by Max Marbut
The new exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art combines two-dimensional art, three-dimensional art and even video, all based on a Nordic folklore creation myth with images of wolves, gods and cosmology.
“It’s a little wild and woolly. Parts are macabre. It’s also technically fabulous,” said Debra Murphy, chair of the department of art and design at the University of North Florida.
Three visiting artists, Dennis McNett, John Hancock and John Hitchcock, are featured in the exhibit and are working with UNF students of printmaking and sculpture.
The artists are supported in part by the Barbara Ritzman Devereux Workshop Grant, which each year brings artists and their work for an exhibit at the museum and interaction with art students at UNF.
Murphy said the department serves close to 400 students majoring in art at UNF and more than 1,000 for whom art is a minor subject or an elective.
She said having the museum as a cultural resource of UNF adds another element to the university’s art education program.
“It has expanded what we can do,” said Murphy.
Several classes are taught at the museum, and the faculty and students have the opportunity to exhibit their work and study the business and curatorial sides of operating an art museum.
The exhibit is also the basis for a performance art piece at MOCA March 3. Murphy said UNF visual artists have partnered with the music department for the presentation that will also feature pyrotechnic artists.
A dress rehearsal is scheduled for March 2 in Hemming Plaza during First Wednesday Art Walk.
The work in the exhibit is influenced by ancient Nordic mythology with a healthy dose of skateboarding and punk rock.
“Wind Weaver and the Whirling Wheel: A Tale of Wolfbat Romance” will be in the second-floor gallery at MOCA through March 20.
“It clearly resonates with young people. Not everybody likes ‘Wolfbat,’ but that’s healthy,” said Murphy.
“No one says you have to like it, but it’s important to take the time to try to understand what the artist is saying,” she said.
For museum hours and ticket and membership information, visit www.mocajacksonville.org or call 366-6911.