Tag Archives: Art

The Art of Creativity: Scott Thorp joins GRU

Scott Thorp has big plans for Georgia Regents University’s Department of Art, and creativity plays a huge role in what he aims to do.

Thorp, recently named chair of the art department, joined the university in July. Previously, he worked at the Savannah College of Art and Design as a professor and as design coordinator for the school of foundation studies, which focuses on producing well-rounded, capable, creative professionals.

During his time at SCAD, Thorp helped countless students hone their craft, but he also discovered something about himself. He wanted to do more.

“I had a mission change a few years ago,” said Thorp. “Private schools reach a certain part of the population, and they do it well. But state schools cater to a wider selection of students, and that’s what I wanted – to work with a wider selection of students.”

When he saw that GRU was looking for a new art chair, he said the job seemed “just perfect.”

“The way the merger was timed, the way the transition was behind everyone, the art department was looking for a chair,” he said. “Coming on board has been a win-win for me. I’ve really enjoyed every minute of it.”

GRU, in turn, stands to gain a lot from Thorp.

A New Orleans native, Thorp was raised in Atlanta. He attended Georgia State University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. Later, he attended the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he received his master’s, also in drawing and painting.

After graduating from MICA, Thorp lived and worked as an exhibiting artist in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. There, he said he lived fairly well, though he admitted he made his money in a nonconventional way.

“I was locked in with an architect renovating buildings in D.C.,” said Thorp. “He would come in and buy big paintings for these buildings, which, for artists, are always the hardest to sell.”

After more than a decade of living as an exhibiting artist, Thorp moved to Savannah to begin teaching at SCAD. There, far removed from the artistic culture of bigger cities, Thorp said his studio practice diminished. But something else rose to take its place.

“My writing practice evolved until I became a contributing writer and contributing editor for Art Pulse Magazine, an international art magazine,” said Thorp. “I write and edit for them pretty regularly.”

Thorp also began working on a book that covers his specialty, creativity. The book, “A Curious Path: Creativity in an Age of Abundance” is currently in need of a content editor, but Thorp is hopeful his ideas will sell. After all, that’s just what he spent years teaching his students how to do.

At SCAD, Thorp developed courses and a curriculum around creativity and collaboration, two of the most important educational aspects at SCAD. He said his classes were “training wheels,” in a sense, for students looking to participate in more in-depth programs like those offered at SCAD’s Collaborative Learning Center.

“So, SCAD has the Collaborative Learning Center, which is a pretty active thing,” said Thorp. “SCAD gets these big corporations to come in and fund classes, and students solve problems for these corporations and then come out the other side.”

It was a way for students to learn the practicality of creativity, and a way for them to better understand how to ply it as a trade. That particular problem, Thorp says, hounds creatives. Thankfully, all creatives come with a built-in problem solver: their own creativity.

“We live in an era in which you need creative thinking skills, skills related to design, problem-solving with ill-defined problems,” said Thorp. “In those courses, we really specialized in how to help students generate more ideas first, how to tell what those ideas were about, how to select the best ones, and how to prototype them after.”

The end goal? Creating the best idea possible while maintaining a high level of creativity.

Measuring that creativity, though, was initially a challenge.

“We eventually came up with a definition for creativity,” said Thorp. “We said that creativity was creating something novel, meaning different, and useful, meaning it actually functions in some way.”

Unfortunately, though, not everyone was happy with Thorp having a definition of creativity.

“The funny thing about creativity is that you can really lock it down into strategies and functions really easily,” he said. “Most people like it to be ambiguous, though, so it seems more mysterious. But, really, it becomes more magical when you define it because then people can actually utilize it.”

Another challenge was teaching students the difference between creativity and expression.

“The expression of an idea, if you’re expressive, is your ability to communicate some kind of content, but it can be the same content that’s been created for years,” said Thorp. “So if I paint a really curvy expressive line, it doesn’t mean that that line is a different line from other lines, it just means it has a certain expression quality.”

Art, Thorp says, doesn’t have to be creative to be good. But creativity sells, and that is the essence of his plan for the art department.

“We want to create a creative community,” he said. “Within the department, within the city, with the alumni – everything like that. It’s going to be a larger creative community that we start to generate.”

Thorp’s hope is that if Augusta begins to sell itself as a more creative community, the attention will draw in more students.

“If we have a creative community in the city, including art and design, then art students will want to come here and they’ll want to stay,” he said. “We have a growth model, and we want to grow. And we want to continually improve and continuously support students and faculty in any way we can.”

Thorp says he’s confident his department can live up to that model, especially with the aid of donors like Mary S. Byrd and the Morris Family.

“There’s a lot of support from the community,” said Thorp. “I know I’m being very complimentary, but it’s true – I think the vibe around here is a real positive one.”

