Monday, November 26, 2007

ART WALK - Downtown Jacksonville, FL

The downtown Jacksonville’s Artwalk is one of the most unified presentations of art that Jacksonville has seen in a long time. Being a FREE event with over 40 downtown venues that display not only a wide variety of visual art; the Artwalk is also incorporating an assortment of music, dance and retail vendors to accentuate the Artwalks appeal.

My night began at Hemming Plaza; fondly known as the core of the event, where most of the entertainment is performed. Unfortunately, being a chilly evening, not much was going on in the forms of entertainment. With the exception of a clown painting the faces of children, Bongo’s echoing throughout the plaza, and the sounds of the water fountain misting in the cool November air, there seemed to be a void at the forefront of the occasion.

Perfect Scents
Home Fragrance

With only a few retail vendors nearby, I decided to stop at the Perfect Scents Home Fragrance booth. Perfect Scents is a company owned by Rodney and Sharon, a Jacksonville couple that discovered the benefits of Crystal Rock Potpourri from a friend and decided to make it a household item.
Crystal rock potpourri is a wonderfully scented sea salt produced from the salt mines of the Caribbean and Dead Sea.
You buy a jar of these fragrant salt rocks perfumed by exotic oils and then buy the imitation crystal warming lamp to invigorate the salts and provide an aromatic aura in the room. One setup on your warming lamp can last up to 3 days before the scent is gone. Typically, one jar of these scented rocks will last about a month. Once you are done using your scented rocks in the lamp, you can return it to the jar, shake it up, and the rocks will be re-scented with the excess oils in the jar.
Much more affective then a Glade plug in or a scented candle, Perfect Scents Crystal Rock is ideal for any home. You may email Rodney or Sharon at if interested in purchasing this product.

Chris Kidman

Next I stopped at artist Chris Kidman’s table who recently relocated from New York City to Jacksonville, FL. Chris’s street art is a variation of vivid colors and urban design. These "Urban Cartoon Machines" as Chris calls them, are compiled of pipe mazes, eyeballs, pinks, blues, greens and variations of cartoon chaos. Wonderfully crafted, Chris Kidman’s art will definitely keep the mind and eye busy to figure out a world only Chris can understand.

333 North Laura St.
Jacksonville, FL 32202

JU Dance Department

Leading onto the doorstep of MOCA (formerly JMOMA) I immediately noticed the massive crowd in the entrance and was barely able to get in the door. Being only 4’10" tall, I had a bit of trouble trying to find out what the commotion was all about. After darting elbows, whipping through the crowd, and trying desperately not to run into onlookers holding glasses of red wine, I was finally able to see what causing all of the fuss. It was the JU Dance Department, performing an interpretative dance piece from the show
"The Orpheus Project": a contemporary, multi- disciplinary performance that explores the myth of Orpheus’ journey to Hell to serenade Satan and recover his lost love, Eurydice. The dancers flowed about with black sheer blindfolds in a graceful, ballet – like manner. After performing one piece to the elegant music of Bill Shermer, JU music professor, they quickly changed into red jumpsuits & bounced about to a more upbeat score.
The JU Dance department is very flexible and oblivious to onlookers, according to MOCA Director of Development, Heather Sams. "They have no trouble keeping focus when people are walking down the stairs, walking by the atrium, eating in the café, etc.. It doesn’t faze them at all."
Bravo to Cari Coble, JU dance professor for orchestrating this fine piece of performance art.

MOCA 2nd Floor Exhibits
Coherent Structures: Recent Silverpoint Paintings by Carol Prusa
Sept. 14th – Jan 6th at MOCA

Carol Prusa’s paintings are a representation of microscopic cellular structures, flora and cosmological symbols. These detailed organic drawings are created in silverpoint, a medium that was utilized by Renaissance masters Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Albrecht Durer. Prusa’s blending of powdered sulfur, titanium white, graphite and acrylic media almost bring on a connubial feel. While Prusa’s intentions were to depict her attraction to science, alchemy, organizational systems and botany – her art suggests something much more of matrimony. It reminds one of a wedding ceremony or canvassed bouquets. I couldn’t help but wonder if these pieces were a vanguard from the Grant/Brown wedding that took place in MOCA’s atrium this past July.

MOCA’s Permanent Collection

Alongside featured exhibitions, MOCA has also integrated a series of permanent collections on the 2nd floor. Pieces range from pop imagery, sculptures and photography. The vintage photo’s presented on the back wall of the 2nd floor range from dates 1926 to 1974; including "Magda, the Satiric Dancer", a photograph of a 1920’s flapper woman stretched out on a velvet loveseat in that "come hither" way, and Jerry N Uelsmann’s "untitled" photo of an uprooted tree hovering over an enchanted lake. The photographs in this permanent collection are featured in black & white film.

