie’s most successful of this show.  This piece, rather than being the literal translation of winter to spring that the piece above is, instead represents more the feeling of spring– of rebirth, renewal and the joy of being alive.

As we in North Florida transition into spring ( though some days lately, it feels as if summer is already upon us! ), take the time to drop by R. Roberts to see how these artists make the switch and enjoy this last show in the gallery’s current space.  R. Roberts is doing some transitioning of their own, can’t wait to see the bountiful blooming that is sure to be in store!

R. Roberts Gallery is located at 3606 St. Johns Ave in historic Avondale, in Jacksonville.

Winter Transitions; Spring Storms will be on display through April 23rd, the gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-6pm.

Pick of the Crop: Eng’s Eye

24 Mar

One week into being an official blogger and I’ve already found that though I may plan to write about a specific artist on a specific day, sometimes the universe seems to be telling me to write something different.  All signs today pointed first to photography, then to Jacksonville photographer, Doug Eng

Double Reflection - Modis

I first saw Doug’s nature photography and definitely knew he had something.  While working for a gallery & art consulting firm, I saw A LOT of mediocre photography.  But Doug’s images were different– not only were they many notches above most others in terms of the quality of the image itself, but the compositions were unique and unusual.  His way of seeing, especially in capturing architectural structures, is extraordinary.

Old and New - SunTrust, BOA, Modis

Unlike many photographers today, Doug doesn’t rely on heavily manipulating his images– he mostly composes his images in the camera, taking hundreds of different shots to get to that one “magic” piece.

Last Light on County Dock, Mandarin FL

Capturing moments in time is Doug’s specialty– whether the moment is filled with humor, sentiment or a changing cityscape.

Pizza Guys - Florence, Italy

Each image tells a story, some more obvious than others, but all equally interesting and relevant.

Fallen - Pisgah NF - SR 1206

Doug’s work can be seen in person at Southlight Gallery in Downtown Jacksonville or online here at Artsy Forager or on Doug’s own website.   When not out shooting fabulous imagery, he can usually be found working at Studio 121, a co-operative studio of artists in Downtown Jacksonville.

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