You have the remainder of this week to see “Triple Entendre,” the February exhibition in the gallery of Macon Arts Alliance on First Street. While there, be sure to check out the permanent collection and items for sale, all of which have been rearranged for easy access and to better appreciate the artists’ works.
The three participating artists in this month’s show are based in Georgia — two in Macon and one in Atlanta. David Baerwalde works in mixed media in his drawings, paintings and sculptures, with unusual results. His slices of cake on display in the gallery are cut from wood, then iced and textured with wax and paint. At first glance, they appear to be edible samples from a fine confectioner. In Atlanta, Baerwalde’s work is represented in public collections at the High Museum and at the Woodruff Arts Center.
David Sutton, a Middle Georgia native who worked as a scenic artist in the film industry for more than 20 years, has his studio in the Contemporary Arts Exchange on Mulberry Street. His canvases may be smaller than when he worked on movie sets, but his expressionist abstract paintings are nonetheless intuitive interpretations of his environment. A few of his smaller pieces, such as “The Thaw,” rely on layering paint with a palette knife, with a shimmering finish that resembles the result of the encaustic process.
Bruce Chase, whose studio is located at Macon Mud in Payne City, captures the sensuous female form with his torsos, embellished with sgraffito, adorned with leather, glazed to accentuate the roundness of the anatomy or shaped to convey an attitude. Educated as an attorney, Chase has worked in ceramics for several years, producing some fine pottery. However, we had not seen this more ambitious venture into the human form, which is well executed and well worth a visit to the gallery.
IT ALL STARTED WITH DAY TRIPS
According to Sonny Seals and George Hart, they have always moseyed down the roads less traveled to explore abandoned or forgotten rural areas of our state. Friends since they were boys, the two have co-authored “Historic Rural Churches of Georgia” (University of Georgia Press), a photographic journal of the results of their day trips around the state. Their concern for the preservation of the structures, with serious encouragement from friends, resulted in the publication of the book.
On Feb. 13, Seals and Hart spoke to the Macon Rotary Club about the book, which is now the flagship for their mission to educate Georgians and to spur interest in the preservation of what were once the anchors for small communities in Georgia.
As Hart told his audience that Monday, “the church was the social, economic and spiritual center of activity in these small towns” after the American Revolution opened the frontier for European settlers to own land for the first time in their lives. Very often, the church was one of the first structures erected in a settlement, giving the new landowners a sense of place and assurance of security.
The two friends established the website for Historic Rural Churches of Georgia, hrcga.org, in 2013, have a Facebook page with more than 50,000 followers, are digitally archiving the history of the buildings and are documenting the society that each structure defined.
On Saturdays, on Georgia Public Broadcasting, “Saving Grace,” a series of short videos about the authors’ documentation and preservation efforts airs at 7:50 p.m.
Hart, who graduated from Lanier High School in 1959, graduated from Emory University, served as an officer in the United States Navy and completed his master’s degree in business at Harvard University before he became a developer in Atlanta, focusing on restoration and preservation. That experience has served him well in his research. He related the times he has crawled under old churches to determine their ages based on the construction, specifically timber dimensions and methods used.
Seals, from Spartanburg, South Carolina, has family ties to the Augusta area, is a Georgia Tech alumnus, and is chairman of Eton Partners, an executive recruitment and interim management firm. The common denominator in their friendship and in their collaboration is a mutual fervor for saving Georgia’s most basic heritage — houses of worship.
An ancillary benefit of their research is the information about the people who inhabited the villages around the churches, found in the cemeteries on many of the church properties. Seals recounted finding the headstone of one of his ancestors, about whom he had little information, in a church yard near Augusta.
As former President Jimmy Carter says in the foreword to the new book, “To understand the history of Georgia, it is essential to understand the role that religion played in the lives of the people.” The handsome table top book is available in major book stores and on Amazon.com.