Michi Meko's Kazuko Exhibit Is At Cress Gallery

Sunday, February 4, 2018
?Michi Meko
?Michi Meko

The Cress Gallery of Art at UTC will present Michi Meko as the Spring 2018 Diane Marek Visiting Artist in conjunction with his exhibition “Kazuko”. 

The exhibition dates are Feb. 6-March 22.  Diane Marek Series Visiting Artist Series activities will be held Monday-Thursday with an artists’ lecture on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Benwood Auditorium, Room 230, EMCS Building, corner of Vine and Palmetto Streets, followed by an 
Opening Reception directly across Vine Street at the Cress.  The exhibit is open to the public and admission is free. 

Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, from 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. 

Review for Michi Meko: 

Michi Meko’s multidisciplinary approach combines common materials with an iconography of humble objects to create stunning visual metaphors of African American heritage and experience building upon themes of resilience and purpose, remembrance and spirituality. 

The title of this exhibition is a combination of the Japanese words “kazu” meaning oneness, harmony, and peace, and “ko” meaning child. Typically feminine in gender, Kazuko in numerology possesses qualities described as “visionary”. Mr. Meko’s Kazuko, the “peaceful child”, endeavors “to perfect”.

Within an installation of sculptural elements and soundscape, Mr. Meko will feature a series of recent mixed media works on paper for this exhibition. “They’re all new directions,” Mr. Meko explains about the physical process. “It’s a system I’m making by layering, trying to understand how materials lay on top of each other, or in relationship to each other…to understand what (these materials) can do.” With paint, pencil, gold leaf, diamond dust, collage, or whatever the work seems to demand, surfaces become rich with mark, deep, and iridescent. Throughout appear Mr. Meko’s characteristic navigational notations and sensory references to water. 

Important to the overall environment of the gallery’s space is the incorporation of Mr. Meko’s signature objects. The common cast-iron skillet serves symbolically as an anchor, or as a vessel providing sustenance, or as a soul, a goddess, a gathering spirit. As Mr. Meko observes with warm humor, an iron skillet “will outlive you if you take care of it” much as nurturing and fostering those in the present can have an indelible effect upon the future.

Within this new work, non-objective compositions serve as portraits of souls released from needless circumstance. Influences drawn from rural southern culture and contemporary urban subculture reflect the complexities of our current experience. Water symbolizes oceans of loss or the springs of transformation and new beginnings. Objects and visual effects go beyond their inherent nature to conjure thought about what is real in life, as poetic equivalents of shimmering surfaces transcend material substance to evoke the spiritual realm of Orisha, the goddess, and the life force Ashe. 

For over a decade, Mr. Meko has steadily maintained an artistic practice and an active community presence in his Atlanta base that has generated a growing reputation across the Southeast. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions, with recent solo exhibitions at Alan Avery Art Company, Atlanta (2015), The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (2016), The New Gallery, Austin Peay State University (2017), and The Lamar Dodd Gallery, University of Georgia (2017). He has served as artist-in-residence at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, the Savannah College of Art and Design Printmaking Department, and the non-profit artists’ space Pony Ride, Detroit, Mi., among others. Mr. Meko has received grants from Beltline Atlanta, Idea Capital, Wonderroot, Flux Projects, and Dashboard Co-Op.  He was a 2005 and 2008 finalist in the Forward Arts Foundation Award for Poetry, and his writing has been published in the internationally distributed periodical Art Papers. In just this past year, Mr. Meko received the Georgia Museum of Contemporary Art’s Working Artist Project Grant, an Artadia Grant Award, and a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. Born in Florence, Alabama, Mr. Meko holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Painting from the University of North Alabama and is currently represented by Alan Avery Art Company in Atlanta. For more information about the artist, visit www.michimeko.com and www.alanaveryartcompany.com 

After 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends, visitors to the Cress may park free in any nearby lot not marked “24 hour reserved”. Before 5 p.m. on weekdays, visitors may find limited nearby street parking or park in the 5th Street Garage near MacKenzie Arena for a $4 fee and stroll across campus to Vine St. For more parking information and lot maps visit http://www.utc.edu/auxiliary-services 

For more information about the exhibition and the Diane Marek Series community and campus events, visit www.cressgallery.org, like the Cress Gallery on Facebook, or contact Ruth Grover at ruth-grover@utc.edu or 304-9789. 

If you require accommodations for this event, please the UTC Disability Resource Center at 425-4006, email Michelle-Rigler@utc.edu a week prior to the event.

Michi Meko Oil Spot #3 2017-18
Michi Meko Oil Spot #3 2017-18

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