Augusta artists Philip Morsberger and Anita Huffington will present oil pastel drawings and bronze and stone sculptures respectively at if ART Gallery’s first exhibition of 2020. Morsberger’s figurative and abstract oil pastel drawings are from 2019. They are a selection from his massive recent output of drawings. Huffington will present classical-inspired bronze, wood and sandstone figurative sculptures from the 1994 – 2009 period.
“Art is a sacred undertaking. It strikes me more as a spiritual quest, an ongoing spiritual meditation. It is about asking questions and distrusting easy answers,” reveals Philip Morsberger about the making of art at his March 2014 Tedx Talks presentation. Morsberger’s bold strokes in his playful paintings mix a cacophony of colors, images and scribbled words into poetic works on paper. The “word-squalls” show the artist’s roots in comic effects but there is no recognizable connection of them to the images. “All of the terms are an excuse to move lines and colors around,” quoted Morsberger. On observation, his art seems exactly that— an energetic picture of moving lines and colors on a surface that fall even beyond it, as they intrude the space they occupy. The joining of process to whimsy is completely natural to what they appear.
Huffington, a Baltimore native, has been exhibiting her sculptures continuously since the mid-1970s. Her work is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Arkansas Art Center, the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, also in Arkansas, and other public collections. She has shown at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, Georgia’s Columbus Museum of Art and other museums, galleries and art centers. The book Anita Huffington, with photos by David Finn, was published in 2007.
The ethereal quality of Huffington’s sculptures remains noticeable even within the porous ghost torsos that represent her art. They are compositions that harness quietness and yet their housings of roughly hewn boulder pieces feel like they were extracted from a fairytale forest twenty minutes prior. Altogether still, and slightly haunting, the sculptures draw the viewer in with questions about form and notions toward Greek mythology. One may wonder if they are viewing a decaying female bodice or a large water creature spirit in flight, reinforcing ideas that sylph guardians are welcomed in the space. Both options are likable.
The Forms and Figures exhibition will run from January 25 – February 15, 2020, and will open with a reception on Saturday, January 25, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Artist’s Reception: SATURDAY, January 25, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
For more information, call (803) 238-2351.
if ART Gallery
1223 Lincoln St.
Columbia, SC 29201
Aimee Serafin, editor of the Augusta Family Magazine.