The digital images you see in this article do not do the incredible works on display in the Wilson Center’s South Gallery justice. Currently on display through Feb.17, “MetaVisual: The Graphic Art of Jim Harrison” is a cornucopia of color, texture, logos and fun. Jim Harrison, the man behind the art, addressed the standing room only gathering of students and faculty on Tuesday night, answering questions and taking time to explain the finer points of his work.
One of Harrison’s works on display, “The Gainesville Fruit Co.,” brought vibrancy to the gallery, attracting the attention of those in attendance. Harrison, a proud family man, whose wife and two of his three step-sons were in attendance, not only answered every question asked, but went above and beyond to teach students and guests about the intricacies of each piece. As Harrison spoke about his works, audience members could almost feel the presence and production of the piece come to life–whether by conversation about the paper it was printed on, the tools used, or his reference points. Harrison’s love for using vintage material in his works, including old books, paper, original style fonts and older print-run movie posters serves as a great reminder to make one “stop what you’re doing today and make you think about tomorrow.”
Professor Michael Nuetzel of South Campus’ Digital Arts program was instrumental in bringing Jim Harrison and the “MetaVisual” exhibit to the South Gallery. The longtime friend and fan of the artist passionately explained the most intriguing aspects of Harrison’s display, pointing out highlights like “The Gainesville Fruit Co., the vintage fruit label design, the composition and color…and the Topography.”
Attendees reviewing the work for the first time all found something to be amazed with. “I like the texture of the orange; how colorful they are,” said Cody Mayley, a student of the Digital Arts program. “the logo pieces are visually representative and textually representative of what they are for. Other logos are really colorful,” said Digital Arts student Rebecca Hulett, speaking on a display titled “The Book Attic.”
The pieces comprising the “Gainesville Fruit Co.” exhibit grew from a want of Harrison’s to create something new, while refamiliarizing himself with an old technique in letterpress printmaking. The project also afforded Harrison a creative outlet to do something different from his day job as an art director. After a long period of research and development, production began on these highly stylized, yet regionally distinct pieces. While originally only printed in small batches, Harrison came to realize that “What I had found by then however, was that I had inadvertently created something very marketable.”
FSCJ invites all to visit this colorful, thought provoking, visually stunning and most of all, fun gallery display at the South Gallery, presented until February 17th.
Craig Young is a Digital Media student, photographer, professional wrestler, and dabbler of the absurd. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org