MOCA Jacksonville

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Contemporary art takes on different meanings depending on the artists defining it. But nothing could feel more current than the innovative works in Smoke and Mirrors: Sculpture and the Imaginary. Many of the objects employ technology such as a computers, electronics, and LED lights—media appropriate for this digital age. But the artists’ use of these tools does not overpower their aesthetic sensibilities or underlying messages.

MOCA Jacksonville is the first institution to exhibit Daniel Rozin’s Penguin Mirrors, an installation of 450 motorized stuffed animals scattered on the floor. As viewers approach the animals, the penguins respond and mirror their observers’ movements, either facing or turning away from their audience. The installation’s playful interactivity almost hides the complex geometry and computer robotics that drive it.

At first glance, Ken Matsubara’s Round Chair series appears to be simple glasses of water sitting atop stools. But the objects take on new dimension when viewers peer into the bottom of the glasses to find curious films whose technology defies explanation.

Even works that mimic nature, such as James Clar’s computer-projected Rain Under Lamppost and Patrick Jacobs’ fairytale portholes, are constructed with modern, man-made materials. MOCA Jacksonville invited Kathleen Vance to evolve her series Rogue Stream by creating a site-responsive installation based on the St. Johns River. After studying the river’s course, Vance recreates it in miniature—echoing every bend as water charts through the city and in the replica. Created to celebrate Cultural Fusion’s Year of the River, Vance constructs a living sculpture that poses questions about our relationship to nature.