This month, the Georgia Museum of Art will transport visitors to the warmth of California with the exhibition David Ligare: California Classicist, which will be on display through May 8.
Organized by the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California, the exhibition includes 76 paintings and drawings, mostly borrowed from the collection of the artist and other private lenders.
Born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1945, Ligare moved to California in the late 1970s and began painting large canvases inspired by Greco-Roman antiquity. The West Coast landscape and light form the background for images drawn from classical sources such as his paintings “Hercules Protecting the Balance Between Pleasure and Virtue,” “Orpheus” and “Penelope.”
Many of the paintings are on an extremely large scale; several measure nearly 10 feet wide, dwarfing the viewer and making for an in-person experience very different from looking at reproductions in a book or online.
“This exhibition brings something new to our schedule at the museum, partly because of the scale of the works (we’ve shown mostly smaller paintings lately) and partly because of Ligare’s neoclassical influences,” said Sarah Kate Gillespie, the museum’s curator of American art. “Whether landscape, still-life or character-based in subject, his paintings and drawings are precise, beautiful and timeless. We think students and visitors will be able to draw connections to many eras in art history from contemplating his work.”
Ligare’s work is also inspired by the poetry of Robinson Jeffers, which is the focus of the upcoming Big Read in Athens, organized by the College of Education’s language and literacy education department. A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Big Read encourages communities to read the same book and participate in related programs and discussion. The museum will have a small display of Jeffers-related works of art in conjunction with both the Big Read and David Ligare: California Classicist.