Bo Bartlett: Earthly Matters Addresses the Issues of Our Time in Grand Scale
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — MOCA Jacksonville, a cultural institute of the University of North Florida, is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibition by one of the most notable American Realist painters working today. Bo Bartlett: Earthly Matters presents a selection of Bartlett’s recent works accompanied by the artist’s preparatory studies. The exhibition opens to the public Saturday, May 27, 2023 and is on view through October 15, 2023. An Opening Celebration & Preview event will take place on Friday, May 26 and includes a free public viewing from 8-9 p.m. A rich schedule of programming will accompany this exhibition, including an Ideas of Our Time Lecture on July 5, MOCA Movie Night on August 16, and a free access Family Day on September 2.
Bo Bartlett (American, b. 1955) is known for his large-scale narrative paintings that embrace his Southern upbringing and gothic sensibility through deeply personal subject matter. His luminous figurative works offer just enough context to be relatable, while leaving the viewer with a sense of mystery and the opportunity to fill in the blanks of the story based on their personal experiences. He sets his figures in stark outdoor settings, at once familiar and indefinable. You immediately recognize the setting but need a few more details to accurately place the specific location. It is much the same with his figures—idealized forms in familiar settings, engaged in activities that leave the viewer wondering. The sense of mystery and slight unease is heightened by a direct stare, a figure just slightly out of place, or a detail that makes you ask yourself what precisely what is going on. His celebration of the everyday and commonplace is presented with an uncanny, dreamlike tone that produces psychological tension, a sense of unease, and an opportunity for introspection.
“I believe in the power of art to transform lives,” state Bartlett. “It is more than an aesthetic or cultural experience. Art is at the very core of what it means to be alive, to be human on this planet.”
As a classically trained painter with a deep knowledge of western Art History, Bartlett’s work follows the tradition of American Realists such as Thomas Eakins, Edward Hopper, and Andrew Wyeth, drawing inspiration for his subject matter from the world around him. The work is intimate in feeling, yet presented in the epic form of classical history painting. His larger-than-life scenes break down the barriers between the subjects on canvas and the viewers, who are invited to contemplate their role in the narrative.
Bartlett’s appreciation for ordinary moments imbues his work with an underlying luminosity and frankness, offset against a very modern sense of the uncanny; an unease conveyed by the low horizon line, the hazy palette of the sky, or by the unexpected elements often incorporated into the picture plane. This blending of the classical and the contemporary is further underlined by the cinematic feel of many of the paintings, that undoubtedly owes to his background in filmmaking.
Bo Bartlett: Earthly Matters was organized by the Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC. Curator for MOCA Jacksonville, Ylva Rouse. Support for this exhibition was made in part by the City of Jacksonville, the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the University of North Florida.
Artist Bo Bartlett will be in Jacksonville and available for in-person interviews May 25-27. He is available for interview by phone leading up to and during the run of the exhibition.
Press release, images, and cutlines are available at the link below for use by the media. For questions or to schedule interviews with the artist or members of MOCA’s team, please contact Amber Sesnick at email@example.com or call 904.620.3224.
Bo Bartlett: Earthly Matters
Opening Celebration & Preview
Friday, May 26, 8 to 9 p.m.
Join MOCA Jacksonville and artist Bo Bartlett to celebrate the opening of our newest featured exhibition on Fri, May 26 at 8 p.m.! Enjoy an evening of community, music, and a paid bar, along with the opportunity to meet the artist.
Bo Bartlett (American, b. 1955) is acclaimed for his large-scale paintings that explore American life and cultural heritage. As a classically trained painter with a deep knowledge of western Art History, Bartlett’s work follows the tradition of American Realists such as Thomas Eakins, Edward Hopper, and Andrew Wyeth, drawing inspiration for his subject matter from the world around him. The work is intimate in feeling, yet presented in the epic form of classical history painting. His larger-than-life scenes break down the barriers between the subjects on canvas and the viewers, who are invited to contemplate their role in the narrative.
Ideas of Our Time Lecture
Bo Bartlett: American Realist with Elizabeth Heuer
Wednesday, July 5, 7 p.m.
Free with Admission
Ideas of Our Time is a lecture series providing a forum for creative dialogue with artists, educators, and others around some of the most important art and ideas of our time.?
This month's lecture will be led by UNF art history professor Elizabeth Heuer, who will present a lecture on the work of exhibition artist, Bo Bartlett, his influences, and his place in the American Realist Tradition. B?o Barlett: Earthly Matters is on view at MOCA Jacksonville May 26 - September 10, 2023.
This is a hybrid event. In-person is free with museum admission and virtual attendance is free. After registering you will be provided a link to join virtually. In-person seats are limited, and registration is required. Register Online
MOCA Movie Night
Snow Hill: The Art and Life of Andrew Wyeth (1995)
Wednesday, August 16, 6:30 p.m.
Free with Admission
Join MOCA Jacksonville during Third Wednesday Museum Nights for an evening of inspiring film as we present monthly screenings connected to the themes and ideas of our exhibitions and current events.?Setlan Coffee Co. and the MOCA Bar will be available for concessions before and during the movie.
Snow Hill is the authorized documentary biography of Andrew Wyeth, one of America's greatest painters. Produced by Betsy Wyeth and directed by artist Bo Bartlett, Snow Hill sensitively explores the magical landscape around Wyeth's home in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Featuring the subjects who inspired his art, most notably famed model and muse Helga Testorf, Snow Hill is a timeless testament to the power of love and art. Seen through a painter's eyes this historic and personal film is moving meditation and unforgettable journey inside Andrew Wyeth's very private world. The movie is free with museum admission. Register Online
MOCA Fall Family Day
Presented by PNC
Saturday, September 2, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Celebrate with MOCA Jacksonville and our community partners for a day of free family fun! Enjoy access to all exhibitions, a line-up of kid-friendly activities, art making, and live performances. Plus, membership discounts and specials from Setlan Coffee Shop at MOCA. Presented by PNC.
Founded in 1924, the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville was the first art museum in Jacksonville, one of the first art museums in the state, and the second contemporary art museum to be founded in the United States, behind only the Phillip Collection in Washington, DC. The museum was founded as the Jacksonville Fine Arts Society by a group of visionary, pioneering women who came together to imagine the kind of city they wanted Jacksonville to be — the kind of community they wanted to live in and be a part of. At the core of their vision for a rich, vital, dynamic city were art, culture, and education. Thus, what we now call MOCA Jacksonville was born — first as a series of exhibitions by artists of the day, used as a fundraising tool to support public school education; then as a guild; and later as an art museum and educational leader. Nearly a century later, and now a cultural institute of the University of North Florida, MOCA’s mission remains focused on the art, artists, and ideas of our time, with a vision that unites education, creativity, and community building in the heart of downtown Jacksonville. MOCA is committed to recognizing the legacy of the visionary leaders and important milestones that have brought it to this point; continuing their leadership by presenting extraordinary exhibitions and programs that not only elevate MOCA but provide a stimulus and create an energized destination for our Downtown to build upon; and imagine the future that we want for this great city, nourishing our community through art and culture for the next 100 years.
For more information including hours of operation, admission prices and upcoming exhibitions and programs, call 904.366.6911 or visit mocajacksonville.unf.edu.