Editor’s note: Because of the suspension of in-class instruction and to keep our community safe from COVID-19, viewing of this exhibition and related events may be impacted.
The UGA College of Environment and Design has scheduled a lecture and Circle Gallery exhibit by one of its graduates, Athens artist Philip Juras, as part of its 50th anniversary celebration. The lecture and opening reception for “The Art of Conservation: Paintings by Philip Juras” will take place in the Jackson Street Building, Room 123 for the lecture and the Circle Gallery, at 5 p.m. on March 4. Free and open to the public, the event is also presented as part of the UGA Earth Day 50th Anniversary celebration.
A native of Augusta, Georgia, Juras holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (1990) and a Master of Landscape Architecture degree (1997), both from the University of Georgia. He portrays the rich aesthetics of a wide range of ecologically intact environments, especially in the southeastern United States. In his artwork he combines direct observation with the study of the natural science and history of the site, an approach he attributes in large part to his experience at the CED.
“My time at the CED was formative in so many ways,” Juras said. “Synthesizing the envisioning and communicating skills imparted by my MLA professors with the training I received in the art school was excellent preparation for my later work. And studying with professor and Dean Emeritus Darrel Morrison, particularly in his plant communities class, gave tremendous depth to my vision of the natural landscape.”
Juras’ MLA thesis examined pre-settlement southeastern grasslands, a subject that continues to inspire his artwork. He credits Dorinda Dallmeyer, director emerita of the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program at CED, with providing him the opportunity to put his work before new viewers.
“Dorinda encouraged me to join her on a literary and visual art exploration of the world of William Bartram, which allowed me, for the first time, to reach a wide audience with my work and affect the way people see the nature I hold dear,” he said. “My hope is to promote a conservation ethic by showing people the beauty of these ecologically important places.”
In 2011 Juras’ exhibition, “The Southern Frontier, Landscapes Inspired by Bartram’s Travels,” opened at the Telfair Academy in Savannah, Georgia. With its corresponding award-winning exhibition book, it explored the Southern wilderness as William Bartram documented it in the 1770s. “The Wild Treasury of Nature, A Portrait of Little St. Simons Island” opened in 2016 at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta. That exhibition and accompanying book examined the natural environments of one of the most ecologically intact barrier islands on the East Coast. His 2017 exhibition, “Landscapes of Chingaza (Paisajes de Chingaza),” celebrating conservation of the high elevation environments of Colombia’s Chingaza National Park, was shown in Bogotá, Colombia, and Washington, D.C. His next exhibition, “Picturing the Prairie,” celebrates the restoration and preservation of tallgrass prairie ecosystems in Illinois and will be on display from May 8 to Sept. 20, 2020, at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
“The Art of Conservation: Paintings by Philip Juras” will be on view in the Circle Gallery from March 4 to April 30, 2020. For more information about the exhibit and lecture, or for directions, please contact Melissa Tufts, director, Owens Library and Circle Gallery, at email@example.com or call 706-542-8292.