AUGUST 28 – SEPTEMBER 28, 2023

Artists’ Talk and Reception
Thursday, August 31 • 5-7pm


Grace Mikell Ramsey, Assistant Professor, FGCU Art Program • John Loscuito, Director, FGCU Art Galleries


The five artists in the exhibition utilize very different media and methods, but in a mysterious way, they are often traversing similar conceptual territory. Or perhaps it’s more precise to say that once the works shared this space, they seemed to be in conversation with each other. The approach to selecting the works started with studio visits around Central and South Florida, visiting accomplished artists who had the potential to resonate with one another. The exhibition developed organically based upon these visits and led to a startling set of connections between individual narratives and materials.

The presence of the body and the weight of natural surroundings recur throughout the show, grounding us for the otherworldly visions on display. Each artist uses dreamlike images or textures to reckon with the familiar reality of our lives – a kind of storytelling hypercharged by the uncanny. The narratives and ideas within each work seemed to tangle and thread once they were in the same room. New questions, secrets, truth-telling, and myths emerged from this threading. Each artist brings a fantastically unique vision and, together, something even richer emerges: a wild garden.

Walking through the gallery, you will notice the work drifting between the natural and the surreal to conjure distinctive environments, lifeforms, and habitats. The colors, textures, and narrative mysteries on display create an immersive space – untamed and lush. If these works are alluring, even playful, they also hint at darker visions, grappling with questions of control, cultivation, and social responsibility. The natural world has a history much older than human culture in Florida, we are bearing witness to the changes we have wrought. These artists do not shy away from troubling questions about the future, even as they revel in human possibility and natural (or supernatural) wonder.

Sponsored by Gene and Lee Seidler, The Wasmer Endowment, WGCU Public Media and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts

Image Credit: Luca Molnar, Baker-Miller Pink, 2022, Oil on linen, 36 x 36 in.


Jen Clay

Traversing a wide range of media, from quilted wall hangings to interactive and multimedia performance, Jen Clay’s body of work often places monster-like sculptures and wearables in situations that encourage interaction with them. Clay frequently stages multi-sensory environments, which – together with the creatures – become meditations on the uncertainties we all face at a time when disaster is a constant threat. They interrogate how the effects of fears are impacting – or not – how we as individuals can assess risk or ignore it, sometimes at the expense of sanity.

In 2022, at the same time Jen Clay completed a two-year residency at Oolite Arts, she was awarded a Knight Arts New Work Award to produce Eyes of the Skin, a video game and immersive installation set to debut at Locust Projects, Miami, FL in the fall of 2023. She received her BFA in Sculpture from University of North Carolina Charlotte and her MFA from the University of Florida. Clay lives and works in South Florida.

Artist’s website


Cynthia Mason

Cynthia Mason trained as an architect and is fascinated by the overlap and edges of topographies. Mason makes soft paintings and mixed media constructions that scramble the spatial and material codes of painting and sculpture. Mason revels in those moments where she is fully connecting with the materials, luring her into the next response. Gravity, collapse, systems, folds in space, apparitions, nature, and authority are all subjects that influence her.

Mason received her MFA at the University of South Florida and BFA from Ringling College. She is the recipient of a Professional Artists Grant from Creative Pinellas and has been selected for numerous artist residencies including The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, The Carrizozo Artists in Residence Program in Carrizozo, NM, Jentel Artist Residency Program in Banner, Wyoming; and the School of Visual Arts Summer Painting Program in New York. She currently lives and works in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Artist’s website

Luca Molnar

Luca Molnar is a painter, most days. Her work uses historical figures and personal mythologies as its starting point, building networked connections through both research and intuition. In her paintings, pattern references imagined domestic spaces, allowing the private sphere to emerge as a complex and contradictory site worthy of our attention. Her interest in our relationships with the past, memory, and identity extend into her installation work and writing.

Recent exhibitions include Same Source at Art Center Sarasota, Formation at Spartanburg Art Museum, and Fresh Squeezed 4 and Juicy at the Morean Arts Center. Molnar is an Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. Molnar received her MFA from New York University and her BA in Studio Art from Dartmouth College.

Artist’s website


Grace Mikell Ramsey

Grace Mikell Ramsey’s work explores themes of girlhood and womanhood, using elements of ritual, magic, and religious iconography to give color and light to what is kept hidden or left unsaid. The paintings featured in this exhibition are part of an ongoing series about the physical and psychological experience of motherhood and the complexities of nurturing—a reflection on intimacy, both its toils and possibilities. These paintings function in a dreamlike narrative space between fantasy and reality, but they are rooted in the everyday rhythms of being a mother.

Figures in this series endure strange ordeals and trials—perhaps in the midst of rites and ceremonies, perhaps being tested by judges unseen. Moments unspool with the pulses of lived experience but also the strange texture of myth. If there are mysteries in these images, there may also be moments of uncanny familiarity. The narrative and emotional threads grow richer and more complicated with every viewer who might think, for a moment, I’ve seen or felt or dreamed this before.

Ramsey received her MFA from Tulane University and is an Assistant Professor and the Two-Dimensional Art & Design Foundations Coordinator at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Artist’s website


Anastasia Samoylova

Anastasia Samoylova is a Russian-born American artist who moves between observational photography and studio practice. Her work explores notions of environmentalism, consumerism and the picturesque. Using her own experience as a starting point for exploration, Samoylova’s images vacillate between appeal and repulsion, paradise and catastrophe. Her record of climate crisis is less direct reportage than lyrical evocation. The color palette is tropical and pastel-pretty, but there is peril too: rot, wear and decay becoming apparent under the glossy surface.

Recent exhibitions include Fundación Mapfre; C/O Berlin; Eastman Museum; Chrysler Museum of Art; The Photographer’s Gallery, London; and Kunst Haus Wien. Her work is in the collections at the Perez Art Museum, Miami; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta and Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; among others. Published monographs include Image Cities (Fundación Mapfre / Hatje Cantz, 2023), Floridas (Steidl, 2022) and FloodZone (Steidl, 2019). Samoylova received her MFA from Bradley University.

Artist’s website