Philip Juras can see ghosts. Not the wandering spirits of people long gone, but the ancient landscapes of the Southeast -- the forests and plains and marshes -- as they appeared before civilization changed everything. Those visions are now part of a special exhibition of his paintings at the Morris Museum of Art .
Juras's fascination with the land goes back to his childhood in Augusta, where he uncovered arrowheads in his own backyard and began to wonder what things looked like before houses were built and streets were paved. Family explorations through the forests and fields of the Southeast reinforced his curiosity about the history of the land.
After receiving a bachelor's degree in fine arts at the University of Georgia, Juras traveled and painted landscapes in Europe, India and the western United States. He then returned to UGA, where he earned a master's degree in landscape architecture, writing his thesis on the pre-settlement savannas that once flourished across the Southeastern piedmont.
His love of the land, artistic talent and interest in history, have come together in the collection of paintings on view at the Morris Museum.
Inspired by the writings of William Bartram (1739-1832), the naturalist who chronicled his travels through our area in the late 18th century, Juras spent years studying, researching and re-visiting sites Bartram described.
In time, he completed more than 60 paintings, some depicting landscapes that remain in a relatively natural state today, and some offering his informed vision of pristine landscapes as they appeared a couple of centuries ago.
He will talk about his work at 6 tonight at the Morris, and a reception will follow. The exhibition, Philip Juras: The Southern Frontier , was organized by the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah and was shown there prior to its opening at the Morris. The exhibit is accompanied by a full-color, 128-page publication, available at the Morris Museum store. See more at www.philipjuras.com.
ALSO THIS WEEKEND:
- Among the First Friday festivities on Broad Street will be a reception at Gallery on the Row , opening an exhibit by Sara Mays , the winner of the 2011 Artists' Row Art Scholarship. A recent Lakeside High School graduate, Mays will continue her art education at Augusta State University. This summer she will be working with Artists' Row galleries on a public sculpture project for the Westobou Festival in September.
- Friday also marks the first in the Morris Museum of Art's summer series of films celebrating Augusta authors. The Foxes of Harrow (1947), based on the historical novel by Frank Yerby, stars Rex Harrison, and Maureen O'Hara. The Films on Friday programs start at noon and the museum supplies popcorn and soft drinks. Museum director Kevin Grogan leads a discussion after the show.
Filmgoers are welcome to bring their own lunch.
The Augusta authors series will continue July 1 with Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake (1942), based on Edison Marshall's 1941 novel Benjamin Blake . Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney and George Sanders are featured. Aug. 5 will bring a showing of God's Little Acre , a 1958 adaptation of the Erskine Caldwell novel, starring Robert Ryan, Aldo Ray, Tina Louise and Buddy Hackett.
- The North Augusta Artists Guild will hold a sidewalk art show and sale Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the corner of Georgia and Spring Grove avenues.
Pottery, watercolor paintings, oil and acrylic paintings, photography, jewelry, metal sculpture and works in other media will be displayed.
Participating artists include Cassie Bayer, Liz Berry, Jean Blackmer, Ron Buttler, Tony Carr, Wilma Combs, Sue St. Cloud, Wendy Cunico, Doug Dooley, Mike Drake, Dennis Estep, Margaret Estep, Dorothy Goodwin, Beth Jones, Yvonne Kinney, Peggy Lamm, Mary McCullah, Pamela Poole, Elizabeth Reynolds and Yvonne Sobel .
- An exhibit titled Everyone Wants to Live on Mars , will open Saturday at the Fire House Gallery in Louisville, Ga., with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Artist Cynthia Brinich-Langlois teaches printmaking, foundations, digital and drawing at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville.
A native of Alaska, she earned a bachelor's degree at Kenyon College with a major in studio art and minor in environmental biology and then completed a master's degree in fine art at the University of New Mexico.
- Outer Edge , billed as "a sampling of some of the most provocative artists in the area," is on display at the Bee's Knees restaurant on 10th Street through July 1. The alleged provocateurs are Justin Wilson, Jennifer Onofrio, Raoul Pacheco, Rusty Walton, Laura Neff, Lila Shull, Frieda Dean, Edgar Franklin Miles, Abigail Wood Zwanziger, Leonard Zimmerman, Tiffanie Burnsed and Mike Gentry .
- The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of History will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a two-part event Saturday, June 11. A children's festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., offering free performances and arts and crafts. An evening reception will be from 6 to 10 p.m. with live music, wine and hors d'oeuvres. The cost for the reception is $25. The museum is also seeking individual $20 donations to celebrate the 20th anniversary.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE award winners in the Aiken Artists Guild 's juried member exhibition at the Aiken Center for the Arts . Barbara Walcher took best in show for a portrait titled George . Top winners included Sharon Taylor Padgett , best Aiken scene, Gail Smith , members' choice award and first place landscape; Jane Popeil , first place portraiture; Jeannette Shoemaker , first place still life; Lindy Crandell , first place wildlife/animals; and Carolyn Bohn , first place abstract/experimental. More than 100 works were included in the show.
COMING UP NEXT WEEKEND:
- At the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art , an exhibit of works by Jeffrey Callaham will open in the main gallery June 10. Callaham draws on memories of his South Carolina childhood to create brightly colored canvases that depict the daily rituals of rule life in vivid detail. He will talk about his work during a reception from 6 to 8 p.m.
See more at jefferycallaham.com.
- At the same time, Rosanne Stutts will open an exhibit titled Through the Future to the Past in the Creel-Harison Community Gallery on the Gertrude Herbert's third floor. An avid photographer, Stutts re-discovered the slow process of pinhole photography in 1990, and now produces images using such ordinary objects as oatmeal boxes and paint cans as cameras.