A close-up of an untitled Philip Morsberger piece. Courtest photo
A close-up of an untitled Philip Morsberger piece. Courtest photo

Philip Morsberger’s works are focus of a joint art exhibition

Matt Porter has fond memories of visiting Philip Morsberger’s art studio on Reynolds Street.

“I got to know him on visits to his studio,” said Porter, the executive director of Westobou who spent many years at the Morris Museum of Art.

An untitled oil on canvas by Philip Morsberger. Courtesy photo

 On Friday, April 5, a special joint exhibition of Morsberger’s art will open with a preview at Westobou Gallery and a reception at CANDL Fine Art.

During Porter’s visits, which were usually part of an event by the Morris Museum, Porter got to see another side of the late artist who died in January 2021 from complications with COVID.

“After we’d wrap up those visits, we’d stay round and drink a glass of wine,” he said. The two bonded over a love of a certain style of comics.

That Reynolds Street studio was a place where Morsberger created during his more than 20 years in Augusta as well as stored many of his earlier works. Morsberger came to Augusta as the Morris Eminent Scholar in the Visual Arts at Augusta University in 1996 but stayed on long after leaving the position.

Morsberger received his bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Tech, now Carnegie Mellon University and studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing at the University of Oxford in England in 1958 on the GI Bill. He returned to Oxford from 1971 to 1984 as the first American named as a Ruskin Master of Drawing.

The exhibition is divided into two distinct themes.

At Westobou, “Works on Paper” will feature a collection of Morsberger’s drawings and studies.

“There are figure drawings with models back from the 60s to the 90s,” he said. “There are works on paper and items saved in his portfolios.”

 And many of these pieces have never been exhibited, he said.

 Also, there are calendars that Morsberger created for practical purposes, but they show his artistry.

 These works will be on sale.

From 5 to 7 p.m. April 5, visitors to the gallery can preview them.

Across Broad Street at CANDL Fine Art will be Color! Color! Color!

Philip Morsberger. Photo credit: Jerry Siegler

“There’s too much for one venue to show correctly,” said Drake White of CANDL.

Curated by artist Edward Rice, this exhibition highlights 12 paintings; two of which are on loan, but the other 10 will be for sale.

“It’s a beautiful show,” said White. “It’s so colorful.”

White and Porter said there are talks about having a panel discussion with some of those people who knew Morsberger well, but a date has not been set.

An opening reception will be from 6 to 8 p.m. April 5 at CANDL Fine Art.

The works will be on display through May 17.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for more than 35 years. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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