Monday, February 16, 2009

UGA College of Environment and Design Circle Gallery presents A Pleasant Territory: Grasslands in the Southeast

Philip Juras (MLA 1997, BFA 1990) will exhibit his paintings of the southeast grasslands in the University of Georgia College of Environment and Design Circle Gallery March 2-27. A reception for the exhibit will be held on Friday, March 6, from 5-8 p.m.

“There are qualities to be found in natural grassland settings that are unparalleled in the southeastern landscape,” Juras said. “When you gaze into the unobstructed open space, your view is flooded with light and atmosphere and its interplay in the fine textures in the ground plane. Your open field of vision offers pathways for your mind to wonder at the lay of the land, the arrangement of trees and clouds, the patterns of vegetation, and even what lies beyond the horizon.

“It may begin to occur to you that these sublime arrangements of nature are no accident. In fact they specifically describe the underlying natural conditions and record a history of repeated disturbance such as fire, flood, and/or drought. In the southeast, where fire in particular has been removed from the landscape, the existence of grasslands as a widespread environment has been largely forgotten. In the rare instance where disturbances have persisted, there is an opportunity to glimpse the pre-European southeast, a territory in which fire was particularly widespread,” Juras added.

According to Juras, some idea of the pre-settlement environment can be gleaned from descriptions by early explorers such as Bartram, Lederer, Lawson, Spangenberg and Byrd. Juras combined their accounts with an examination of modern grassland remnants to paint a picture of the “pleasant territory” explored in this exhibit.

The Circle Gallery is located at G14 Caldwell Hall and is open 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, or by appointment. This exhibit and reception is free and open to the public.

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