Inspired Georgia: 28 Works from Georgia's State Art Collection


Inspired Georgia features twenty-eight works, including drawings, etchings, mixed-media pieces, paintings, photographs, woodblock prints, and woodcuts, all selected from the more than 600 works that make up Georgia's State Art Collection. The pieces, produced between the 1960s and 1990s, include examples of folk art, abstract and realist painting, landscapes, and portraiture. In the words of Georgia governor Nathan Deal, the Inspired Georgia exhibition was launched to encourage citizens around the state "to learn more about Georgia's artistic heritage and artists, to celebrate local arts and culture community, and to explore and support the power of art and culture in shaping the future of Georgia."

From October 2013 to December 2014 the exhibition traveled to nine venues across Georgia, including the Quinlan Arts Center in Gainesville, the Dogwood City Art Gallery in Tallapoosa, and the Georgia Museum of Agriculture at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton. The exhibition and accompanying catalog were sponsored by the Georgia Council for the Arts, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Georgia Humanities Council, and the Georgia Museum of Art.

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The Inspired Georgia exhibition includes an array of paintings in oil, acrylic, enamel, and watercolor. Michael Junkin's Bolinas 3 and David Mudrinich's Morning from Mount Yonah and Atlanta Outer Orbit, 1989, all depict landscapes in oil on canvas. Junkin's painting is highly stylized, while Mudrinich's two pieces emphasize the relationship between earth and sky. The collection also includes the abstract acrylic pieces Dome, by Dick Baldwin; Untitled #74, by Herbert Creecy; and C Series #2, by Freddie L. Styles. Creecy is a highly regarded abstract expressionist, while Styles grounds his work in the rural experiences of his childhood. William Entrekin's watercolor portraits After Class and Poli Austen depict ordinary people in a quiet moment. Finally, the world-renowned folk artist Howard Finster's enamel painting In Visions of Another World transports his viewers to another dimension.

Drawings and Mixed Media

Creating work in a variety of media, the artists Benny Andrews, Howard Finster, Nellie Mae Rowe, and John T. Riddle Jr. all draw inspiration from personal and cultural experiences. Two pen-and-ink drawings by Madison native Andrews, Study #35 for Symbols and The Good Life, portray figures evocative of his childhood in rural Georgia. The mixed-media Angel #700.033 conjures the otherworldly themes for which Finster, a folk artist and self-proclaimed visionary, is widely known. Inspired by his visions, Finster transformed his home near Summerville into an outdoor museum called Paradise Garden. Rowe, another folk artist, also transformed her home in Vinings over several decades into an art installation featuring dolls, garden topiary, and recycled objects. There she created her colorful crayon-on-paper piece The Hiker. Riddle's mixed-media collage Clubs Is Trumps offers a collection of scenes exploring the trope of African American history and experience, which is characteristic of his work.

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All the photographs in the Inspired Georgia collection, except for one, are gelatin silver prints, developed using a technique that dates to the late nineteenth century. Frank Hunter's landscape Light Passage, however, is distinguished by the platinum/palladium process, which uses iron salts rather than silver salts to create a deep tonal range. The other photographers featured in the exhibition maintain the gelatin silver tradition through both landscape and portrait photography. The images of John McWilliams (Ireland '78 and Washington County, Georgia) and Lucinda Bunnen (Lonesome Walk) portray isolated or desolate natural landscapes, while Steven D. Foster records an urban scene in Multiple Exposures of City.

Renowned Athens-based portraitist Margo Newmark Rosenbaum collaborated with her husband, Art Rosenbaum, to capture folk musicians performing in Doc and Lucy Barnes with Kids Singing. Dennis Darling's portrait Atlanta Union Mission, Atlanta, Georgia, features a resident at a city shelter. Portraits of African American youth appear in Ted Kallman's Sampson Street, Atlanta, Georgia, and Joe, as well as in Spurge Smith's Black on Black. Edmund Marshall's The Kibitzer depicts a moment in the lives of elderly men.

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Prints and Etchings

Artworks created through several types of printmaking form an integral part of the Inspired Georgia exhibition. Ben Smith's woodblock print Suppliant immerses the viewer into a world of mythology and mystical rites, themes often explored in his larger body of work. Also featured is the woodcut Homage to Agee by Ruth Laxson, a highly regarded maker of artist's books. Night Games, created by Art Werger using the intaglio printmaking process, is an intricate etching of a neighborhood as seen from above.

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Explore the Collection
  • Introduction
  • Paintings
  • Drawings and Mixed Media
  • Photographs
  • Prints and Etchings
Cite This Article
Diaz, Laura. "Inspired Georgia: 28 Works from Georgia's State Art Collection." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 14 November 2018. Web. 07 September 2021.
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