Margaret Ross Tolbert

Margaret Ross Tolbert
Margaret Ross Tolbert

Margaret Ross Tolbert is a featured artist for the 2011 Ybor Festival of the Moving Image. She will present Springs Eternal? a lecture about the natural springs in Northern Florida, an long-term interest supported by her paintings and a book, AQUIFERious. Another featured artist, Florida author and filmmaker Bill Belleville will join Tolbert for the lecture.

About the Artist

Margaret Ross Tolbert is a painter based in Gainesville, Florida. She studied painting in the University of Florida with Hiram Williams where she received her MFA and BFA, minoring in linguistics.

She was a National Merit Finalist, awarded the Phi Beta Kappa Creative Award, member of Phi Kappa Phi, and a scholarship distance runner for the University of Florida.

She was an artist-in-schools for Volousia county, Florida and subsequently began her career as a full-time painter. Over the last twenty years she has executed series of paintings, drawings and lithographs from studies 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 provide a sense of ideal destination and the exotic in the her-and-now that counterpoints the sense of passage, time and journey implicit in the Doors paintings.

Recent exhibitions have included dancer 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 with Stefan Cracuin for Shands Arts in Medicine, Edsvik Konsthall, and Marten Pers Skalla in Sweden.


AQUIFERious book cover
AQUIFERious book cover

Twelve North Florida springs — and the Floridian Aquifer that feeds them — form the nucleus of this book through the art and writing of artist Margaret Ross Tolbert. But the aesthetics and science of this book speak to all of the freshwater springs in Florida — as well as to those readers who would experience, explore, and acknowledge the sublime qualities of these unique natural systems.

AQUIFERious also includes photographs, artistic cave maps, essays and scientific articles from ten contributors that recount a world of extreme cave diving, history, literature and science.

There are detailed chronicles of the seldom-seen life forms inhabiting the depths of the springs, as well as accounts of increasing pollution that threatens both the quality and magnitude of the spring outflows. Contributions include Bill Belleville's literary history of springs in Florida Springs: Eocene Memories, Fueled by a Dream, Stefan Craciun's essay and images about Sirena, and biologist Tom Morris' Life in Florida's Aquifer Caves, which include his underwater images of the enormous caverns under Silver Springs and Silver Glen springs.

The poetic — with the passion for the fragile springs and the creativity they inspire — is tempered with sobering stories of loss of flow and water quality. Printed by Fidelity Press in Orlando, 160 pages case bound, 9 x 12 inches, designed by Jarrod Ryhal; $45.00; Available at Thornebrook Galleries, Media Image Gallery, Lemieux Galleries, and