Margaret Ross Tolbert
Margaret Ross Tolbert is an artist based in Gainesville, Florida. Over the last twenty years she has executed series of paintings, drawings and lithographs from studios in the U.S., France and Turkey. Her commissions include projects for series of paintings with residencies in Turkey, Azerbaijan and Oman, enabling her to continue her research for her series, Doors and study of language and dance from the regions of the ancient trade routes. Another continuing focus is the Springs of North Florida, whose paradisiacal presence provides a sense of ideal destination and the exotic in the here- and-now that counterpoints the sense of passage, time and journey implicit in the Door paintings.
Solo exhibits include: Sirena in Rapture, 6th Street Container, Miami, 2012; AQUIFERious, Lemieux Galleries, New Orleans 2010; Sirena: At the Abyss, Edsvik Konsthall, Sollentuna, Sweden, and Edgezones, Miami FL; Margaret Ross Tolbert: Doors, University of Richmond Museums, 2005- 2006; Passages, Polk Museum, Lakeland, Florida, 2004, and Springs Eternal?, Gulfcoast Museum of Art, 2003; Aquifer, LeMieux Galleries, New Orleans, LA, 2002; Portals and Passages, Museum of Florida History, Daytona Museum of Arts and Sciences, Gulfcoast Art Center, and Northwest Florida State College, 1997-98; Palace/Spring,Galleri Max, Stockholm, Sweden, 1996. In 2012 Tolbert was selected to be a LINC artist for the Everglades Art Atlas, initiating a series of paintings about the Fakahatchee Strand. Group shows include Eight from Florida, Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando FL 2011, Region 4 : Superfund, at The Thomas Center, Gainesville, FL; American Confluence, Edsvik Konsthall , Sollentuna, Sweden, 2006, Growth Spurt, Edgezones, World Arts Center, Miami, FL 2005-6, WET, World Arts Center, Miami FL, 2005,The Swamp: on the Edge of Eden, Harn Museum in Gainesville, FL, 2000; H 2 O; traveling group exhibit with venues in Florida and Georgia, 2000-2002, Han, an exhibit with Nitin Jayaswal based on the caravansaries of the ancient trade routes, Jacksonville and New Orleans, 2000-2001. Tolbert has received a Visual Arts Fellowship(1997-8) from the State of Florida, and an Artist's Enhancement Grant, from the State of Florida. In 2012 Tolbert and Jarrod Ryhal collaborated on Orlando Springs, an extensive installation of painting, lenticular photography, etched glass, and graphics of Orlando area springs for the Orlando International Airport. In 2002 she installed Springs Passage, paintings for the Volusia County Courthouse(Art-in-State Buildings). Other public art installations were completed for the Overtown metrorail Station(Miami Dade Art in Public Places) and in 2006 a project with lenticular panels for the Weston Public Library for Broward County Public Art and Design.
Recent exhibitions have included dance performances and animations presenting the energy of the creative act of painting, of ethnic dance, and of exploration of the springs and the creative process. These include ENERGY performances for Shands Arts in Medicine, Edsvik Konsthall, and Marten Pers Skalla in Sweden, and Festival of the Moving Image in Tampa.
In 2010 the book AQUIFERious was released, with art and writing by Tolbert and with thirteen contributors. This amalgam of scientific insights woven into a catalog of Tolbert's painting, writing and performance about the springs, documents some of the many features, and urgent need for the preservation of Florida's freshwater springs and the Floridan Aquifer. AQUIFERious received a gold medal in Florida non-fiction and a silver medal in fine arts from the Florida Book Awards. The book GEZI, with Tolbert's narrative and sketches of travels in Eastern Turkey, was released in 2006.
Currently, Tolbert is working towards a film on Springs in Turkey; an installation of hundreds of sketches for the Raffles Hotel, opening in Istanbul in 2013; and new springs paintings for a September exhibit at the Appleton Museum in Ocala. A group exhibit including her work at the American Embassy Residence in Ankara continues through 2012.
Tolbert received her BFA and MFA in painting from the University of Florida, where she studied under Hiram Williams. She also minored in Linguistics.