In the wake of last week’s stunning ice storm, for many of us in the Augusta area the sound of a chainsaw is music and a blue tarp on the roof is visual art. Mounds of limbs and logs may for a moment evoke images of installations by Brian Rust or paintings by Tom Nakashima before they are removed by Bobcats and big trucks with a fair amount of sound and fury.
We are all working on recovery, and as we do, the artists and musicians, writers and performers are here to draw us away from our focus on the hole in the ceiling or perhaps even help us understand it. We have some really good cultural options to enjoy this week.
Hunt Slonem, one of America’s most renowned artists, will be here Thursday, Feb. 20, for a talk and reception marking the end of the exhibition of his work at the Morris Museum of Art. A prolific painter, printmaker and sculptor, Slonem has become best known for his paintings of tropical birds inspired by the personal aviary he has maintained for many years. His works are in more than 50 major collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Gallery of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art and others.
The program begins with a lecture at 6 p.m., and a reception in the galleries will follow. The evening is free for museum members and $5 for others. If you have not had a chance to see the exhibit, it’s well worth the trip.
• Another exhibit at the Morris will be in the spotlight over the weekend when Phil Garrett introduces his new art instruction book, Inside Acrylics: Studio Secrets from Today’s Top Artists and offers painting demonstrations. Edward Rice, one of the artists featured in the book, will take part in the program. Copies of the book will be available in the museum store. That event starts at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22.
Garrett will show us another side of his artistry the next day when his band, Blue Studio, performs bluegrass music in a free program at 2 p.m. Garrett’s exhibit of linocuts titled “Blues Haiku” honors the Carolina Piedmont blues artists and their songs. Those works are on exhibit for a few more weeks.
• The weekend also brings to the Morris a two-day workshop on photographic transfers, taught by photographer and GRU art instructor Randy Pace. The workshop is $40 for members and $50 for others.Call (706) 828-3867 to register.
THE GEORGIA REGENTS University Juried Student Art Exhibition opens Thursday, Feb. 20, in the Mary S. Byrd Gallery of Art in Washington Hall on the Summerville campus. The reception and awards ceremony are from 5 to 6 p.m. and the event is open to the public at no charge.
Jurors for the exhibit were the TM Sisters, visual and performance artists from Miami, whose work was featured in the recent Byrd Gallery show titled Painting in the Expanded Field. The sisters, Monica and Natasha Lopez de Victoria, work in digital video performance, collages, multimedia installations, sculpture, fashion, video games and other formats. They have selected some 26 works by 21 student artists for inclusion in the exhibit.
• Director Liselott Johnsson reports that the Mary S. Byrd Gallery will be listed in Art in America magazine’s Annual Guide, and a ceramic work by Nicole Cherubini that was included in the recent gallery exhibit here, is featured in Art News magazine. Johnsson herself has a glass cube installation at Hotel Indigo in Athens, Ga. It’s titled Hello Polly! This Is Your 9 O’Clock Wake-Up Call! and can be seen at liselottjohnsson.com.
BETSY BORGATTI is the featured artist this month at Gallery on the Row. She has been involved in ceramics for over a decade, and likes using bold earthy glazes on pieces with utilitarian function and artistic flair. Her recent work reflects a new interest in layering glazes for dramatic effect. She and her husband, Rich, are active in various aspects of the Broad Street gallery.
THE AIKEN CENTER for the Arts had to postpone last week’s gallery reception because of the aforementioned weather onslaught. But the event is on for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at the center on Laurens Street. Artists Nanette Langer, Cassandra Gillen and Corrine Kenney will share the spotlight.
THE ARTS AND HERITAGE Center of North Augusta has its “Bettin’ on the Bayou” Casino Night fundraiser scheduled for Friday, Feb. 21, at Julian Smith Casino.Tickets for the casual dress benefit party must be purchased in advance by calling (803) 441-4380.
Party patrons will have the opportunity to welcome Andree Wallgren who became executive director in January. She succeeds Lauren Virgo, who has joined the staff of the Augusta Museum of History. Wallgren came to the Augusta-Aiken area from St. Louis, where she worked for 26 years in the corporate world with management, event planning and art curatorial experience.
LOOKING AHEAD: The 35th Agnes Markwalter Youth Art competition and exhibition takes place at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art March 3-28, with the reception and awards presentation set for March 5 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The celebration is open to the public. Open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade in five counties, the competition is designed to encourage and support quality art programs in schools.This year’s theme is “Georgia Folk Artists and Their Visual Language.”
• The Morris Museum of Art’s 21st annual gala will take place at the museum on Friday, March 7, with fine food, entertainment and dancing in celebrating the new exhibition, Paintings by Bo Bartlett and Betsy Eby. For ticket information, call (706) 724-7501.
LAST CHANCE: The Fire House Gallery in Louisville, Ga., will host a closing reception Saturday, Feb. 22, for the exhibit The Belvedere: Paintings by Isaac Powell.
• Exhibits of photographs by Richard Tichich and art by Georgia Southern University alumni will close Feb. 28 at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art.
• Sacred Heart Cultural Center’s exhibit of paintings by its Guild members will remain on view through the end of the month.
• The African-American doll exhibit honoring pioneering child psychologists Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark, will close at the end of February. It's on display on the third floor of the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library, 823 Telfair St.
• Wet-plate collodion process photographs by Keliy Anderson-Staley will be on view at the Morris until March 2.