- Category: Interviews
- Published on Friday, 29 October 2010 11:19
- Written by Jamie Cabral
- Hits: 969
18 Rabbit Gallery, located in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, FL, is an exhibition space dedicated to showing contemporary art, as well as hosting theatrical, musical, and literary events. The gallery was founded by Leah Brown and co-director Peter Symons, both practicing artists. They frequently display their own personal work at the gallery, alongside other talented artists.
- Works by Peter Symons
1. Why the name 18 Rabbit Gallery?
18 Rabbit was the name of an ancient Mayan king who is known for bringing art and culture to his people.
2. What exhibitions are you currently displaying?
Currently on view is a group exhibition titled “Altered States” which is about mind/body relationships. It features the works by Pepe Mar, AdrienneRose Gionta, Joni Younkins-Herzog, Donna Haynes, Michael Russo, Douglas Hoekzema, and gallery directors, Leah Brown and Peter Symons. Beginning in 2011, the gallery will have an annexed project space of 10,000 open square feet. This will be in addition to the main gallery, and accessible through it. In this space, we will be exhibiting large-scale sculptures, installations and video, as well as opening it up to ideas from independent curators with big ideas.
3. What standards do you follow when it comes to deciding which artists to display at the gallery?
The work has to have a very solid and sincere conceptual basis, and be visually interesting. We like work that pushes people’s boundaries, but pulls them in with the details. We are not as interested in an artist’s “pedigree” as in the very real quality of their work and vision. Many of the artists we show are people whose work we’ve seen develop over time, but some have simply found us and were a perfect fit for future shows that we were planning.
- Leah Brown and Peter Symons
4. What are some of your favorite artists that have displayed their work at the gallery?
I (Leah B.) particularly like the work of Jonathan Brilliant, and yes, that is his real name. But he lives up to it. He creates large-scale installations from woven wooden coffee stir-sticks, the kind you would get at Starbucks. These are monumental in size, and take on a unique sense of weight and volume. None of the sticks are glued. It’s nest-like and geometric, inspired by basket-weavers from his native South Carolina.
Another artist whose work I feel is very strong is Jinkyung Chong. Originally from South Korea, she completed her MFA from Pratt, where we met her in 2008. She is a performance-based artist, painter and sculptor. For 18 Rabbit’s first exhibition, she did a performance at the opening reception where she filled a large, unfired clay pot with water until it dissolved and broke, flooding the space.
Peter and I routinely exhibit our own work in addition to the artists we represent.
5. What sets 18 Rabbit Gallery apart from other galleries, particularly those in Ft. Lauderdale and nearby cities?
When I first moved to Ft Lauderdale in 2008, I was very surprised at the lack of contemporary art, especially with the proximity to Miami. Miami has Art Basel, the Wynwood Arts District, and many contemporary art museums and collections. Ft. Lauderdale has a lot of interest, but the art scene is very fractured. 18 Rabbit brings in nationally recognized emerging and established artists as well as South Florida based artists, but more than that, we are working to create a community of artists and flaneurs.
Wolfie - These Woods, This Sky Exhibit - Leah Brown; hydrocal, fiberglass, and acrylic paint with glass eyes
6. What should an artist do if they are interested in displaying their work at the gallery?
7. A recent exhibit at the gallery titled "These Woods, Leah Brown. This Sky, Peter Symons", is actually what brought my attention to the gallery. I found the sculptures to be like something out of a magical childhood dream. The whole exhibit was like something I have never seen before and honestly I am fascinated by it. What influenced both you and Peter to create these pieces?
A “magical childhood dream” is really pretty on-target. When was little, maybe five or six, I remember taking a walk through the woods with my father as we did every day in my native North Carolina. At the top of the mountain, I rested on a tree stump while Dad went off in the brush to answer nature's call. From the steep hill in front of me came a buck and a doe, and the way I remember it, they told me a story. My parents told me I was dreaming, that I was always confusing dreams with reality, but the way I remember it is as a life-changing moment. It wasn’t until many years later that I began to try to remember the story the deer told me. I dream about recurring landscapes and characters. One of those landscapes is the woods of my childhood. I feel like my dreams are field research for discovering this story, and I have been piecing it together over the last 10 years. I have a pretty good sense of the narrative right now, and it’s long! Spanning four generations. Of course, dreams and memories of memories are reliable sources for fact, but I think they get me closer to certain truths that I share with many people, particularly artists, in my generation.
The sculptures from this exhibit were primarily mine, whereas the 2-d pieces (the This Sky) part of the show were Peter’s. He is fascinated with the asteroid, Eros, which is the thing closest to hitting the earth that would have caused destruction on the scale of the dinosaurs being eradicated since our observance of the universe began. Using digital technologies such as laser cutters and CNC routers, he creates scenes in which there is one lonely object in vast space, or two lonely objects that tempt a fate of collision.
She Kept Her Head and Now She Had This - These Woods, This Sky Exhibit - Leah Brown;
aquaresin, fiberglass, and oil paint with synthetic hair on a wooden base
8. Can you give us any hints as to upcoming exhibitions that will be featured soon?
18 Rabbit Gallery is in a transitional phase right now, as we have just moved and are moving again in a month. It’s all within the same FAT Village arts district neighborhood, and each new space colors the shows that we put on. At the end of October we will be participating in a big Day of the Dead celebration. The next exhibit will be of art and sound: combining John Cage-like performance with art inspired by music, sound-art, and art that makes sound. After that will be a collection of video art and installation.
For more information on 18 Rabbit Gallery or artists interested in displaying their work with the gallery, please visit www.18rabbitgallery.com