The Valdosta Daily Times
The Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts remembers an exquisite talent with the art works of Russell McRae.
A Brooks County native, McRae taught art at Valdosta State, taking the job in the 1960s, and eventually headed the then-college’s art department in the early 1980s.
In between, he joined the Army to fight in World War II. In the exhibit’s program, he’s quoted as having said, “I didn’t give much thought to joining the Army. If you were my age at the time of WWII, you went and fought for your country. No questions asked.”
During World War II, McRae flew 31 missions in West Berlin. “Despite the dangers involved in serving as tail gunner on big bombers, he survived, and found his wartime experience fascinating, attested to by all the people who heard his captivating stories,” according to the exhibit program.
After the war, he enrolled in the University of Georgia, studying art under the famed Lamar Dodd. He taught in Kentucky and Florida before returning to South Georgia.
The works shown in the current arts center exhibit are from McRae’s family collection. McRae’s canvases reveal an artist who not only understood a variety of artistic styles and manners of expression, but one who could execute each of them with mastery, insight and panache.
McRae’s “The Boxer” is a powerful dichotomy of bold design and subtle technique. “Faded Star” draws a viewer’s eye deeper into its fascinating layers and expressive style.
The Russell McRae show is worth not only a visit but multiple visits.
Artist and educator Russell McRae’s works are on display in the Roberta George Children’s Gallery; along with the Hispanic-American Visual Arts Project, Price-Campbell Foundation Gallery and Josette’s Gallery; Drawproject, Boyette Gallery;
Where: Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, 527 N. Patterson St.
Shows run through Feb. 20.
Gallery hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; closed Sundays and Mondays.
More information: Call (229) 247-2787; or visit turnercenter.org