Over the course of the run of Reflections: Artful Perspectives on the St. Johns River, we will be highlighting the participating artists on our blog. Meet Barry Wilson, a printmaker and teacher at Douglas Anderson. Barry’s prints are truthful and thought provoking so we hope you make a trip to the Museum to take a closer look at his contribution to the show. Read below for an in depth look at Barry’s process and connection to the St. Johns River and this exhibition.
Cummer Museum: Please tell us a little about yourself.
Barry Wilson: I am an artist/printmaker who enjoys making graphic visual images and being lost and focused in a process. I teach printmaking at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.
CM: What is your connection to the St. Johns River?
BW: My first interaction with the river after moving to Jacksonville was as a point of reference. I knew I was lost when I crossed the river three times while trying to get from point A to point B.
I know see the river everyday subjectively as a backdrop but I don’t always look at the river. When I really look at the river it is mesmerizing and overwhelming to think about how long it has been in existence and how long it might continue to run.
CM: Why was it important to you to participate in this exhibition?
BW: I have enjoyed the challenge of reacting to another artist’s work. Also being part of a group of artists who are reinterpreting masterworks from the Museum’s collection creates a unity of our shared human experiences around a theme that I think many people can relate to.
CM: Can you tell us a little about your process in developing the work for this show?
BW: When I look at the Theodor de Bry prints I see words and pictures that describe a specific place. The “place” is where we live. It is interesting to compare the description from 400 some years ago with what we see and experience today. On the surface it is easy to see the differences, the prints have an old or dated look. Yet they serve as a mirror back to inspirations that are still here. One of those big inspirations, a most defining physical characteristic of the place we live is the river. The river is a major element that makes the place where we live unique. I suspect the physical environment has more of an effect on our personalities and moods than we may realize.
CM: What are you hoping people take from your piece?
BW: I tried to describe unique sensations around our specific environment that evoke the ‘what makes you know you are home’ feelings, the ‘what makes this place different from any other place on earth’ pictures. I tried to choose honesty over cleverness when describing the things everyone can sense about the river.