Brenau Hosts World Premiere of Pottorf’s ‘Links’

Aug 25, 2011
Rudi Kiefer
Brenau University presents the first showing anywhere of some new multi-canvass, multimedia works by Captiva, Fla.-based artist Darryl Pottorf, a longtime collaborator and friend of the iconic artist Robert Rauschenberg. The exhibit of a new series entitled Links will be on display from Thursday, Oct. 7, through Nov. 21 in the Sellars Gallery on Brenau University’s Gainesville campus. In addition, Pottorf will appear at an opening night artist talk and reception Oct. 7, both free and open to the public, from 6 to 8 p. m. in the gallery, which is located in the Simmons Visual Arts Center adjacent to Pearce Auditorium on Centennial Circle.
“This is Pottorf’s second show at Brenau, and it is important to Brenau students and our arts patrons for a number of reasons,” says Brenau Galleries Director Vanessa Grubbs. “He will debut some new pieces that have not been shown anywhere else. These are particularly exciting works with very interesting sculpturally shaped canvases.”This collection includes a mix of multimedia and multi-canvas pieces in a never-before-seen exhibit. The exhibit features some of Pottorf’s newest work and, no doubt will showcase his immense talents as a storyteller.

Born in Ohio, Pottorf grew up in South Florida and financed his education working in his father’s home construction business. He first encountered Rauschenberg’s work while studying in Florence, Italy, where he was attending the Florida State University extension campus studying art, art history and creative writing.

During his time in Europe Pottorf traveled extensively, worked as a site artist for an Etruscan archeological dig and worked as a research assistant to famed art historian Dr. Fred Licht’s for his book Goya: The Origins of the Modern Temper in Art.

Darryl Pottorf
Darryl Pottorf’s exhibit opens Oct. 7 at Brenau.
When Pottorf returned to Ft. Myers, Fla., he enrolled in a printmaking class being taught by Robert Petersen who was at the time also working as an assistant to Robert Rauschenberg. As luck would have it, Pottorf met Rasuchenberg at an opening of Rauschenberg’s work at the Edison College gallery of fine art. This chance meeting gave Pottorf an invitation to visit Raushenberg’s studio and it was the beginning of a lifelong friendship that lasted until Rauschenberg’s death in 2008.

Pottorf recalls his first “work” as Rauschenberg’s assistant was painting, but not on canvas. It was Rauschenberg’s garage. Later when Brice Marden and Pottorf were both asked to speak about what their jobs were when working for Rauschenberg, Marden said “I cleaned up a lot of dog poop.” Pottorf exclaimed ,”Hey, that was my job, too.”

However, it was evident Rauschenberg clearly recognized his young friend’s talent and vision, and he later asked Pottorf to collaborate on a series of paintings and prints titled Quattro Mani.

Over the years Pottorf’s work has matured and evolved. Recently during an interview Pottorf was asked about his approach to his artwork.

“You work every day,” he said. “Don’t try and make everything a masterpiece. There will be good and bad pieces. If you work hard enough, there will be masterpieces.”
In August Brenau became officially affiliated with the High Museum of Art in Atlanta is the museum’s first academic partner, a relationship that among other things, involves cross promotion of various activities to broaden audiences of each institutions’ exhibitions.

In addition to presenting several exhibitions each year featuring works of new and established artists from around the world, Brenau holds an impressive permanent collection of artworks, many of which were accumulated with the assistance of famed New York arts dealer Leo Castelli, who served on the Brenau Board of Trustees from 1991 until his death in 1999. Castelli represented Rauschenberg among his impressive stable of important artists, which also included Georgia-born Jasper Johns, whose aunts, Gladys and Eunice, were Brenau alumnae.
For more information about this or other exhibits and programs at Brenau University Galleries, please call 770-534-6263 or email Brenau University Galleries and Brenau University are non-profit institutions providing educational and visual art experiences for the North Georgia Community.

Originally published on 9/29/10