The Beaufort Art Association will feature an exhibition of recent paintings and prints by Joan Templer at the BAA Gallery in the historic Elliott House at 1001 Bay Street in downtown Beaufort. The exhibit, entitled AFRICA REVISITED, will be on view from May 14 through June 21, 2008. A reception for the artist will be held at the BAA Gallery on Friday, May 16 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Joan received classical art training at Natal University in her native South Africa. She received considerable recognition there, winning the prestigious Oppenheimer Award in painting, as well as a commission to create a large vitreous enamel mural for the Johannesburg Airport. Stimulated by the works of the European painters Alberto Burri and Antonio Tapies, Joan began to break away from the formality of her training to experiment with abstract art. Her work was further developed when she and her family moved to New York in l969, where she could easily view the work of Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and other Abstract Expressionists. But the textural effects of Tapies and Burri have continued their powerful influence throughout Joan Templer’s long, dedicated, and distinguished career as an artist.

After Joan’s husband, John, completed his doctorate in architecture at Columbia University in New York, the family moved to Atlanta where both John and Joan became professors within the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech. When she was first hired, the Dean of the college, tired of the sterile, outmoded techniques that architecture students used when presenting their designs, asked her to find new, innovative ways by experimenting with various media and processes. Excited by such an interesting directive, she developed a large studio at Tech, giving students the opportunity to use etching presses, air brushes, welding equipment, computers, and sculpture tools − approaches that would enable them to generate two-dimensional images and three-dimensional models of their projects. Joan acknowledges that “this was a dream for me,” one she enjoyed for nearly twenty years before the couple retired to Beaufort.

“This history,” Joan adds, “may help to explain why my own work is so varied. For the life of me, I can’t repeat anything I have already completed to my satisfaction. I’m always playing the ‘what if?’ game with myself. What if I try this technique combined with that approach?” Experimentation through a restless dialogue between technique, material, and subject matter, informed by the content of the subconscious mind, the aesthetic control from learned theories, and technical know-how produces the imaginative and impeccable results that characterize her creations.

Most of the paintings in the exhibit have been inspired by a revisit to Africa. This started on a cruise ship that originated in Genoa, Italy, and then passed south through the Suez Canal, sailed along the Sinai Peninsula and docked in Jordan. There the Templers visited the remarkable rock city, Petra. The cruise continued to Egypt, and then all the way down the east coast of the continent to South Africa, Joan’s birthplace. Joan’s work can be viewed locally at the Beaufort Art Association Gallery and the Charles Street Gallery. The BAA Gallery hours are 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday. The works of over 75 member artists are on exhibit − including paintings, photographs, jewelry, glass, ceramics and note cards. For more information please call the office at 379-2222