Growing up in Augusta, Philip Juras developed a fascination with the landscape, as his family made frequent trips to explore the forests and fields of the Southeast. Finding broken arrowheads in his own backyard, he would wonder what the land looked like when such things were made.
Years later, he earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting and drawing at the University of Georgia, and after several years of painting landscapes in the United States and abroad, he returned to Athens, Ga., to pursue a master of landscape architecture degree. He wrote his thesis on the landscapes that would have been prevalent in the 1700s.
Inspired by the writings of naturalist William Bartram (1739-1823), whose classic book he read as a teenager, Juras has created more than 60 paintings that interpret the landscape as it would have appeared before the encroachments of civilization. An exhibition titled Philip Juras: The Southern Frontier, Landscapes inspired by Bartram's Travels, has opened at the Telfair Museums in Savannah, and will travel to the Morris Museum of Art in May.
The exhibit is accompanied by a 128-page full-color book that showcases his collection of paintings -- works that have been described as large in scope while encompassing the smallest details such as blades of grass. The book includes essays by the artist and Dorinda Dallmeyer, the director of the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program at the University of Georgia; Holly Koons McCullough, the director of collections and exhibitions at the Telfair; and Janisse Ray, noted poet and environmental advocate. For examples of his work and links to recent reviews, see www.philipjuras.com.
ANOTHER ARTIST who grew up in our area is Kesler Woodward , who graduated from Aiken High School and later made his home in Alaska, where he has forged a distinguished career as painter, teacher, author, curator and arts advocate. Woodward will be back on the East Coast this weekend for the opening of his solo show at Christa Faut Gallery in Cornelius, N.C. The Forest and the Trees, which includes some of Woodward's signature images of birch trees, opens Saturday and will be on display through mid-March.
MAC ON MAIN, the new art gallery/studio home of the McDuffie Arts Council . also opens Saturday. At 107 Main St. in Thomson, the MAC will be operated by the council and will showcase the work of its two dozen artist-members.
Council members renovated the interior of the building, which will now serve as both display space and working studio. Saturday's opening reception, from 5 to 8 p.m., will feature music by The Henrys .
BOYD SAUNDERS, painter, sculptor, illustrator, printmaker and professor emeritus of art at the University of South Carolina, is next up in the Morris Museum of Art 's lunchtime series, Art at Lunch. An exhibit of his recent work opens Saturday at the Morris and will remain on view through April 10.
Saunders will present Familiar Tracks: a Circular Journey, a lecture tracing the evolution of his art career, at noon Feb. 18 in the museum auditorium. Lunch will be catered by French Market Grille. Paid reservations are due by Feb. 16 by calling (706) 828-3867.
ART BY Malaika Favorite will be part of a special program, Lift Every Voice: A Dramatization, with guest speaker Kathe Hambrick , Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. in Gilbert-Lambuth Chapel at Paine College. Favorite's work is on view as a two-part retrospective at both Paine College and the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History.
THE GERTRUDE Herbert Institute of Art will showcase the work of young artists this month in the 32nd annual Agnes Markwalter Youth Art Competition exhibit. The event is sponsored by the Irish-American Heritage Society and the Markwalter family and seeks to promote art education and encourage support for school art programs. Artwork created by students in grades K-12 in five area counties will go on display Feb. 22 in the first and third floor galleries. An awards reception will be from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. March 2.
ONGOING AND NOTEWORTHY: A couple of shows by a couple of Brians. Brian Rutenberg 's spectacular abstracted landscapes are on exhibit at the Morris Museum of Art, and Brian Rust is showing his drawings and totemic sculptural works at the Fire House Gallery in Louisville, Ga.
ASU ART professor Kristin Casaletto has artwork in the international juried printmaking exhibit Tempting Equilibrium at Des Lee Gallery in St. Louis, Mo. The show opens Friday and runs through March 19, and coincides with the Southern Graphics Council International's annual conference.
AT THE POINT of Art Gallery in Union Point, Ga., owner/artist Anne Jenkins is no longer staging month-long exhibits by guest artists. Instead, she will offer short shows, opening on a Thursday and running through Sunday. More information is available at www.thepointofart.net.