Thursday, April 29, 2010

South Florida Times: Artists create “Objects of Desire”

This article was originally published in the South Florida Times.

Artists create “Objects of Desire”

by Kimberly Grant

At first glance, Rodney Jackson and Caiphus Moore (known in the art world as R. Jackson and Caiphus), look like your average 26-year olds.

In T-shirts and jeans, the duo comes off as unassuming and down to earth. On closer inspection, you come to realize that Jackson, 38, and Moore, 36, have worked in art for many years, and take it quite seriously.

“You don’t become an artist in a day. You become an artist in a lifetime,” said Rosie Gordon-Wallace, curator and owner of Diaspora Vibe Gallery in Miami’s design district, where Jackson and Moore currently have artwork on display.

“In any point of their maturation, there’s a different work of art.”

In “Objects of Desire/Doñupop,” on display at the gallery until May 20, Jackson explores desire in terms of a donut, and Moore visualizes a village.

Jackson’s donut display is an array of themes ranging from society’s desire for war, flesh, green living and materialistic ideals.

His displays, seemingly a mash-up of record shapes, have deeper meanings and ties to Jackson’s quest for the hidden meaning of desire and his hip-hop roots.

Jackson’s display is also a tribute to late hip-hop producer J. Dilla’s album, Donuts.

In Jackson’s own words, the album is “small capsules of music,” which served as a basis for his display.

In Moore’s work, he has strung up 33 tiny houses that hang from a ceiling using wire. Each house represents an aspect of pop culture.

Moore chose to use 33 because of his membership as a Free Mason. The number 33 is considered to be of the highest consciousness, because there are 33 vertebrae in a spine, which lead to the highest place, the temple.

Also, in numerology, 33 is considered the master builder number.

Each house, or shrine, as Moore calls them, is a particular theme with its own name. In “All God is one God,” Moore has put together a church pane of a woman who represents the one God, and various religious symbols to show that each religion believes in one God.

In “Beautiful Surrender,” a huge faux diamond sits atop a tiny couple in wedding garb, symbolizing the foundation needed to make a lasting relationship, rather than simply placing a ring on one’s finger.

Jackson, who was born in Coventry, England and raised by his Kingston, Jamaican-native parents in Miami, said he delved into the meaning of desire for his artwork.

“When I dug deeper, I found the spiritual aspects of longing and desire, which its root is of the heavens,” he said.

Moore, who was born in Bronx, NY and raised in Miami, and Jackson have been friends since their days in middle school. They attended New World School of the Arts in Miami, and roomed together at Maryland Institute of Art College in Baltimore, MD.

It’s almost as if this duo was destined to display their artwork together.

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