Rowland Ricketts Site Specific Fiber Artwork Opens September 14
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — MOCA Jacksonville is pleased to announce its newest installation Project Atrium: Rowland Ricketts, BOW. This commissioned installation features contemporary fiber artist Rowland Ricketts, who creates immersive site-specific installations using handwoven and hand-dyed cloth. His approach follows the long history of art’s engagement with the natural world through an unconventional and highly personal perspective, emphasizing the relationship between nature, culture, the passage of time, and everyday life.
Visitors to MOCA Jacksonville can view the artist at work in the lobby August 11-14, during regular business hours. The community is also invited to celebrate the installation during the Opening Celebration & Preview Event on Thursday, September 14, 2023 from 7-8 p.m.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Rowland Ricketts (b. 1971) is a contemporary fiber artist who creates immersive site-specific installations using handwoven and hand-dyed cloth and yarn. Trained in indigo farming and dyeing in Japan, for more than two decades Ricketts has used indigo as his primary medium and subject matter, allowing him to combine his interest in plants, art and design. His holistic practice begins on the six acres farm, where Ricketts cultivates the indigo plants used to color his art. The intricate process from planting, harvesting and dyeing, transferring the blue from plant to cloth or yarn, represents a connection to a tradition and philosophy of nature that imbues the artist’s work.
The title of Ricketts’ installation for MOCA, BOW, refers to the bow of a ship, but also alludes to the motion of a reverential bow. With BOW, Ricketts continues to explore the relationship between our visual sensations, and how we navigate and experience space. His practice follows art’s long history of engagement with the natural world through an unconventional and highly personal perspective, emphasizing the relationship between nature, culture, the passage of time, and everyday life.
BOW is generously sponsored by JEA. Project Atrium is made possible in part by Driver, McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow, PLLC. Support for MOCA Jacksonville is made in part by the City of Jacksonville, the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, the Donald and Maria Cox Fund, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, the Haskell Endowment, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the University of North Florida.
“The smell of an indigo vat just as it begins fermenting and springs to life is one of ripeness; a moment of rich potentiality when, as a maker, I momentarily stand between the history of the materials and processes that helped me get the indigo thus far and the promise of all the works that the vat is still yet to realize.
I grow and process my own indigo (Polygonum tinctorium) using Japanese methods that are centuries old. The leaves are harvested, dried, and composted by hand to make the traditional Japanese indigo dyestuff called sukumo. The sukumo is in turn fermented in wood-ash lye to create a natural indigo vat.
My decision to work this way is one that consciously favors slower, natural processes and materials over more immediate, synthetic options. Today, with petroleum-derived indigo readily and cheaply available, my choice to plant, transplant, weed, harvest, winnow, dry, and compost the indigo by hand is not one of necessity. Instead it is a conscious act of recognition that all the energy extended in the farming and processing of the indigo plants is just as much a part of the final dyestuff as the indigo molecules themselves.
In addition, my own experiences with indigo – first as an apprentice in Japan followed by years of working with and learning from this dye – have made me aware of a connection that leads not just from my teachers to me, but one that reaches back to my teacher’s teachers and the people they learned from, back into a past in which the processes I use were developed through the accumulated experiences of all who have ever worked with this unique dye.
I find great value in this connection indigo provides to a greater human tradition. Of equal value to me is the time and energy I invest in the farming, processing, and fermenting of this dye. As a dyer I strive to transfigure all the energy of human endeavor expended on this dye so that its vitality lends its life to and lives on in the dyed cloth.”
Opening Celebration & Preview Event
Thursday, September 14, 2023
Public Hour 7-8 p.m.
See the newest immersive installation come to life in MOCA Jacksonville’s Atrium Gallery! Meet the artist and enjoy an evening of art and community featuring drinks from the MOCA Bar and live music. MOCA Members and Patrons receive early access to the event, and the public is welcome at 7 p.m. Learn more at mocajacksonville.unf.edu
Brunch & Learn
Project Atrium: Rowland Ricketts
Saturday, December 2, 2023, 11:30 a.m.
Members $20 | Non-Members $35
Winter Camp @ MOCA
December 26-29, 2023
January 2-5, 2024
Half Day $40 | Full Day $80 | Extended Day $10
Daily art camp for to K-5th grade students
MOCA Jacksonville offers seasonal art camps that provide kids with the chance to dive into the art, artists, and ideas of our time. Children make new friends and learn art techniques in a variety of media through hands-on learning in a fun and engaging environment. Time is spent exploring exhibitions in the galleries and creating in the studios. With the guidance of skilled museum educators, learners are empowered to problem solve through critical thinking, observation, and creative self-expression. Learn more at mocajacksonville.unf.edu/camp.
Museum Nights @ MOCA
1st & 3rd Wednesdays | 5-9 p.m.
Spend your evenings at MOCA with extended hours and enjoy art, happy hour, and special programs, such as MOCA Movie Night and Made @ MOCA. Setlan Coffee Co. and SoulFULL Eats will be serving up bites and beverages, and the MOCA Bar offers $1 off beer and wine. Learn more at mocajacksonville.unf.edu/visit
Project Atrium, MOCA Jacksonville’s bold installation series, features site-specific and site-sensitive installations by emerging and mid-career artists. The unique placement, dimensions, and scale of the Atrium Gallery provide a compelling challenge to artists—a call to reinvention and active collaboration with the architecture of the Museum on a monumental scale.
One of the most commanding spaces in MOCA Jacksonville’s historic 1931 Western Union Telegraph building is its dramatic Atrium Gallery. The space is forty feet high, thirty feet wide, and located on the ground floor, three steps up from the Museum’s lobby.
Its impressive scale is further heightened by the visibility of this space. At ground level, it can be seen from the Museum’s lobby, as well as the street and the adjacent James Weldon Johnson Park. Moreover, the open stairwells and the two floors of galleries above the ground floor all look over the Atrium, providing multiple vantage points to this space and ensuring visitors’ sustained engagement with it as they move through the Museum. In short, the Atrium Gallery serves as a physical and visual anchor for the entire building.
Imagination Squared, a community-based project that presented close to a thousand 5” canvas squares created by local residents – from professional artists to young children – in the Atrium space, opened the way and in July of 2011, MOCA Jacksonville launched the Project Atrium Series. Each Project Atrium allows for free public engagement for all visitors to the Museum, as well as serving as an inspiring jumping off point for educators as they lead school tours and private tours.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2024, as the oldest art museum in the region and the second contemporary art museum to be established in the United States. This celebration year is an opportunity for MOCA to give back to the community that has been its home for a century by presenting groundbreaking exhibitions and programs that will engage the community and elevate Jacksonville as a regional destination for arts and culture.
One hundred years ago, a group of visionary, pioneering women 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.
A century later, 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. Throughout 2024, MOCA will celebrate its centennial year — looking to the past to recognize the legacy of the visionary leaders and important milestones that have brought us to this point; marking this moment with extraordinary exhibitions and programs that will 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 our 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.