JACKSONVILLE.- The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Jacksonville celebrates drawing and the artists creative use of paper in a series of exhibitions titled Paper Cuts: Contemporary Drawing at MOCA. And Further the Dew Drop Falls: Installations by Chris Natrop and Civitates Orbis Terrarum: Recent Works by John Bailly will be available for viewing at MOCA through August 31 at 333 North Laura Street in downtown Jacksonville.
In And Further the Dew Drop Falls, Los Angeles-based artist Chris Natrop uses cut paper to transform MOCAs galleries into a mesmerizing environment of free-form patterns that evoke nature and landscape. The shows title, like the artists inventive process, reflects his interest in the concept of something emerging out of nothing. The artist uses the cycle and development of dew as an underlying metaphor for this new body of work. Water evaporates into the air and then condenses as dewdrops, only to be evaporated again, Natrop states. In some areas of the exhibition, light projections of water drops slowly descend the museum walls and are layered atop the artists organic cut-outs.
Natrop works on enormous sheets of paper that are stretched out on self-healing mats. Wielding a standard utility knife, he spontaneously cuts away at the paper to create his organic forms. His compositions are influenced by his fascination with the intricacies of everyday forms encountered in his direct surroundings. Natrops process reveals the negative space by removing the emptiness between forms. Without any preconceived pattern or preliminary sketch, he allows the work to shape itself with each cut. As a by-product, energetic rips, tears and over-cuts mark the surfaces. Many of the drawings are suspended from the ceiling with wires and strings, and take on a sculptural presence, ultimately challenging the boundaries between two- and three-dimensional art. The presentations of the work create dramatic cast shadows that refract and reflect through projected light. Above all, Natrops installations are a fictionalized perception of place that allows the viewer to navigate through these ethereal landscapes and environments. And Further the Dew Drop Falls was designed and created specifically for MOCA Jacksonville and is Natrops first large-scale museum exhibition.
In Civitates Orbis Terrarum (Cities of the World), artist John Bailly examines the relationship of place and time in his multi-layered compositions. Baillys works depict cities derived from ancient maps and atlases that have either been decisive in shaping world history, conquered culturally or militarily, or were literally destroyed. His imagery is also derived from sources such as religion, history, wars and science. The overarching idea of mans self-annihilation is persistently evident in Baillys oeuvre. His work also captures the possibility of an even greater threat to humanity, a catastrophic presence that challenges our perception of current events and their impact on the future.
The monochromatic works comprising Civitates, on both canvas and paper, reflect the artists intentional reduction of color in an effort to emphasize drawing as the central feature of his compositions. With the absence of color, Baillys skillful use of line, shading and improvisational mark-making is further accentuated. Characteristic of the artists works are densely layered images that convey a barrage of what seems to be unrelated visual information. Baillys juxtaposition of imagery underscores his belief that perception is subjective. This is perhaps the artists attempt to explain the constant state of distraction prevalent in our fast-paced society.
In addition to many new large-scale works included in Civitates are also selections from the artists Place of Mind series. These works are the result of collaboration with critically acclaimed Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco. The drawings and paintings composing Place of Mind include maps of various cities, figurative elements, random images and hand-drawn text that are visual responses to Blancos poems.
Both exhibitions are curated by George Kinghorn, Deputy Director and Chief Curator.