Andy Schuessler
Permanent Collection of MOCA

Probably the most interesting piece on the 2nd floor is Andy Schuessler’s Zephyrus, an electromechanical assemblage compiled from traditional household items. In Zephyrus , Schuessler manipulates a variety of materials, including objects such as light bulbs, a lampshade frame, and barstool legs, as well as wire, metal, wood, and plastic elements. The viewer activates a footswitch to start a fan moving, which in turn causes the lampshade frame to spin with increasing speed. As lights twinkle, bells ring, and motors buzz, Schuessler injects elements of humor and whimsy into an otherwise formal medium.
Gazing at the compilation of an oval mirror supporting a 1960’s aqua blue fan, an upside down rusty chandelier clutching orange Christmas light bulbs, essentially crowned with a classic crystal door knob, I found myself as intrigued as a little kid on Christmas day; holding down the petal, glaring at the lights, anxiously awaiting the motor charged surprise. This tower of vintage home décor would make any garage sale junkie want to empty out their dwindled bank account for one eccentric piece of art.

MOCA 3rd Floor Exhibits
Raddle Cross and Dowsing:
Installations by Martha Whittington
Sept 14th – Jan 6th at MOCA

This mechanism of art is a combination of kinetic sculptures and sound based installations.
Mostly arrhythmic rather than visual, Whittington’s pieces include irregular clunking & clacking of wooden discs suspended from cotton twine strings managed by two small motors in concurrence with motorized fiber glassed rods, tip tapping on circle shaped mirrors. This selection is presented top to bottom in the middle of the gallery walkways. While nothing but tightened white string is actually displayed on the gallery walls, this presentation, although interesting enough, is both meditating and droning.

By Duncan Johnson
Sept 14th –Jan 6th at MOCA

Duncan Johnson utilizes recycled wood as the primary medium for his works of art. His complex sculptures are created using thousands of custom cut wood strips in a variety of lengths and widths. Johnson works primarily with cedar, pine and hemlock, manipulating them in a way that almost seems impossible. The intricate detail of Johnson’s work in itself should be appreciated, if not for its natural beauty alone.

Essence and Materials
Works by Minoru Ohira
Sept 14th – Jan 6th at MOCA

The work of Minoru Ohira, MOCA’s featured exhibit, demonstrates the beauty of harvest in one complex and remarkable presentation.
Casting a definite fall tone to the gallery’s exhibition, Ohira’s well-designed sculptures are inspired by objects observed in nature. The rounded and curvilinear sculptures, some more than eight feet in length, range from highly polished to uneven pine comb-like textures, indicating a deep respect for the intrinsic nature of materials. In addition to its meticulous charm, what’s more fascinating is that Ohira doesn’t use power tools to construct his art. Instead, he rigorously exhausts the use of hand saws and hatchets. By far, the most intriguing of all the exhibits, Essence and Materials leaves you with the notion of surrealism. With the illusion of being surrounded by giant sized acorns, walnuts and the traditional Thanksgiving horn of plenty, you are left with the impression that you just fell down a proverbial rabbit hole. However, if you are prone to chronic allergies, make sure you take an antihistamine before coming to this exhibit. Beautiful art, bad for the allergies; I couldn’t stop sneezing.

MOCA 5th Floor Exhibit
Valuistics: The Making Of
An Installation by James Greene
Sept. 14th – Jan 6th at MOCA

James Greene utilizes the tools of familiar design and screen printing to produce a self – portrait of the choices the artist makes as a consumer.
Several walls impersonate a blueprint of the consumer’s kitchen. Pink and red illustrated versions of a sink, stove, refrigerator, and garbage can – all the essentials of a well functioning kitchen - are displayed along the walls of the 5th floor. Brand logos of products, distributors and household retail chains are represented by a collage of product logos in red ink printed on multiple pink sheets of foam insulation that are arranged in mayhem on the blueprint.
Whether or not Greene’s objective was to initiate product placement in my mind, I couldn’t resist the urge to go to Dairy Queen for a strawberry ice cream cone and a cherry on top.

