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Acclaimed abstract artist exhibits at Brenau
Artist Darryl Pottorf and Brenau Galleries Director Vanessa Grubbs discuss a painting during Pottorf's 2009 campus visit.

Darryl Pottorf, a longtime collaborator and partner of pop art icon Robert Rauschenberg, will bring his latest works to Brenau University for the first showing anywhere of some new multicanvas, multimedia works by the Captiva, Fla.-based artist.

The exhibit, entitled "Links" will be on display from today through Nov. 21 in the Sellars Gallery on Brenau University's Gainesville campus.

Pottorf will appear at an opening night artist talk and reception from 6-8 tonight in the gallery, which is located in the Simmons Visual Arts Center adjacent to Pearce Auditorium on Centennial Circle. The talk is free and open to the public.

"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."

The collection includes a mix of multimedia and multi-canvas pieces. The exhibit features some of Pottorf's newest work and will showcase his unique talents as a storyteller.

Pottorf boot-strapped his way into the art world. Born in Ohio, he grew up in South Florida and financed his education studying architecture in his father's home construction business. He first encountered Rauschenberg's work while studying in Florence, Italy.

While at the seat of the Italian Renaissance, Pottorf absorbed history and art that inspired him to return to the United States and shift his course of study. He enrolled in Edison Community College in Fort Myers, Fla., and while taking a printmaking class got a chance to work in nearby Captiva as assistant to a local artist - Rauschenberg.

The assistantship involved a lot of painting, but it was more along the lines of what he did in his father's construction business. His first "work" was Rauschenberg's garage. He also hauled lumber, "swabbed decks" and performed a lot of other grunt work to earn his opportunity to experiment with abstract art (which involved pouring black ship's paint on aluminum panels) while taking in and participating in the behind-the-scenes happenings of the Rauschenberg studio.

The relationship evolved, lasting until Rauschenberg's death in 2008, and so did Pottorf's work.

"You work every day," he recently said in an interview. "Don't try and make everything a masterpiece. There will be good and bad pieces. If you work hard enough, there will be masterpieces."