This year the Westobou Festival is offering an eclectic visual arts mix, spotlighting some familiar names and inviting us to some new art experiences. That’s a good approach, because it is important to acknowledge that we have serious talent in the Augusta area and it’s also interesting to showcase some of our best-known artists in the context of other artists’ work and outside of the familiar spaces.
As in the past, the major art venue is the Old Richmond Academy building on Telfair Street. There, the Klacsmann Gallery will host an exhibit curated by artist Raoul Pacheco, ceramics professor at GRU. Derek Larson of Statesboro, one of the four finalists for this year’s Hudgens Prize, will be represented by a new media installation.
He will be joined by University of Alabama ceramics professor Matt Mitros; Kath Girdler Engler, sculptor of paper pulp and found objects; Augusta-born abstract artist Baker Overstreet; surreal oil painter Nicole Arnold; mixed media artist Hollis Brown Thornton of Aiken; California ceramic artist Ehren Tool; and illustrator/printmaker Chad Tolley.
There will be films by Matthew Buzzell and musician T. Hardy Morris as well as the PlantBot Traveling Art Lab by installation artists Jeff Schmuki + Wendy DesChene. A free reception will be held Friday, Oct. 4, from 5 to 8 p.m.
Meanwhile, at the Rex Gallery in the JB White’s Building on Broad Street, three GRU Morris Eminent Scholars have works on display. Past scholars Philip Morsberger and Tom Nakashima and current titleholder William Willis are all distinguished artists who built impressive careers elsewhere and have chosen to live and work here. We are fortunate to have their creative influence in our cultural community. Join them for a free gallery talk at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, with a reception to follow.
Then head up the hill to the Mary S. Byrd Art Gallery in Washington Hall on the GRU Summerville Campus, where History’s Shadow, an exhibit of large-scale photography by David Maisel, opens with a 5 p.m. dessert and coffee reception. At 6 p.m. there will be a panel discussion with GRU art faculty Michael Schwartz and Jennifer Onofrio and Atlanta art critic Jerry Cullum.
Maisel was born in New York City and holds degrees from Princeton University and California College of the Arts in addition to study at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He has exhibited internationally and has works in numerous collections including the Metropolitan Museum, the National Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum. In History’s Shadow, he works with X-ray plates of historical artifacts to create photographic images that embody both interior and exterior influences.
AT THE ARTS and Heritage Center just over the bridge in North Augusta, the Clay Artists of the Southeast are again exhibiting as part of the Westobou Festival. This year the regional ceramic artists’ group has staged an exhibit with a sea life theme. There will be objects suspended from the ceiling as well as a ceramic “coral reef” on pedestals at ground level. Expect to see some playful interpretations here. The exhibit will continue from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through Saturday, Oct. 5.
WESTOBOU is offering two gallery-crawl sessions Friday, Oct. 4, at 5 and 6:15 p.m. Patrons can board the trolley to visit the North Augusta exhibit, Mary S. Byrd Gallery, Rex Gallery and Old ARC exhibit. The cost is $10 and tickets can be purchased at westoboufestival.com.
IF WESTOBOU art exhibits whet your appetite for more, there are several special exhibits at the Morris Museum of Art, including paintings by Honor Marks (closing Oct. 6), works on paper by major 20th century artists from the Wells Fargo Collection, photographs by Greg Kinney and glass art by Richard Jolley and Tommie Rush.
• At the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, the national juried exhibit, A Sense of Place, is on display, and the annual Whiskey Painters show of small paintings is featured at Zimmerman Gallery on Broad Street. A special exhibit of graphite and charcoal portraits by Daz Fletcher will open at Artistic Perceptions gallery on Broad Street on Friday, Oct. 4, from 5 to 9 p.m.
AT THE AIKEN CENTER for the Arts, there will be a gallery reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, celebrating a juried exhibit of wildlife art in the main galleries. Works in a variety of media by Judy Adamick, Jim Bradshaw, Diana Hunt, Danny O’Driscoll, Mary McCullah., Cait Moreland and Forest E. Roberts are featured. The show is being held in conjunction with the 36th annual Bluebird Society conference Oct. 4 and 5 in Brown Pavilion at the arts center.
LOOKING AHEAD: At the Morris Museum of Art, smartphone snapshots of the Miller Theater will open with a reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 10 in the education gallery.
• La Petite Gallerie, located on Arrington Avenue in Hammond’s Ferry in North Augusta, will stage one of its quarterly shows Oct. 11 from 6 to 10 p.m. and Oct. 12 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 to 11 p.m. Three Hammonds Ferry resident artists, Jill Stafford, Angela Davis and gallery owner Wendy Cunico will be featured, along with guest artists Panny Force and Beth Jones.