Westerville News & Public Opinion

Late artist's work subject of Worthington exhibit

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

A multimedia artist who mastered delicate brushstrokes of oriental works and the complexities of paper-making and oil-painting, local artist Lois Augur, 83, leaves behind a legacy of art and a story of reinvention.

Augur, a Worthington-area resident, died March 27, but an exhibition of her oriental paintings and handmade collages bloom on an upstairs wall as a part of "The Best Blooming Art Show in the City" at the High Road Gallery in Worthington.

The exhibition, whcih features artwork by such Worthington Area Art League artists as Sharon Growick and Jayne Hopper, is open from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays through May 26 at 12 E. Stafford Ave. in Worthington.

An artist reception was held May 6 at the gallery.

Augur, a longtime member of the Worthington Area Art League, as well as the Women's Art Guild of Central Ohio and Critical Eye, studied for more than 10 years with the late Woo Chong Yong, an accepted master of Chinese painting.

Augur's husband of 61 years, Al, said his wife and C.Y. Woo both exhibited oriental paintings during the Sun of Heaven exhibition at the Great Southern Hotel in 1989.

"They asked Woo if he would exhibit his art in the Sun of Heaven show, and he agreed, but 'only if I have my student with me,'" Mr. Augur said. "After Woo died, his son came to us with more than 1,000 of his paintings in boxes."

Mr. Augur said he and his wife donated the 1,500 oriental paintings to Otterbein University in Westerville last year. Otterbein held an exhibition of Woo's artwork from Aug. 31, 2011, to Jan. 20 at the Frank Museum of Art on Vine Street.

"Lois wanted the paintings preserved," Mr. Augur said. "Now they are not only being taken care of, but (also) will be used by the college to teach students."

He said his wife also had studied art at Otterbein, at the Columbus College of Art and Design and with artists Michael McEwan, Rod Bouc and Char Norman.

The Augur home near Hard Road is filled with colorful still-life paintings and landscapes by Augur, including three oil paintings that depict the ever-changing blues and greens of the Scioto riverbank.

Her oriental paintings, handmade paper collages and ceramics also are throughout the house.

"The only trouble with being an artist's husband is not having enough walls in your house," Mr. Augur said.

He said, "The house is too quiet now" since his wife no longer fills it with lively conversation and the clatter of paintbrushes.

In her artist statement, Augur wrote that she recently had combined the technique of ceramics and paper making with the materials and concepts of oriental art to produce hand-made paper designs.

"I have always enjoyed lovely papers, and working with Chinese rice paper provided me with the opportunity to combine that material and a wide range of other materials to produce paper works of my own design," she wrote in the statement. "When I am painting or paper making, I am constantly experimenting.

"The creative process in each of them is important to me. I try to grow with each work I do," she wrote.

A mother of four adult children, grandmother to seven and one great grandchild, Augur came to art later in life, as a "reinvention," according to her daughter, Susan Niehaus.

"I'm so proud of my mother," she said. "She took art after my youngest brother went away to college. Rather than throw herself into social things, she went back to school and began an art career.

"How inspiring her efforts are for women my age," Niehaus said. "My mother went back to school at age 55 and became an artist. So all of this happened in the latter part of her life, when most of her friends were playing golf or retired and going out to lunch."

Niehaus said friends of all ages and family members had attended her mother's funeral.

"She was so open and generous to everyone," she said. "Generous is the one word I think I would use to describe her, with her time or anything you needed or wanted. She was a very cool mom."

Mr. Augur called his wife "a professional volunteer," active for many years in her church, children's school activities and many other charitable organizations.

Besides Susan, the Augurs' children are Harold, Catherine and James.

Augur's artwork also has been exhibited in gallery shows at the Zanesville Art Museum, the Delaware County Cultural Arts Center's The Arts Castle and in a single-artist exhibition at the Festival Art Walk in Lancaster.

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