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Richard Aunspaugh - A Retrospective: A Lifelong Look at an Artist's Work

"Richard Aunspaugh- A Retrospective," will be on display through Feb. 27, 2004, in the William W. Fincher and Eunice L. Fincher Visual Arts Center at Reinhardt College in Waleska, Ga.chard Aunspaugh - A Retrospective: A Lifelong Look at an Artist's Work

From realistic watercolors of coastal Georgia docks to multi-media works featuring dryer lint (yes, the fuzzy stuff you usually throw away).  From large oil or acrylic paintings of fish or mullet fishermen to three-dimensional works complete with chains, a light bulb or a mannequin leg.  In summing up a lifetime of work by Richard Aunspaugh, who will retire from Young Harris College in 2005 after 32 years of teaching art, you have to use lots of commas and conjunctions because no one descriptor summarizes it all.

 "Richard Aunspaugh- A Retrospective," which is open to the public free of charge in the William W. Fincher and Eunice L. Fincher Visual Arts Center at Reinhardt College in Waleska, Ga., features a wide variety of media, including graphite and ink drawings, oil and acrylic paintings, watercolors, mono-prints, etchings, collagraphs and mixed media assemblages.

Aunspaugh describes the exhibit as using a variety of approaches, from very realistic to abstraction, all of which represent different phases of his creative activity and show how his evolution as an artist. Some use the same stimulus or subject, but the artwork represents them in varied forms. With inspiration from great artists like Rauschenberg, Van Gogh, and Miro, he reflects that art history has driven his art as much as anything. He anticipates that those viewing his exhibit will see that art can be expressed in a realistic way or in a very abstract manner. "An artist can use elements of line, shape, color, and value in many different ways to make an art work," he said.

Longtime friend and colleague Reinhardt Art Professor Curtis Chapman invited Aunspaugh to Reinhardt because he had witnessed Aunspaugh maturing in his work over their 40+-year friendship. "His work has a tremendous diversity, and I thought this show would be a good send off. It is impressive to see his whole life's work to date, and though his work is part of his legacy, his true legacy must also include the students with whom he has worked over the years."

Early in his career, Aunspaugh designed textiles, but he soon turned to teaching. Over the years, he has appreciated the studio time and study and travel opportunities presented by a career in higher education. He has dedicated his career to art education because he truly enjoys working with students. "It keeps you young," he said. He and Chapman share a common beginning at LaGrange College, where they both earned art degrees in the early 1960s. They also share a common art education mentor at LaGrange, Ezra Sellers, a personality well known for his leadership in the art world at LaGrange College and in the surrounding community.

Aunspaugh also has a master's of art education from New York University and a master's in fine arts from the Milton and Sally Avery Graduate School of Fine Arts Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. He has had Fulbright scholarships to study in Belgium and the Netherlands and has had works in a wide range of exhibitions across the United States from New York and Boston to San Francisco and in native South.

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