I have lived now over a year in Augusta, Georgia and it wasn’t until my sister visited that I learned of a worthy art museum in town. Within a few days of discovery, my wife and I made time to visit on a Saturday. It wasn’t until we were already at the front desk that we were informed that Sundays are free, however, the entrance fee was well worth the money.
Most of the artwork in the museum is traditional, dating from the 19th and early 20th century. The subject of the majority of the works are naturally focused on the deep south. There are exhibitions dedicated to Nineteenth-Century Portraits, The Civil War, Southern Stories, and Southerners at Play. I was most impressed with The Southern Landscape exhibition which contained works representing bayous, moss draped trees, waterfalls, and exotic palms. I have visited New Orleans, Charleston, and Savannah and I could see the character of each of those places represented in the paintings. Looking on the antiquated paintings I had a sense that our modern world is now missing a silence and freedom that once existed. It made me long for languid summer days rid of the incessant whir of traffic. Many of the works also seemed to capture a haunting mystery, reminding me that in those days there was still uncharted land and mystery. I enjoyed The Southern Landscape hall more than most displays I have seen in the various art exhibitions I have visited.
Two of the rooms in the Morris Museum of Art were dedicated to a temporary exhibition of a modern artist, James Michalopoulos. Michalopoulos’ paintings were vibrant, moderately distorted, and intelligent. The style is not one that I normally appreciate but I enjoyed this artists work and appreciated what he had captured in them. Many of the titles the artist chose for his works revealed a little more of the painting but not enough to ruin the interpretive mystery. The subjects of his paintings on display were often town houses and vehicles parked in the street. The few paintings that did portray people were very close and you could see the personality of the individual depicted. Michalopoulos’ works are on display at the Morris Museum of Art from February 18th to May 14th, 2017.
The Morris Museum of Art is not extensive but will take an interested viewer perhaps 40 minutes to walk through. With some time left to spare, my wife and I walked along Augusta’s river walk just outside the museum. Large beautiful homes line the opposite side of the canal and the river walk is well kept. A number of picnic tables where placed along the way, which seemed like a perfect place for an afternoon picnic. Despite it being a Saturday afternoon the walkway was relatively empty. For those passing through Augusta, Georgia I recommend visiting the Morris Museum of Art and leaving some extra time afterward to walk along the river.