ACE Tours is indeed fortunate to show the work of some of Northeast Florida’s most accomplished and acclaimed local visual artists with the “ON THE FENCE” Open Air Pop-Up Gallery Experience. In addition to their individual successes in art and business, this group of talented creatives represents thousands of hours of education, studio time and gallery contact. Add to that hundreds of awards, grants, commissions, and other various accolades, and that makes for a formidable tableaux. Our thanks goes out to each one of them for sharing their vision and message with ACE Tours’ inaugural series of exhibitions.
As one of Northeast Florida’s most noted artists, Jeff’s work “engages viewers in imaginative contemplations about the weirdness and beauty of our brief appearance in the infinity of time.” Accomplished as a painter, illustrator, muralist, sculptor and playwright for over three decades, Jeff leverages the multidisciplinary nature of his practice to create pieces that combine both rapturous internal monologues and master level technical acuity.
With more than 80 solo exhibitions in galleries, colleges and museums, his legacy certainly qualifies as prolific. Yet his work has also been featured in dozens of group exhibitions across America and has received 51 top awards in competitions.
Jeff’s most recent project is a series of animal-themed statues that were installed in Historic Roser Park in St. Petersburg, a public art commission he won through a national competition. The sculptures are officially part of the Collection of the City of St. Petersburg Public Art Program.
While his artwork is in dozens of corporate, municipal, college and museum collections, Jeff also shares his vast knowledge as a teacher. He has taught at several colleges, including Arizona State University, Florida State University, and Northern Illinois University, and he currently teaches at UNF.
“Art is not a thing. It is a way,” according to American writer, artist, and philosopher Elbert Hubbard. International artist and arts educator Erin Kendrick truly lives that artistic aesthetic every day.
Whether in her studio creating her color-rich, acrylic ink-stained works of art, conceptualizing transformative installations, or empowering the hearts, minds and hands of her students, Erin tirelessly works to expand the influence of art in our community.
Erin firmly believes that art can change lives, and shares impassioned visual messages that “examine contemporary spectatorship and the power of language as it relates to perceptions of and about black women, through the lens of the oppositional gaze,” she says. “The subjects in the portraits stare back at the viewer and at one another, challenging inherited perceptions, historical prejudice and contemporary assumptions. The subject becomes the spectator, as opposed to the spectacle, through the transformative power of looking/seeing.”
Her BFA in Studio Art from FSU and MFA in Drawing & Painting from Georgia State University fuel her artistic practice, and her years of entrepreneurial experience as an event designer fuel and contextualize her success. Erin’s work has graced museums, galleries and alternative spaces throughout the United States and abroad, and she’s currently the Director of Education and Lead Visual Art Instructor at Jacksonville Arts & Music School.
Generally speaking, Tony Rodrigues’ work speaks for him. Which is to say that, while he is literate, engaging, involved, informed and passionate, he doesn’t spend a lot of time blowing his own horn.
That’s why you might not know that, as a cornerstone of the Northeast Florida arts community for going on three decades, Tony has contributed his time, education and experience to hundreds or projects, initiatives, exhibitions and programs, and his work can be seen in collections from Jacksonville to New York to England, China, France, Argentina, and even in the Collection of Bishop Desmond Tutu.
Blending aspects of pop art and cultural iconography, Tony’s work implores viewers to contemplate their place within a society in collapse. Employing a process that is literally as richly layered as his work’s subtext, his lush and evocative canvases conjure the bouncing soundtrack for the party celebrating the fall of an empire’s excess.
Tony got his BFA in painting, printmaking and photography from the Atlanta College of Art, is the founder and creative director of Tact Designs, LLC, and was an NEA award winner in 2017 and 2018. He teaches drawing at UNF, Painting at JU, and is a Teaching Artist at Cathedral Arts Project. Perhaps most poignantly, Tony has been a Visual Art instructor for juvenile inmates at the John E. Goode Pre-Trial Detention Facility for over 20 years.
It’s hard to imagine any artist with a closer relationship to their work than Liz Gibson. A self-identified “Deformance Artist,” Liz expresses her personal experience of living with a birth defect through her painting, sculpture, collage, video, installation, performance, singing and storytelling.
“Birth defects occur in all groups of people, and the adversity of the disabled can truly touch us all,” she says, adding, “especially when the adversity is overcome. The deformed then become the empowered.” Liz’s art has been presented and exhibited in galleries, colleges and museums locally and regionally, including performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, the Jepson Center at the Telfair Museum in Savannah, and the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota.
Liz received her MFA in Performance Art from Florida State University in 2011. In addition to her art practice, she’s also a lecturer and teacher, sharing multimedia presentations and talks about the themes and symbols in her art. She helps disabled children learn to express themselves through VSA Florida, and she teaches studio art at the University of North Florida.
Describing himself as “a Jack of all trades; I know a little about a lot,” Patrick ironically shares a tangible subtext evident in the body of his art. Although his primary medium of focus is printmaking, the work he’s sharing in “On the Fence” is delicate, collage-based constructions that bring together disenfranchised pieces of objects and material sources to create vivid and intricate mindscapes.
