At the most recent turn of a century, the Morris Museum of Art used funds raised by the annual gala to purchase a large-scale painting by Bo Bartlett. Titled The Art of Drawing, it measures about 4 x 8 feet, and it has been a favorite in the museum’s contemporary Southern art collection since 2000.
When the museum presents its 21st gala on Friday, March 7, patrons will have the first look at a grand selection of Bartlett’s paintings, along with an exhibit of works by his wife, Betsy Eby. And while both artists lean toward the large-scale format, their creations could not be more different.
A native of Columbus, Ga., Bartlett is a realist painter with a modernist vision, often compared with his artistic mentor and friend Andrew Wyeth. At age 19 he traveled to Italy where he studied under Ben Long, and later studied at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He also studied liberal arts at the University of Pennsylvania and filmmaking at New York University.
In the book Bo Bartlett, Heartland, Columbus Museum director Tom Butler described Bartlett’s work as celebrating “the underlying epic nature of the commonplace and the personal significance of the extraordinary.”
Eby was born in Oregon and earned a degree in art history at the University of Oregon. After graduation, she lived briefly in Tokyo and was deeply influenced by Japanese history and culture. Her lyrical abstract paintings also reflect her passion for music and nature, drawing on the movement of living things and visual forms.She works in encaustic, a complex process involving pigmented beeswax, layered and torched and painted, to build a glistening sculptural surface.
Works by Bartlett and Eby can be found in major public and private collections throughout the country. They now spend winter months in Georgia, where he is active with the new Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University, and they summer on an island off the coast of Maine.
Gala patrons will have the opportunity to meet both artists. For ticket information, call (706) 724-7501.The exhibits will be on view through June 1.
Sunday, March 9 at 2 p.m., there will be a screening of the film, SEE, an Art Road Trip, featuring Bartlett and Eby, and a discussion with the artists.
SACRED HEART CULTURAL Center will open an exhibit of paintings by Mary Houston on March 13, with a reception planned for 5 to 7 p.m. Houston’s interest in art began early when she accompanied her mother and grandmother to their art lessons. She credits artist/teachers Bea Kuhlke and Lamar Dodd as major influences.
After raising five children, she is dedicated to painting full-time. She enjoys donating her art to various charitable organizations in the Southeast and currently exhibits her work in Beaufort, S.C. The reception is free.
THE GERTRUDE HERBERT Institute of Art will present the eighth annual Spring Artists Market and Festival March 14-21, offering a full week of activities for all ages. An exhibit and sale of works by area artists will kick off the festival with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. March 14. Guests will receive a discount on purchases in the artists market during that time. The works will remain on view and be available for purchase through the following Friday.
Some 30 artists will display and sell their work in the main gallery of the institute. The selection will include sculpture, photography, ceramics, paintings, drawings and prints. There will also be a boutique section featuring smaller works priced at $100 or less.
A family-friendly festival will be held Saturday, March 15, at the institute with face-painting and hands-on activities for children as well as artist demonstrations and gallery browsing for adults. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and admission is free. For more information, call (706) 722-5945.
CONGRATULATIONS: Friends and fans of artist Edward Rice were delighted to hear he will receive the 2014 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award in the Arts given by the South Carolina Arts Commission. That’s the highest arts honor presented by the state and recognizes outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina.
Born and raised in North Augusta, where he maintains his studio, Rice is particularly well known for his depictions of the vernacular architecture of the Southeast. His work is in numerous collections including the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, the Columbia Museum of Art, South Carolina State Museum, Morris Museum of Art and Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, as well as in dozens of collections around the country and overseas. See his work at edwardriceart.com.
The award will be presented in a midday Statehouse ceremony May 8, following the South Carolina Arts Gala the evening of May 7. Visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com for more information.
GRU PROFESSOR Brian Rust has won a sculpture commission to be completed in Lexington, Ky., this spring. The project, Ecoart 2014, called for artwork to address issues of recycling or awareness of the natural world. In an e-mail, Rust described his proposal as a series of large outdoor photographs to be installed in Raven Run Nature Sanctuary: “They will be 8 x 8 foot images of natural objects (birds, nests, stones, leaves) along with images of manmade things that can wear out and be recycled or repurposed (bottles, clothing, electronic equipment).
The images, he said, will offer a contrast to the natural landscape and prompt viewers to rethink the notion of landscapes and how we use them, since the nature park itself is on the site of a former dump.
Rust also had a sculpture titled Ascending Balance take a merit award in the Lagrange, Ga. XXVIII national juried show, which will put the work into the exhibition catalog. There were 1,100 entries from across the country for juror Annette Cone Skelton to review. The exhibit runs through April 18 at the LaGrange Art Museum and LaGrange College.
• Artists presented with awards and scholarships at the GRU Juried Student Art exhibition included: Justin Edwards, Gertrude Herbert Institute Award; Declan Konesky, Morris Museum of Art Award; Heather Howard and Matthew Wieberdink, the Frances Eugenia Comer Scholarship; Sara Mays, the Sam and Sarah Singal Scholarship; Anna Patrick, April Hockman and Melissa Sommer, Katherine Reese Pamplin scholarships; Brittain McCall and Erin Dukes, the Bindler scholarships; Jennifer Johnson, the Lillian Rosen Scholarship; Nicholas Atkins, the Philip Morsberger purchase award; Kiersten Rockwell, Susanna Bondar and Eleanor Schehl, the Studio Art Foundations award. Sarah McCollum, Elizabeth Kenyon and Stephanie Willingham received Studio Art Foundations certificates of recognition.
ALSO OF NOTE: An opening reception is planned March 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Arts and Heritage Center for the city’s SpringFest Art Competition. Award winners will be announced during the event. The following day, the North Augusta camellia show will be on display in the atrium from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Augusta artist and musician Lillie Morris will be the speaker for the March 10 Aiken Artist Guild in the Brown Pavilion at the Aiken Center for the Arts. The meeting, open to the public, begins at 6:30 p.m. with a social gathering, followed by the presentation at 7 p.m.
• The Friends of the Jessye Norman School of the Arts will present the second annual Purses for a Purpose fundraising event March 13 at 7 p.m. at Richmond on Greene, 725 Greene St. The fundraiser includes a live auction of celebrity-donated purses and designer purses, a silent auction of fashion-forward purses and a “community gifting” of “gently used” purses to the Salvation Army Center for Hope. Tickets are available by calling (706) 836-3058.
• Friends of Augusta’s beloved author, the late Starkey Flythe, know he was an avid collector of decorative arts and antiques. Objects from his eclectic collection will be among the estate items to be auctioned March 21-22 at Charlton Hall in Columbia. Previews will begin with a reception March 25 from 4 to 7 p.m. See www.charltonhall-auctions.com for details.