Textures tell his stories

Detail of ‘Leeboard (The Angels of Avalon)’ by Greg Moran at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi.
Detail of ‘Leeboard (The Angels of Avalon)’ by Greg Moran at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi.

If you’ve walked the Bay St. Louis Bridge or the Biloxi Bay Bridge, you’re already familiar with the works of Greg Moran.

He cast the 80 bronze plaques that decorate the two bridges, using works that regional artists submitted to the Mississippi Department of Transportation and nearly 8,000 pounds of bronze-bearing plates that once made up the pre-Katrina Biloxi Bay Bridge. His work is also displayed in public and private collections in 15 states and four continents.

Several of Moran’s works are now in an exhibition, titled “Avalon,” at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi.

He taught for 10 years and now creates his art at his Amberglow Forge in Gulfport, a sculpture studio with a wood shop, stone carving, blacksmithing, metal fabrication, and bronze foundry.

There’s a definite myth and folklore influence in Moran’s works, especially in the sculpture “Leeboard (The Angels of Avalon).” The wood and metal work suggests a shoreline and sea grasses, and Norse runes and Middle Earth runes associated with the works of J.R.R. Tolkien can be seen on the back of the wood “sand.”

Moran looks much closer to home with “A Man with Branches,” modeled after his father.

He also works on canvas, as seen in “Fallen Fences 1” and “Fallen Fences 2.,” retaining a fascination with linear images.

The canvas prototypes for one eight-part metalwork installation, “Sumi Composition in Steel 1-8,” can be seen near their completed works. The eighth sculpture, by the way, usually hangs at Fat Sumo restaurant.

Other works reference Moran’s sailing interests, such as “Locked in Irons.”

“I pursue varying levels of subtlety as a guide for my aesthetic,” Moran says in a statement with the exhibition. “I am fascinated by the importance of minor shifts in forms of planar shapes, how those shapes relate to other shapes performing their own subtleties and how most importantly those shapes are physically joined. I take great care to choose specific materials to join to differing materials because, for me, the relationship of certain differing materials, such as bronze and wood, sets up a dialogue with the view as to the intention of the work.”

“Avalon” is at the Ohr through Aug. 19.

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1

If you go

What: ‘Avalon’ by Greg Moran. The exhibition is up through Aug. 2.

Where: Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, 386 U.S. 90, Biloxi

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday.

Phone: 228-374-5547

Admission: $10 adults (18 and over), $8 seniors (60 and over); $5 students (with identification); $8 AAA and military with ID; free for children under 5. Members get in free; show your membership card at the front desk.