Robb Tabone, the crackling wit of Jacksonville's indie arts and cultural scene brings us up to date on this month's crop of shows, artists and the people who habituate them.
Lock up Your Galleries and Daughters
This month Salon, a new gallery on E. Bay, had a soft opening at Art Walk. The space looks quite nice, the pink walls are kind of tacky but the overall layout is well done. The day I went to check it out nobody was there. Nevertheless the door opened and we walked right in.
The front room of the space has this bar nook/receptionist desk area, which gives the gallery the feel of a hip speakeasy. I had debated making off with whatever booze might be lying around but lucky for them my company restrained my efforts.
Front Shot of the Gallery
Overall I wasn't super impressed but there were a few gems. Overstreet Ducasse has been making some top quality work and Salon had a wall of his paintings. He has a clean and distinct style, which is important and he knows what he's doing. His painting's are surreal and bright but at the same time achieve a haunting effect. They have the feel of street art, but come off more refined. It is an educated grittiness that possesses his work. Ducasse's work seems to always show up in random spots around town among herds of artists whose names you wont remember, which is a shame. Ducasse should be having solo shows.
currently has two works on display at Salon
When galleries stack a bunch of artists together it creates a lack of intimacy to the art.
Salon had too many artists to count and not enough to mention which is its main draw back. It is however just the first month and perhaps it was a bit thrown together. The space is great and I could see many great shows being held in it. The key is going to be for whoever runs the space to find a handful of quality artists the city hasn't seen yet and help them to develop. Less is more with the small gallery.
Nick Wagner- Shiva/Shakti mixed media
Currently up at Salon
The role of a curator in the local gallery is to act as a quality control officer. Local gallery operators need to be asking artists more questions, and saying no more often. Feelings will be hurt and that's tough but that's how it is. Just because I have a lab coat doesn't make me a doctor, and just because you have some paintings doesn't make you an artist.
It's easy to assume the mantle of an artist in Jacksonville. The place is practically swarming with Art Manques. Give me a week, a bottle of white wine and a nickelbag and I could have a bunch of bad paintings, a place that would show them, and a girl who thinks I am very cultured. It's not rocket science, we should be making it more difficult. Difficulty inspires a higher work ethic in people. The more difficult it becomes for people to show in the city's galleries the higher the quality of work will be.
At the very least we should be drawing distinctions between 'aspiring artist', practicing artists, otherwise likable people who just 'happen to be' artists, and full blown artists with visible symptoms.
Fabricio Farias is right on point with this concept. The show he organized "Mama's Pantry" opens up at The Broadfoot Gallery, August 14th. The show consists of three other artists. Farias says (and even if he didn't, he should have) that a lot of venues in the city seem lazy. This show is an effort to show a higher caliber of work.
"When you show anything of high quality it sets a standard for others to meet, you are giving back to the community indirectly," he said.
Two Works by Kate Godfrey
Showing August 14th at Broadfoot Gallery
The show is a mix of talents. There will be photographs, prints and paintings. The name denotes a homey sort of feel and Farias describes the show as having a modern but distinctly southern vibe to it. I got to look at a few shots of work that will be displayed and it should be a nice show.
The Broadfoot Gallery is located at 420 3rd St South in Jacksonville Beach. The gallery actually is the work space of architect Ben Broadfoot, who for the past three years has been turning the space into the occasional gallery. The space itself is small but has a very modern design. Openings there that I have attended always turn out to be great times with great art. It is probably the one and only reputable small gallery at the beach.
Things I didn't like:
Cartoon-esque paintings: 323 Modernism has some of these and so did Salon. They strike me as tacky and decorative not something we should be touting as art.
Black and White Photographs of other peoples kids: Why would anyone pay $35 for a picture of your kid riding a bike? I guess they sell though
Salon Gallery: http://www.salonjax.com/ 109 E Bay St
Open: Tues through Saturday 4pm-10pm
Mama's Pantry: August 14th
420 3rd St South
Article by Robb Tabone