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Road to Canaan by Randy Akers


March 4 - April 26, 2013

Road to Canaan by Randy Akers at JAXPORT Gallery

When: March 1-April 26, 2013, 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Where: 2831 Talleyrand Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32206 Directions


Randy Akers has directed and designed award-winning international television commercials, movie titles, music videos, and print for Fortune 500 companies for over 30 years. He has been affiliated with Curious Pictures (NY), RIGA Digital Studios (NY), Yarra Films (Singapore), Kessler-Irish Films (Toronto), and AFI Films (Miami).

Gallery exhibits include an NEA funded show at the Stables Art Gallery in Taos, New Mexico, as well as the University of New Mexico's Harwood Foundation. He has also shown at the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, the Philadelphia Art Museum, the Anchorage Art Museum, the University of Northern Colorado, Valdosta University Art Museum. In 2004, Akers was a recipient of a Presidential Fellowship at the Savannah College of Art and Design for his traveling exhibition, the Dogs of Todos Santos.

Akers is a member of the Director's Guild of America, the Broadcast Design Association, and served as an advisor to the Delphi Conference exploring the convergence of art and technology. He has taught at the School ofVisual Arts, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Cazenovia College. He received his M.F.A and M.A from Savannah College of Art and Design; B.F.A from Chouinard Art School, California Institute of the Arts; additional post-graduate work at Art Center College of Design, California State University Northridge, and University of Oregon.

Currently he is working with encaustic paintings on the Road to Canaan series and three dimensional indigenous wood forms on the lathe.

The Road to Canaan

"The Underground Railroad was a secret network that helped fugitive slaves escape to Canaan (the North and Canada) in the early and mid 1800's. These paintings refer to the controversial tale of slave quilts used as codes, maps, and a means of communication in the transportation network of the Underground Railroad. The quilt codes are controversial for the lack of empirical evidence and suppositions based on oral narratives. The shape and locationof the quilted fragments were thought to have played a role in providing safe directions to fugitive slaves. A directional shape pointing to the left might mean travel west or a star shape could refer to following the night stars north.

Quilting was in my ancestry and the passion for simple shapes and placement was passed on to me. I have a lifelong fascination with shapes and marks as a metaphorical visual language. These paintings do not copy the quilt codes, but rather are references for visual content. This series uses encaustic (pure beeswax mixed with oil paint and damar crystals) with a subdued palette that has a tactile immediacy. Encaustic allows the painted surface to be gouged, scarred, and layered accordingly. Humble, recycled and scavenged art materials (canvas, denim, paper, wood, paint) are chosen as homage to the time period and culture. This work is a response to the bleakest days of our history with the hope (real or imagined) that symbols such as the quilt codes did exist as signals to freedom."

For additional information and/or images, please contact Meredith Fordham Hughes by email or by phone at (904) 357-3052.

About JAXPORT Gallery

Located on the first floor of JAXPORT Headquarters, the Gallery features local artists rotating on a bi-monthly basis. JAXPORT Gallery is open during normal JAXPORT Headquarters hours and admission is free. Learn more about JAXPORT and the Arts.

Viva 500

Viva Florida 500 is a statewide initiative led by the Florida Department of State, under the leadership of Governor Rick Scott, to highlight the 500 years of historic people, places and events in present-day Florida since the arrival of Juan Ponce de León to the land he named La Florida in 1513. While Florida's Native American heritage dates back more than 12,000 years, Spain's claim in 1513 began a new era. In 2013, Florida will mark 500 years of history and diverse cultural heritage - a claim no other state in America can make - and promote the place where the world's cultures began to unite and transform into the great nation we know today as the United States of America. Viva Florida 500 will take place year-round in 2013, and its many partners are planning more than 150 events statewide. The goal is to promote 500 years of Florida's history - its people, places and cultural achievements - and this important milestone in American and Florida history. Join us in celebrating the Florida we live in today!



Contact Person: Meredith Fordham Hughes

Contact Information: 904-357-3052 (main phone) / meredith.fordham@gmail.com