On Monday, May 9th, 2016, Jace McKinney opened his solo exhibition, Found & Formed. As McKinney was the winner of the Open Category Annual Art Competition and Exhibition in 2012 and 2014, this signified his second solo exhibition as a result of that.
Most of my life I have had the habit of exploring the seashores and forest areas of our country collecting unique items from nature that intrigue me in either its form, color or texture. The ones that peak my interest are those that seem like parts of a puzzle or those that resemble familiar figures and symbols.
For example, it is quite remarkable to see the gesture of a bird or a fish, masterfully replicated in a tree limb; or to see the likeness of human lips in a stone. Some of them are extraterrestrial in nature, ancient in appearance and so delicately intimate in size; often I feel like I am holding an important part of history in my hands. I know that such things are not coincidentally created, but rather the handiwork of the Divine Creator. In the last five years I have studied and observed these natural objects wondering how they were formed to be so.
What I have concluded from all of my wonderings and research is that the answer is not as complex as I imagined it to be. To me, these parts are from larger compositions that are simply divine expressions of beauty. In gazing at their features, a sense of peace and tranquility fills my heart and mind and I find a moments rest from worldly cares. As I compared, arranged and contemplated the unique forms of these objects, I noticed that certain pieces were attracted to others and so I married them together to cement their relationship.
These arrangements represent the constant conversation between man and God, society and nature in relation to beauty and order. We see this conversation in our physical surroundings, landscapes and in our intimate spaces. I decided to call these pieces “Relifacts” which is a hybrid noun emerging from the words relic and artifacts. Though I view these objects with scientific curiosity and organize them with architectural precision, in a way I revere them as sacred objects bearing the fingerprint of divinity.
My arrangement of these organic forms was also an attempt to understand how they coexist in nature, but it was also an expression of things that I imagined them to be; like looking at clouds for long periods of time. I composed them as if I was composing a musical melody linking the right note to create a unique visual rhythm. Instead of using sounds I use forms. I also aimed to emphasize the gestures and shapes that allude to something familiar. I hope to arrest the imagination of the viewer for either a brief moment or for a long while, to rest in quiet contemplation of their mysterious presence.