Art31 kicks off 31 days of new works and a chatty puppet

By Allison Walker Torres, Entertainment Reporter/Anchor
Last Updated: Friday, March 02, 2018, 6:23 PM EST

The kickoff of March means the kickoff of 31 days of art.

Now in its 5th year, Art31 in Maitland introduces us to new works and engages the public in the creative process of experimentation.

  • Art31 engages public in new works, experimentation
  • Theme of this year's Art31 is fiber
  • Event features fiber-loving puppet 'Godrick' 
  • SEE BELOW: About the artists

The event is a series of exhibits and happenings that honor Art & History Museums - Maitland's history as the Research Studio.

We were there as visual artist Alisha McCurdy Holzman, New Jersey, was completing her installation. Her piece addresses the phosphate and mineral mining in Florida. Within it, she incorporates the theme of this year's Art31 -- fiber.

"I also use the fabric as the contrast of very heavy and solid against something light and kind of ephemeral or very delicate," Holzman told Spectrum News 13.

Fiber, too, can come in surprising forms. Meet "Godrick."

"Wait, this is on TV?"  the cosmic-creature-puppet (manned by Jack Fields) inquired during his on-cam interview. "Oh, Hello!"

The fiber-loving cosmic creature is stoked to interact with you and your kids at the museum.

"It's the invisible strings that make up our cosmos," he said, getting deep with us. "It makes up our clothes. It makes up our bodies."

"His suit is actually made with the fiber as well," added Rangsook Yoon, A & H's director of experiences. "so you can see components of contemporary art [utilized]."

So what does Godrick like to do on his days off?

"Oh, well, I like to hibernate."

"I have been following Godrick on social media," Holzman laughed. "I've been waiting to find him... I hope he'd feel right at home (at my exhibit space) with the birds and the natural materials."

Godrick has some parting words for the public.

"Oh I just want to tell everyone that I look forward to meeting you and breathing my smelly breath on you really close," he said. "And getting hugs."

Art31 events lasts all month. But the centerpiece exhibition of 'Art31: Fiber' is on view March 2 through April 22, 2018 in the Maitland Art Center galleries, featuring works by Alisha McCurdy, Hye Shin, and Carrie Sieh.  

About the artists:

Alisha McCurdy
McCurdy will create a site-specific installation of a landscape in Maitland Art Center’s gallery, inspired by phosphate mining in the Bone Valley of Southwest Florida and its impact on the Peace River Watershed. Contrasting a mine against an unadulterated Florida wetland, thread drawings of flora and fauna will be layered within, highlighting the disparities of the landscape and the vulnerability of wetlands. Alisha’s artwork seeks to share respect for labor and making, in homage to the harsh conditions in the Appalachian mine fields where her father worked. She completed her Master of Fine Arts degree at Stony Brook University in New York and currently lives in New Jersey.

Jack Fields
As the traveling portion of Art31: Fiber, celebrated Orlando-based puppetry artist Jack Fields will pop up at busy locations throughout Orange County, as Godrick, “a cosmic creature made of dreams, spider silk, eyes and hat molecules.” He creates interactive performance experiences as fibers given life. Fields, who has been creating puppetry since 2007, is currently a performer with Ibex Puppetry. His character, Godrick, has appeared at a number of institutions and events throughout the Southeast. His first puppet film, Happy Memories, has been accepted into 15 film festivals around the world.

Hye Shin
Shin’s large sculptural installation, 'Embrace the Hope,' expresses balancing the joys of motherhood with a deep appreciation of the sacrifices necessary for nurturing life. Featured in Gallery 3 and throughout the grounds of A&H’s Maitland Art Center, Shin’s work will acknowledge an inspired connection to nature. Raised in South Korea, Shin is known for her large-scale, richly textured wall hangings and sculptural installations. She has taught at Crealdé School of Art since 2003 and is the founder of Focus on Fiber Art initiative. Her works have been featured in numerous shows around the world. She is a 2017-18 A&H Artist-in-Action.