Sum + Substance debuted to the public on Friday, February 16, 2018. What a pleasure it was to work with Christie Chandler of Art Evolution in planning and preparing for the exhibit, Hiromi Moneyhun and Dustin Harewood with encouragement and enthusiasm, Matthew Bennett and Wyatt Parlette in getting these works hung, and Laura Bennett for all the support!
I began making the work just 5 weeks shy of the last day possible to hang. A lot of setbacks happened in those five weeks: my daughter and I both got sick with the flu back-to-back, family feuds that brought stress through the roof, many days being hopped up on caffeine and lack of sleep and even bottoming out with a creative block. Despite it all, I worked up until the very last minute of delivering the work to the gallery and met my personal goal of seven pieces.
I learned so much along the way about my own personal limitations, time management, and taking a moment to step back and enjoy. All too often, I find myself lost in the minute details of each piece, letting the work speak to me to decide when it's done, looking toward the next work as there is a seemingly never-ending flow of work to be done; where I don't take a moment to breathe and look back at how far I've come.
This is by far the largest and greatest breadth of work I've shown at one time. Wednesday, March 7th is Downtown Jacksonville's First Wednesday Artwalk and the last chance to see this great exhibition in person. Hiromi Moneyhun's Kiri-e (Papercuts) are intricate, symmetrical, empowering, and meticulous. I love them and the female figures she depicts in her narrative. Dustin Harewood's 36 Views of a Dying Coral Reef are mesmerizing together with his newer works where there is a fantastic juxtaposition of structure and expressiveness that form a symbiotic relationship with color in an impactful way. The collaborative works he created with Crystal Floyd moved me when you consider all that is really going on in those small worlds, plucked out from the world and combined to reveal the reality of the situation in Barbados. Christie Chandlers play with color, pattern, and repetition to create something wholly new and ethereal was pleasant. Her willingness to take risks and move beyond the boundaries of what happens within a frame from traditional painting to a mixed media assemblage that takes me to a surreal world. Her careful use of chaos and and control reveal more about her mind and the balance we all might find ourselves seeking daily.
If you attended our Artist Talks you had a chance to hear more about each of our processes and works. I Think I'm Going Japanese is definitely inspired by my daughter. She is but seven years of age, curiosity fuels her desire to know more and her heritage is no exception. Being half Japanese and growing up American it can be easy to lose sight of where some of her family comes from that can inform her personal identity, both in her formative years and as she matures. As a visual artist, what better medium to use so I may share her culture and history with her in a fun and meaningful manner?
I move between the Creation Story of Izanami no Mikoto and Izanagi no Mikoto which parallels both the Christian story of Adam & Eve and the Greek myth if Persephone and Demeter. The other Gods: Amaterasu, Susano'o and Tsukuyomi stem from their story. Interjected between these gods were displayed my Kintsugi Ramen girls. The philosophy of Kintsugi beyond the physical repair of ceramics with lacquered gold, is that we are made more beautiful for the things we have been through. Let those cracks show and if you fill them, let them be with gold. I speak about the feminine perspective in the eyes of the male gaze, how she might be fetishized or viewed as something to be consumed which stretches beyond the borders of Japan to feminine identity at large.
I feel a sigh of relief to share these works with you all and look forward to many a thing that is to come soon!! Thank you all for your support, words of encouragement, constructive criticism, honest feedback, and I can only hope to inspire each of you in some way. A huge shout out to Jeffrey Enriquez for taking all these fantastic photos from the Opening Reception!