Yesterday, the staff of The Cummer, went on a field trip to the CoRK studios to visit with Dolf James, and Jim Draper. We spent the first few minutes with Dolf, who explained the creation of the CoRK collaborative space, the people who were instrumental in its creation, and their vision for the future. CoRK is a warehouse space that is over 80,000 square feet and growing, dedicated to artist studios and gallery space. This project was conceived by developerMac Easton and artist Dolf James, and is located at the Corner of Roselle & King streets.
We spent the majority of our time with Jim Draper, a local artist who will exhibit at the Museum beginning in December. As we approached the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Spanish landing in Florida, and the State of Florida’s Viva Florida campaign, the Museum found it necessary to come up with a completely ‘Cummer’ interpretation to commemorate the event. This idea came to us in the form of a middle of the night email from Mr. Jim Draper, and is culminating in our spring exhibition Feast of Flowers. This exhibit includes not only Draper’s artwork, but also aspects from scientists, botanists, social historians, musicians, literature, and much more. It will include a digital publications with more than 19 contributors.
You have this idea and this thing, and you start playing with it and tweaking it, and then it is out there. And then you wake up one day and you are in it, you are part of it. -Jim Draper
The inspiration for this show began with a flower, the hibiscus grandiflorus. When in the marsh, Jim encountered the hibiscus plant, and noticed that the large leaves were ridden with holes. His first reaction was disappointment, but then he noticed the butterflies nearby. It occurred to him that without the holes, you would not have the butterflies, as the original catapillars need the nourishment in order to transform into this beautiful new thing, called a butterfly.
The concept for the triptych layout of the paintings came from Draper’s art historical passion for Gothic art, and a somewhat narrative persuasion. While most of the pieces are meant to be interchangeable in this case, they also tell a broader story, both within the context of each piece, as a trio, and in a broader, all-encompassing sense.
The planning and work for this show has been going on for more than a year and a half. This has involved many meetings, long hours spent in the studio, many trips to various natural sites throughout the state, and a lot of concentration, reworking, organizing, and re-organizing. However, despite all of this work, in a grand gesture that is far out of the natural tendency of an artist, aside from a few minor specifications, Draper is giving complete control of the exhibit presentation to our Curatorial staff here at the Museum.
I think that artists really need to be more aware of their place in the community, and their place within institutions. -Jim Draper