Trash turned to art at new MOCA Jacksonville exhibit

'Material Transformations' has reuse and recycle theme

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A new exhibit has opened at Jacksonville's Museum of Contemporary Art.

The theme of "Material Transformations" is reuse and recycle. Seven artists reinterpret recycling by creating their art using materials that would have otherwise been discarded.

"I'm very interested in the idea of taking a material that is apparently worthless -- has no apparent value at all -- and transforming it into something of aesthetic and cultural value," said artist Paul Villinski.

Villinski uses old vinyl records he found among the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans to make some of his art. He also uses cans he's picked up in the streets of New York City.

One goal, artists say, is to challenge the audience to question their relationship to consumerism.

"I think that's a commentary on how, in our society, there is so much waste," said MOCA curator Ben Thompson. "This is one way in which people can recycle, reuse, and upcycle materials into a different form and to transform these materials into another purpose and, in this particular case, into fine art."

'Life Psychotic II,' photo courtesy of Johnston Foster and RARE Gallery, New York)

Originally organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Montgomery, Ala., "Material Transformations" is even bigger in the MOCA space.

"To me, it's a really fun exhibition, visually and intellectually to walk through," said Villinski. "You don't have to be an art aficionado to enjoy this. I think you're just going to walk through and find that you're really surprised by what you're seeing around every corner here."

The exhibition runs through April 6th. For more information, visit MOCA's website.

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