Do Not Be Afraid - A selection of drawings, prints, mixed media and design by Jason Noble
July 1 - August 5, 2016
Do Not Be Afraid highlights the creative brilliance in the vast career of artist, musician, designer and genuine Louisville artistic champion, Jason Noble. Featuring over 100 works, the exhibit showcases only a small window of Noble’s decades long, nearly obsessive production of drawings, mixed media works and design. Focusing on a variety of themes including love, monsters, laborious hand-made holiday cards and graphically bold concert flyers, Do Not Be Afraid cites the dissection of human self perception, often times with humorous tone.
In many cases, the objects in the exhibit were likely not intended to be considered finished works of art. Rather, they are remnants of the unstoppable pull to create and anneal random/or contemplative thoughts, inside jokes and reactions to personal histories. Pieces in the show include a variety of small scale sketches on envelopes and napkins, manipulated photographic portfolios, silkscreened and hand-drawn concert flyers, doodles and notes on scraps of paper and post-its as well as an array of mixed media collages.
Jason Noble was first spotted in the wild in the fall of 1971, in the sub-urban marshes of Louisville, Kentucky. Early reports describe a bright, inquisitive being, with an unusual pro-ceding jet-black hairline, not unlike a chimpanzee. He displayed remarkable aptitude for visual art from a young age, through which he materialized insatiable passion for the fates of werewolves, creatures of the deep, Star Wars characters, and superheroes. Indeed, the exploits of superheroes became a calling, typified in his teenage years by a ‘Crossbow’ period, wherein he self-published comics starring a crime-fighter by the same name. His original style, morally-incisive storytelling and tireless work ethic garnered him respect from his peers, profiles in the Courier-Journal newspaper, and tenure in the Visual Arts program at DuPont Manual High School, where he excelled to the delight of all.
It was at Manual that Jason blossomed as an artistic wunderkind, developing a drawing style utterly original for his youth, and a body of work comprised of every discipline he could get his hands on. Frequently bizarre and darkly humorous, his work was also driven by a sincere eye for beaut y, from decaying, rusty train yards to the haunting lushness of moth wings. He attended the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore for two years (where painting and poetry intermarried to birth shellac-shellacked assemblages), worked as an illustrator for Crinkum-Crankum Design Studio of Louisville (under Doug Russell), and led several large-scale mural projects. But, ultimately, Music called out to him from its swampy lair, and Jason turned to it as his career focus in his early 20s.
That career would result in over 15 albums with five bands as well as solo projects at the time of his passing, but it was visual art that first filled the mind of the young Noble. Weaving through every project–not unlike small candies left to lure a castaway alien out of a forest–are the telltale droppings of visual art, calligraphy, and comic poetry by an iridescent creature seemingly not of this world, a truly gifted artist who never tired of conveying the beauty that surrounds us…in the sepia-ink rendering of a barfing swan.
In conjunction with Do Not Be Afraid, The Louisville Underground Music Archive will host Visuals by Jason Noble. Drawn from multiple collections of the (LUMA) project within the UofL Archives and Special Collections library, this small display will include album art, packaging mock-ups, merchandise designs, and original drawings in addition to posters and show flyers all done by the highly creative and prolific Jason Noble.
Visuals by Jason Noble will be on display July 1-31 outside Archives and Special Collections on the Lower Level of Ekstrom Library, open Monday – Thursday 7:30 am – 9:00 PM, Friday 7:30 am – 5:00 pm, Saturday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sunday Noon – 9:00 pm (Closed July 4th).
Do Not Be Afraid has been curated by Matt Loeser with contributions by Jeff Mueller and Greg King. Special thanks to Kyle Crabtree, Chris Higdon, Rachel Grimes, Kristin Furnish-Noble, Tim Furnish and The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.
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