Featuring Chelo Amezcua, Eddie Arning, Dorothy R. Foster, George T. Lopez, Elijah Pierce, Martin Ramirez, Bill Traylor, Joseph Yoakum, Purivs Young
Forest Grove is a historic property in Washington County, Georgia. It received the Georgia Centennial Family Farm award in 2004, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. The property is fortunate to have some hundreds of acres of wooded land and abundant wildlife in addition to the historic main house and outbuildings. The last two generations of Forest Grove stewards were privileged to know some extraordinary artists and have accumulated a collection of art over the years.
Forest Grove Preserve, Inc. was created to manage the preservation of the historic buildings, recreational activities on the natural land, and the care and curation of the art collection.
The Shanty where Owen Lee got away from it all for seven years, 1970
The Mandalay foundering on Long Reef, January 1, 1966
Owen Lee (1922-2022)
All works presented by Forest Grove Preserve are by South Florida artist Owen Lee (1922-2002). Owen began to draw at the age of 42 when he lived on Elliott Key, an island accessible only by boat in Biscayne Bay south of Miami, Florida. After serving in World War II and Korea and working on shrimp boats from Tampa to the Yucatan, he became a voluntary castaway. He salvaged sailcloth from the wrecked sailing vessel Mandalay in 1966 and began drawing on it with fabric dye in ballpoint tubes. Fabric drawing became his medium, so that when he ran out of sailcloth, he drew on any fabric he could get his hands on. It seemed the pressure he could apply to a piece of fabric tacked to plywood suited him.
Living in places like his handmade driftwood shack on Elliott Key to a beat-up old cabin cruiser in the free mooring off Key West, Owen drew, painted, and created collages for the rest of his life.
All the while he worked on an epic poem he called The Death of the Destroyer Commander, of which 183 pages survive. He said his greatest wish was to be recognized as a poet. The range of his work is broad, complex, intricate, sophisticated, angry, profane, occult, and scholarly. When viewing an exhibit of his diverse styles and periods, an audience often mistakenly concludes they are seeing the work of multiple artists. Full of angst, anti-Catholic sentiment, and love of classic literature, his writing appears on some pieces, placing that work in the genre of visionary art. Always with few resources, Owen survived on his military pension and meager payments for his art. He was just shy of 80 years at his death.