Over the past 20 years, Margaret Ross Tolbert has created paintings, drawings and lithographs from studios in the United States, France and Turkey. Her commissions have included art projects with residencies in Turkey, Azerbaijan and Oman, allowing her to study and research the language and dance from the regions of the ancient trade routes as the subject of her art.
With her primary base in Gainesville, Fla., Tolbert’s other continuing focus remains the springs of North Florida, whose presence provides a warm sense of the ideal destination combined with the exotic that offers a real contrast to her paintings about journey and passage.
At noon Friday in Campbell Hall, room 160, at the U.Va. School of Architecture, with the Florida springs as her topic, Tolbert will present the keynote address for the fourth and final dialogue in the spring semester symposium, “After the Deluge.”
Made possible in part by grants from the U.Va. Arts Council and the Fiddlehead Fund, the symposium is presented by Kim Tanzer, dean of the School of Architecture, in conjunction with Jody Kielbasa, U.Va.’s vice provost for the arts and director of the Virginia Film Festival.
The dialogue component of the symposia consists of panel discussions pairing members of U.Va.’s faculty with nationally recognized artists and scientists. All symposium sessions are free and open to the public.
Tolbert received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts from the University of Florida, and brings to the “After The Deluge” series her knowledge of northern Florida’s aquifers.
The symposium is presented in conjunction with the opening of Tolbert’s work in the Dean’s Gallery at the School of Architecture on Friday evening as a part of U.Va’s Final Fridays arts event. Final Fridays is a monthly showcase of the arts at U.Va., supported by the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts.
Tolbert’s art exhibit will be on display through the month of May.
Her talk will focus on the theme of “The Disappearing,” and will be followed by responses from Brian Richter of The Nature Conservancy and Janet Herman and Paolo D’Odorico of the Department of Environmental Sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences.
In 2010, Tolbert published a book of her artwork and writings, “AQUIFERious,” about the freshwater aquifers of Florida, which also included pieces from 13 contributors. Tolbert’s book exemplifies her interdisciplinary approach to her work in which she includes scientific writings along with her artwork of the aquifers, and emphasizes the urgent need for the preservation of Florida’s freshwater springs and the Floridan aquifer. “AQUIFERious” received a gold medal in Florida in nonfiction and a silver medal in fine arts from the Florida Book Awards.
The School of Architecture’s Spring Symposium panel discussions center on the intersection of science and art, with a particular focus on water. Leslie Geddes of Princeton University presented the keynote for the first session on Jan. 30, and Matthew Burtner, environmental composer and associate professor in U.Va.’s McIntire Department of Music, led the second session on Feb. 20. International artist and biologist Brandon Ballengée gave the keynote for the third dialogue on March 20.
The Spring Symposium is being held in conjunction with the course, “The Arts in Context: The Arts and the Environment,” being taught this spring by George W. Sampson, research associate professor in the School of Architecture, as well as with the Architecture School’s recently completed Rivanna River Vortex design competition.