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Born of the Sun

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Flagler College Welcomes Visiting Artists Mark and Phillip Estlund

The Crisp-Ellert Art Museum and Flagler College are pleased to present “Born of the Sun,” an exhibition of recent individual works—as well as a newly-produced collaborative piece—from brothers Phillip and Mark Estlund. The exhibition kicks off with an opening reception on Friday, May 4 from 5 to 9 pm, followed by a conversation between the artists on Monday, May 7 at 7 pm. The Estlunds’ work will be on view through June 22.

Both natives of Jacksonville, Mark and Phillip Estlund’s works engender a type of material nostalgia to convey their respective explorations into everyday polarities and contradictions. Mark’s assemblage sculptures explore life, death and rebirth, while Phillip’s sculptures and collages deal with the clash between development and nature—a conflict that is ubiquitous within Florida’s landscape.

Mark, as artist-cum-mad-scientist, creates sculptural works from scavenged antique objects and organic materials to explore man’s attempts to “massage the lines” between life and death. His pieces are a series of carefully-built relationships between layered and interacting materials, including fur, insects, antique clocks, lighting and lenses. The titles of the pieces demonstrate the artist’s deep investigation into the psyche: “Moment of Conception,” “Moment of Thought” and a new sculpture entitled “Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun,” (also a quote from the anthropologist Clifford Geertz). In the last piece, green and blue lights emanate from a silhouette of a fur-adorned man exposed and open to the world, an image repeated throughout the body of Mark’s work.

Mark’s work has been included in many exhibitions, including nullspace, J. Johnson Gallery and the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens in Jacksonville. Mark currently works and lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two daughters.

Mark’s brother Phillip is an “observer of nature—both human and environmental—and an explorer of psychological space and physical terrain.” He creates sculpture from found industrial materials and detritus left behind from natural disasters, and collage works that utilize images culled from vintage field guides, construction manuals and other industry sources to examine the ever-present war of domination that we, as humans, wage upon our environment. In these works, Phillip presents us with “destruction as a creative force, and construction as destructive one.” The artist creates visual narratives where nature is mysterious and menacing, home is artificial and temporary, and man is both a literal and figurative imposition on environment.

Phillip attended the distinguished Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and received his B.F.A. from Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore. He has had solo exhibitions most recently at the Art and Culture Center in Hollywood, Florida, Gavlak in Palm Beach and has participated in other exhibitions at Cheim & Read, New York, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton and the Museum of Modern Art, San Salvador, El Salvador. He currently lives and works in West Palm Beach.

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