Feature Articles

December 2011

Pickens County Museum in Pickens SC, Features Works by Tom, Mark and Morgan Flowers

The Pickens County Museum of Art & History in Pickens, SC, will present the exhibit, Flowers – Tom, Mark, Morgan: Three Generations of Art, featuring works from this family of artists, on view from Dec. 3 through Feb. 9, 2012. A reception will be held on Dec. 3, from 6-8pm.

This exhibition will highlight the work of Tom Flowers (83), Mark Flowers (56), and Morgan Higby-Flowers (27). The artwork ranges from paintings, mixed media constructions, digital prints, to digital video art. Tom Flowers, who was Professor of Art at Furman University for 30 years, is the father of Mark Flowers and the grandfather of Morgan Higby-Flowers. Each of the Flowers have their Master of Fine Arts degree. Tom received his from the University of Iowa in 1955, Mark’s received his from Western Michigan University in 1979, and Morgan has recently received his degree from Alfred University in the spring of 2011.

The show contains a wide range of media, each representing a generation’s attempt at visual explorations. Tom’s work is deeply rooted in the tradition of surface, texture, and color. Mark’s work is of constructed panels and narrative imagery and Morgan’s work is a cutting edge leap of digital imagery, both static and in motion. Each generation seeks their own path, yet common denominators can be discovered in the exhibition.

Tom Flowers, now living in Dacusville, SC, received his bachelor’s degree from Furman University and his MFA from the University of Iowa. He taught at Ottawa University in Kansas and East Carolina University in NC, before coming to Furman University where he spent most of his career as Art Professor and head of the Art Department. Now Professor Emeritus of Art at Furman University, Flowers has been awarded a plethora of prizes over his career. The South Carolina State Museum selected Tom as one of the “100 Artists in 100 Years” celebration and exhibition in the year 2000.

About his work Tom says, “First of all I am an artist. I have a passion for life and nature, and I express it through my art. I paint and I sculpt. I observe as much as I can see, and I am always looking for things or visions that I can use effectively in my art work. I work on something visual every day; either sketching or painting a watercolor in my sketchbook, chipping away at a current sculpture project, or putting paint on canvas or paper. Life is always a learning experience for me.”

Mark E. Flowers earned his BFA in Studio Arts from The University of South Carolina in 1977 and his MFA in Painting from Western Michigan University in1979. Following his academic career, he has exhibited his work throughout the US and in Europe. His art teaching career parallels his art making. He has taught art at the Prep-school and postsecondary levels for more than 33 years including the Savannah College of Art and Design and most recently at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania.

While pursuing dual careers, he has served as a town councilman, volunteer firefighter, Little League baseball coach and president of a community recreational board. With his artist/wife, Kristy Higby, they have raised two sons, Carson and Morgan, who are now off learning to be artists themselves. Mark has spent his adult life pursuing his art, teaching and serving his community. He and Kristy currently reside in a cabin just north of Asheville, NC, where they also built 1650 sq. ft. studio. Now “commuting” between their teaching jobs in Pennsylvania and their North Carolina home, they hope to soon be full time residents of the creative community of Western North Carolina.

When asked about his work, Mark said, “At the beginning of my career, my life, my stories and my paintings were simple in content: images of palm trees in my yard, river rocks from mountain streams, applied saturated Southern colors and simple compositions served as primitive memory keepers.” He continued, “As my life evolves my work evolves. Now, I visually report my experiences as an artist, teacher, husband, and father. My paintings serve as journals where I think, reflect, and react. Currently, I’m intrigued by the relationship of images and how they can read as a poetic narrative. When images as single thoughts are connected, they have more depth.”

Morgan Higby-Flowers received a BFA in new media, and arts & technology from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 2008 and his MFA in 2011 from The Electronic Integrated Arts program at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Upon graduation Morgan accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Electronic Media and Digital Art at Ball State University in Muncie, IN, where he currently resides.

About his work Morgan says, “My interests circulate around particular areas of the new media spectrum, specifically, work that incorporates appropriated technologies and discarded icons. I actively pursue encounters with exuberance and wonderment. By acquiring of new knowledge, obsolete technologies metamorphose in to potential new means of expression. My work is the visual representation of my navigation through new and different processes.”

The Pickens County Museum of Art & History is funded in part by Pickens County, members and friends of the museum and a grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings or call the Museum at 864/898-5963.

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