Goldsleger appointed Morris Eminent Scholar in Art

3. Goldsleger_Azimuth_2012_mixed_media_on_linen_70_x_62_inches
Azimuth 2012, mixed media on linen, 70×62 inches, by Cheryl Goldsleger

Cheryl Goldsleger, whose art is exhibited throughout the United States and internationally, has been appointed Georgia Regents University’s Morris Eminent Scholar in Art.

Goldsleger’s drawings and paintings are featured in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the High Museum in Atlanta, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and other important public and private collections.

Her awards include two National Endowment for the Arts Artist Fellowships, a Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art Fellowship, a residency at the La Napoule Foundation in southern France and a US/France exchange fellowship at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris.

Her work has also been discussed in an extensive list of publications including Art in America, Artforum, Art News and The New York Observer.

“It is a great honor for me to have been named the Morris Eminent Scholar in Art,” said Goldsleger. “Georgia Regents University and the Morris Museum of Art are highly distinguished institutions and being affiliated with them as the Morris Eminent Scholar is a wonderful, unique opportunity.”

Goldsleger is known for her elegant encaustic paintings. Her commissioned mosaic, “Crossroads,” can be seen at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 2013, she created a series of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and a series of six videos for The National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. The videos, based on medicine, engineering, mathematics, physics, astronomy, and nature, were created as a virtual companion piece to the exhibition.

Goldsleger earned her Master of Fine Arts from Washington University in St. Louis in 1975. Prior to that, she attended Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in Rome, and received her Bachelor in Fine Arts from the Philadelphia College of Art in 1973. Goldsleger has lived in Athens, Georgia since 1977. She taught previously at Georgia State University, Georgia Piedmont College and Western Carolina University.

“My creative research engages a spectrum of ideas that mesh with the humanities, the sciences and the medical research priorities of GRU,” she said. “I am excited and looking forward to getting involved with students, the university community at-large, the Morris Museum and the greater Augusta arts community in this position.”

For more information about Cheryl Goldsleger, please visit her website, www.cherylgoldsleger.com.

To watch the National Academy of Sciences video regarding medicine, click here.

To view a gallery of Goldsleger’s work, click here.

Mayor declared June 19 Philip Morsberger Day

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis honored former Morris Eminent Scholar Philip Morsberger for his contributions to the local art community by proclaiming Friday, June 19, Philip Morsberger Day.

“It is not just his gifts as a great painter and fine teacher that have benefited Augusta so greatly, it was his decision to remain here after his term as the William S. Morris Eminent Scholar in Art at Augusta State University (now Georgia Regents University) ended, working among us and representing Augusta brilliantly elsewhere, that has really identified him as a favorite son,” Davis said. “Whether adopted or not, he is a great Augustan and a wonderful ambassador for our city. We take great pride in his continuing presence here.”

Morsberger was named the Morris Eminent Scholar in 1996, holding the endowed professorship until 2001. Since then, he’s remained in Augusta, exhibiting both nationally and internationally.

According to Morris Museum director Kevin Grogan, the museum celebrated Philip Morsberger Day by offering free admission.

“No public institution anywhere has enjoyed the support of such a staunch and abiding friend as the Morris Museum has had in Philip Morsberger,” Grogan said. “We share the mayor’s salute and wish him all the best.”

Visiting artist LiHong Li on display at Morris Museum of Art

IMG_9136_mr1427515369885The Chinese artistic tradition is one of the world’s oldest and most storied institutions.

Divided into two classifications – that of a “Northern,” more realistic school, and a “Southern,” more interpretive style – Chinese art typically focuses on the relationship between nature and the self. One of the most easily recognized forms of Chinese art is shuǐ mò huà, otherwise known as ink wash painting.

Also known as sumi-e or literati painting, shuǐ mò huà is a popular Southern style that focuses on the use of quick, deliberate brush strokes in order to create richly detailed works with the feel of traditional watercolor paintings.

LiHong Li, an artist visiting Georgia Regents University from Nanjing, China, is an expert in the art of shuǐ mò huà. Over the course of her career, she has created a series of beautiful works using only water-thinned ink and animal hair brushes – the traditional tools of the literati painter.

Alan MacTaggart, an art professor at GRU, said Li’s visit has been very enlightening.

“To date, Mrs. Li has given lectures for both Humanities 2001 and 2002,” said MacTaggart. “She taught my Drawing II class, covering traditional Chinese techniques in watercolor. After that, she led students in a calligraphy demonstration.”

MacTaggart said Li’s artwork is very popular among his students.

Li mastered the art of shuǐ mò huà while studying at the University of Nanjing Art College and Nanjing Normal University, both of which are located in her hometown of Nanjing. Currently, she lives with her husband near Shanghai, and teaches at Jiangsu University of Science and Technology.

Li’s work is on display at the Morris Museum of Art until June 21. Her exhibition, titled “From Nanjing to Augusta: The Aesthetic Conception of Chinese Painting,” encourages viewers to reflect upon their own spirit to help them find their spiritual balance.