* All featured exhibits mentioned in this review for MOCA may be viewed on MOCA’s website *

The Jacksonville
Bank Building
100 North Laura St. #1000
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Jacksonville Symphony Guild
Painted Violins

The Jacksonville Symphony Guild is holding a raffle for 12 beautifully painted violins, each crafted by 12 local artists, to raise funds for the Harmony Grant. The goal is to raise up to $500 to teachers in the public school district for one qualifying student to be awarded the Harmony Grant. Drawing tickets range from $5-$100 for one of the painted violins. The violins will be showcased every Wednesday at the Jacksonville Bank Building until May 2008.

Golds Gym
100 North Laura St.
Jacksonville, FL 32202
(In the Jacksonville Bank Building)

Fitness Ink* - Chelleby Photgraphy

Fitness Ink* is a collection of photos of members and staff of Golds Gym who are dedicated to fitness and use their bodies as their own individual canvases. From the imagination of Chelleby, a local art expressionist photographer, the walls of Golds Gym are adorned with enriched color photos of members and staff with eloquent tattoo art. These photos include Origin – staff member Crystal Starr displays her mystical back piece of Tinkerbell in a butterfly infused fairy garden, materialized in vibrant color.
Upstairs we see Sweet Jesus Kaine! – a photograph of gym member Kaine Bennett, showing off his inked up forearms and biceps outstretched over his glorious Impala, and Clownin’, a playful portrait of funny man Steve Dinkins, dangling upside down from a pipe over the St. Johns River. Chelleby has the unique ability to take any person in any situation and cultivate them into a magnificent work of art. With a keen eye for location, arrangement, props, fashion and a creative flare for make-up, Chelleby can bring out the inner model or inner freak in anyone.

Kenneth Reshard -

The walls of Golds Gym proudly parade the works of Reshards Godlike sculptures. Copper and black sculptures of various male and female torsos, seemingly chiseled to perfection, are displayed in a unique way – reminding you of Italian Renaissance art. Think iron sculpted beefcakes from Muscle magazine.

Burrito Gallery
21 East Adams St.
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Renee Parenteau - Untitled

The pieces by art photographer Renee Parenteau express the elegance and beauty of modern day Spanish bullfighting. Parenteau’s exquisite photographs capture the detail and vibrancy of the matador’s costume; sparkling sequins, shiny beads and vibrant colored silks and other fine textures seem to jump out at you – just like the bull itself. With vivid colors and supreme composition, Parenteau accomplishes brilliance in just a few pieces of art.

The Carlisle Group
On Adams Street
outside the restaurant Chew

The Carlisle Group is a magnificent jazz band, recently formed by band members Eric Riehm (saxophone), Travis Morton (bass), Dan Shelton (drummer) and Jeff McGloughlin (guitar). A saucy rendition of fusion jazz fills the night air with rhythmic bass, urbane drum beets, smooth guitar & sultry saxophone tunes. With onlookers crowding around in the cool air, bundled in jackets & hats, one can imagine a night back into the 1940’s. While the Carlisle Group definitely sets the mood for martini’s and make-out sessions, I reminisced on my younger flight of the imagination. Daydreams of a swanky black dress, long cigarette holder, martini in one hand, debonair gent on the other and a moonlit night on the river listening to a saucy jazz band is what I often vision my adulthood would be like. Never the less, there I stood; at the mature age of 30 clad in a hippy peasant skirt, Old Navy Fleece and sandals, I hardly emulate the role of my child hood fantasies. However, one thing remains the same; I am moved beyond measure by this bravura music just as I imagined I would be. Too bad the Carlisle Group has no website, no myspace or any recent gigs lined up to network their neo soul. You will just have to come see them at the Artwalk every month in front of the restaurant Chew at 117 W. Adams St., to be moved by this underground treasure.
*If interested in booking The Carlisle Group for a party or event – please contact Eric Riehm at 904-384-8554.*

I could stand listening to the music all evening but my toes were getting cold and my tummy was rumbly, so I settled in a booth at Chew to chow down on some Prosciutto wrapped asparagus. I then ended my night with a martini and an old friend at Twisted Martini, the official Artwalk after party. Be careful though folks, it has been advertised that one can get a free drink with an Artwalk brochure at Twisted Martini. However, I learned that offer only lasts until 9:30pm; coincidentally only half an hour after the Artwalk closes down.

DECEMBER 5, 2007 • JANUARY 2, 2008 • FEBRUARY 6, 2008 • MARCH 5, 2008

Report by Mia Carlin

1 comment:

MaryAnn said...

Hi! My name is Mary Ann, and I am an old friend of Chelleby Starr, the photographer of which you have reported some works by.

You wouldn't know how someone could get in contact with her would you? An email or website perhaps?
I haven't talked to her in months and I've lost her phone number, email - everything :(

If you could help me out, my email is:

Thank you so much :)