The Artist and the Scavenger
The seemingly unlikely duo of Robert Morris and Charles “Charlie” Ellis has been harvesting such treasures together for several years in a quest to get closer to the spirit of the river. Morris is a painter by training and practice who has exhibited in the hallowed halls of the Cincinnati Museum Center, Mason Murer Gallery, and the Telfair Academy. His reading of Douglas A. Blackmon’s Pulitzer Prize winning book Slavery by Another Name inspired his last exhibition of the same name at the Telfair Academy in the winter of 2012. While Morris may appear to approach art from an intellectual standpoint, Charlie Ellis seems to have no approach at all when it comes to assembling his works from items he has recovered from the Savannah River. Ellis’s works will be shown for the first time at the Ships of the Sea Museum March 7. T
heir Exhibition at Ships of the Sea Museum
The upcoming exhibition Savannah Calling: New Works by Robert Morris and Charles Ellis at The Ships of the Sea Museum, March 7 through May 4 in Savannah, features the works of both artists. This exhibition attempts to depict the 14,000-year history of human life along the 30-mile Savannah River channel and the visible spirit of the river itself. Charlie is a fifth-generation Savannahian who retired from his real estate career in Atlanta to come back to his family’s property on Turner’s Rock, called “Pojo Point.” There he has created a unique gallery of thousands of found objects from which he crafts his assemblages. Robert has enjoyed a highly charged career in journalism for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Creative Loafing, and Atlanta Magazine. He has enjoyed a 12-year career as Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for the Georgia Ports Authority, which keeps him immersed in all things river. He chooses to paint from his home studio on Tybee Island, where he can be surrounded by books and objects from the river. The writings of Wallace Stevens, Joseph Campbell, and Wassily Kandinsky are grounded by historical found objects, which Morris claims help deepen the spirituality of his paintings.
Story by Paula S. Fogarty
Photography by Zoe Christou Welsh