In his role as professor at FSCJ, he shares the insights gained from a career that has seen him gather experience and insight in Chicago, Ohio, Wisconsin and other points across the country. Whether in the studio or the classroom, whether fabricating a sculptural expression or combining printmaking and painting with found objects, his teacher’s calling to pass along knowledge and context fuels his visual message for both students and viewers.
Patrick’s art practice in not one that’s only influenced by scholarly and academic pursuits. His love of nature led him to an early incarnation as a landscape designer before his career as an educator, and the natural world continues to inspire his art, his teaching, and his daily life.
MADELEINE PECK WAGNER
Equally at home in the studio or in the writer’s chair, Madeleine Peck-Wagner brings power to her work with a well-earned, studied intelligence tempered by a sense of social integrity and compassion. She’s also one of the funniest and most compassionate people you’re likely to meet.
Engaging in a drawing practice that edges towards sculpture, Madeleine’s works attempt to reconcile fixed notions of beauty with that which is imperfect and flawed. Delicate and precise, her work addresses issues of consumerism, imperfection, and capitalism.
Madeleine received her BFA from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and her MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and has exhibited her work in Miami, Anchorage, Savannah, Los Angeles, and Greenville. She is the former A&E Editor for Folio Weekly, is currently an adjunct professor at Jacksonville University, and maintains a critical writing practice.
Having served her local community as guest curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Jacksonville, as a guest lecturer at the Woman’s Center of Jacksonville, and as an artist in residence at UF Health, a trauma one hospital in the urban center of Jacksonville, Madeleine demonstrates with her actions the ideals she expresses most poignantly in her work.
Connecting with the viewer is extremely important to painter, muralist and activist Christopher Clark, which you might naturally expect from an artist who closely identifies as a storyteller. What you might not expect, though, is just how vibrantly and expressively his work says what it has to say.
High contrast, bright colors and a designer’s sense of visual impact energizes a gravity that draws you in. Christopher’s stylized figurative work combines personal life experiences with deliberate brushwork, and often incorporates words and iconography to weave poignant tales of 21st century life informed by the historical and societal Black experience.
“My aim is to explore social issues, culture, and the history of the Black community in the diaspora and abroad,” says Christopher. “By telling my story, I want to help the viewer rediscover theirs.”
His work has been displayed in solo and group exhibitions locally, regionally and nationally. Equally adept in the studio or creating a building-sized mural, Christopher believes in giving back to his community, as evidenced by his recent participation in the mural project at Pinedale Elementary School.
Water is never far from artist Alma Ramirez’s mind…or her eye, for that matter, as she considers the play of color and light on natural bodies of water to be the spark for her current work.
Born in Mexico, Alma is a 2008 BFA graduate of the country’s respected Instituto de Bellas Artes in Chihuahua. Living and working in St. Augustine since 2014 has ensured that she’s never far from the ocean, rivers, lakes, streams, marshes and wetlands that inform her paintings. The multiple layers and pixelated color fields that form the foundation of her visual style convey her belief that things once broken can be transformed into something new in a harmony of colors, composition, and light.
Though her figurative work most frequently explores botanical, nautical and landscape motifs, her work displayed with ACE Tours’ “On the Fence” showcases her emerging strength in exploring expressionist approaches without compromising her signature process.
Effectively challenging people with humor is a rare and daunting talent, but that’s just what Aysha Miskin does. Her paintings, drawings, murals, zines, and embroidery give personality and voice to ideas that don’t fall within social norms. Her goal? That her viewers assimilate those ideas into their own thinking.
Bright colors, fanciful characters, and a candid-but-friendly use of words make Aysha’s work accessible enough to put viewers at ease, allowing the possibility for her to change perspectives by providing an alternate point of view on the typical state of our world.
Her exploration of intricate line work, with a concentration on unique imagery and characters, along with intriguing detail, creates a familiar and whimsical experience for the viewer. Finding inspiration in imperfection and unconventional beauty, it’s people who are struggling to find their place that inspire her the most.
“Translating my own observations in color-soaked images filled with authentic moments, feminine characters, and humor, it’s my hope to remind humanity to stop asking, ‘why?’ and instead ask, ‘why not?’”
Creativity has not followed a singular, linear path through the story of Joseph Shuck. Although his current, inspired work is the profit of five years’ exclusive concentration on watercolor painting, it comes after a decade of musical success touring the country playing original music with eclectic folk band Antique Animals and as a solo performer.
As a self-taught artist and musician, Joseph believes, “Art has the power heal the creator and, in the best circumstances, can have a deep impact on the viewer.” His visual communication, much like his musical work, is imbued with that focus on personal connection and a folky, almost gothic, sensibility that suggests the bond between cultural mythology and earthy awareness.
His intentions, however, are more than just to portray some down-home wisdom and rustic diversion. “I hope to confront and question hierarchical structures of power and their historical roots through a process of figurative allegory,” Joseph asserts.
This project is made possible in part by funding from The JAX Arts Project, sponsored by the PNC Foundation in partnership with the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. Special Thanks to the City of Jacksonville Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services.