Mad Potters End of Semester Pottery Sale

Mad Potters end of semester pottery sale. Will be held on the Summerville campus Wednesday, April 22-24 from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. And on Saturday, April 25 during lunch for the Alumni weekend. Look for the white tent outside the Jaguar Student Activities Center.

For more information, call Carol Cross at 706-667-4888.

Phi Kappa Phi to host Research and Fine Arts Conference

Celebrating student success is the theme of the 16th Annual Student Research and Fine Arts Conference being held at Georgia Regents University on Wednesday, March 18.

The conference, sponsored by GRU’s chapter of the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, will kick off at noon in the Jaguar Student Activities Center (JSAC) Ballroom followed by presentations in designated locations throughout the JSAC.

The Student Research and Fine Arts Conference is an opportunity for all undergraduate students at Georgia Regents University, regardless of discipline, to showcase their scholarly and artistic endeavors.

The conference is free and open to the public. For more information or to view a complete conference schedule, go to http://www.gru.edu/students/ssd/pkp_researchconference.php


Art talk opens Juried Student Exhibition at Mary S. Byrd Gallery of Art this Thursday

Renowned artists Tom Crowther and Philip Morsberger will kick off the 2015 GRU Juried Art Student Exhibition award ceremony with an art talk at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19, in Room 170 of University Hall.

The GRU Juried Student Exhibition 2015 features 34 works by 17 artists in a range of mediums, such as painting, drawing, photography, collage, sculpture, ceramics, and fiber. The invited jurors, Karen Strelecki, director of the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art, and Kristi Jilson, director of the Westobou Festival, made this selection from close to 300 submitted works created by GRU’s talented student artists.

The exhibition will be on display at the Mary S. Byrd Gallery of Art from Feb. 17-March 2.

An opening reception in the gallery will follow the art talk and award ceremony.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, click here.

Art professor inspired by nature sanctuary

A public art installation by Professor of Art Brian Rust was selected for EcoArt 2014, a Lexington, Ky.-based program that seeks to increase awareness of environmental issues through art.

Rust’s Signs of Change/No Away was unveiled by  LexArts and Lexington’s Department of Environmental Quality and Public Works in October. Inspired by and created for Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, the installation features a series of eight large photographs built onto mobile free standing sculptural bases. They can be seen from multiple angles, allowing viewers to orient themselves to see the images “appear” and “disappear” as they move around the site.

“Each image “goes away” as a viewer moves to the side.  This brings up the notion of all materials going away (as in town away) when they don’t actually go away, it is the viewer that doesn’t see them anymore,” Rust said in his artist statement. “Signs of Change/No Away promotes an interest/ awareness of natural and recycled materials.  I wanted the photos to have both an interactive quality but also a sense of mystery to them.  I want people to be attracted and puzzled by them.”

More than 100 artists applied for the public art program. Sixteen finalists were chosen. Rust’s project was one of just three selected for installation. View a gallery of the installation or learn more about EcoArt. 

GRU presents On and Off the Wall exhibit

The Georgia Regents University Art Department will host its “On and Off the Wall” art exhibit and reception on Tuesday, Dec. 2, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the Mary S. Byrd Gallery of Art and The Dome Room in Washington Hall.

The exhibit will feature the work of first-year art majors, art minors, and non-majors currently enrolled in the Freshman Studio Seminar and Sculpture and Design classes.

For students, the exhibit marks the completion of a major project.

Students in the 3-D Design Art discipline were asked to create a freestanding sculpture utilizing parts of a human body cast in plaster. Along the way, they faced the challenge of discovering ways to unite plaster casts and additional materials into a thought-provoking, cohesive whole. Students in the 2-D discipline were tasked with a variety of assignments tailored to their stated career goals.

In addition to showcasing student talent, the “On and Off the Wall” exhibit will also provide an opportunity for students to receive additional feedback from a broader audience.

This exhibit will be open to the public.

Photographer Andrew Moore gives artist talk Thursday

Photographer Andrew Moore will give an artist talk at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16, in University Hall, room 170, on the Summerville campus of Georgia Regents University.

The talk will be followed by a reception in Washington Hall, room 116.

Moore is best known for his large format photographs of Cuba, Russia, Times Square, Detroit, and most recently, the American High Plains. He graduated from Princeton University in 1979 where he studied with the esteemed photographer Emmet Gowin as well as the photo historian Professor Peter Bunnell.  Moore’s photographs are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the George Eastman House and the Library of Congress amongst many others.  His publications include Cuba (2012), Detroit Disassembled (2010), Russia; Beyond Utopia (2005), Governors Island (2004) and Inside Havana (2002).He currently teaches a graduate seminar in the MFA Photography Video and Related Media program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Learn more at gru.edu/byrd.