SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 - NOVEMBER 2, 2014

overview of the juxtaposition exhibit
Image courtesy of Doug Eng.
sculptures part of the juxtaposition exhibition
Image courtesy of Doug Eng.
additional pieces from the juxtaposition exhibit including sculptures and paintings
Image courtesy of Doug Eng.
closer view of the juxtaposition pieces
Image courtesy of Doug Eng.
close up of one of the bird sculptures in juxtaposition
Image courtesy of Doug Eng.
long view of the juxtaposition art
Image courtesy of Doug Eng.

Definitions of Juxtaposition, the title of this exhibition by husband-and-wife-team Larry Wilson and Laurie Hitzig, include “an act or instance of placing close together or side by side.” It is an evocative title from the couple who share close studio quarters at the CoRK Arts District, creating deeply personal works informed by life experiences that reflect the many aspects of our common humanity.

Individually, each artist has an impressive career and long exhibition history. Both artists have degrees in design. Wilson earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida College of Architecture. Hitzig studied at Florida State University's campus in Florence, Italy, the Kansas City Art Institute, and the University of Missouri, and she earned a BFA from UF. Both continued their post-baccalaureate studies at the University of North Florida with Distinguished Professor Louise Freshman Brown.

Hitzig is currently exploring several bodies of work in mixed media on paper as well as clay sculptures. Birds figure prominently in her subject matter. Crows or ravens appear as sagacious patriarchs and wise, brilliant messengers. Another series features a group of hand-knitted wire dress forms that may call to mind fine chainmail. The delicacy of the light mesh web evokes feminine stereotypes since knitting is usually associated with women's work, but subtle reminders of strength and resiliency also appear.

While Hitzig's mixed-media creations resonate with considerations of spirituality, femininity, and feminism, Wilson's powerful sculptures explore the strengths and vulnerabilities of the masculine. His artistic productions over the years often have been site-specific installations, but he returned recently to the figure, rediscovering clay as he revels in the nuances and representative possibilities of the medium.

His male figures often allude to tribes, warriors, or magic men. Wilson observes that we all have to be warriors at times. Sometimes we must be bold and courageous even to meet the pressures and demands of modern life. Magic Men are enlivened by found objects such as metal scraps, nails, bits of screen, and other detritus found on the grounds around CoRK. Wilson intends these figures to be confirming, for “all of us have magic moments.” Other figures explore themes of compassion, responsibility, and succor.

When Hitzig and Wilson embarked upon creating the works for the UNF Gallery at MOCA exhibition, they didn't plan for their themes to reflect the feminine and masculine in overt ways. Yet, the pair often work symbiotically. Despite the differences in their materials and subject matter, their works are characterized by an intense sensitivity to universal themes of identity and love and the existential questions of life and death. Their search for meaning in masterfully realized drawings and sculptures provide a profound Juxtaposition, indeed.