Art NotesArts & Culture

Toons, Trash and Tributes: Art to See This Week

DODD GALLERIES: Ushering in the new school season, the Dodd Galleries’ latest lineup of exhibitions features works by both established and aspiring artists.

Since 2002, Brooklyn-based artist Marie Lorenz has traveled various urban waterways aboard her handmade boat, often collecting tidal debris, which she then takes back to her studio to repurpose into materials for printmaking or sculptures. The boat trips themselves are documented on video or with a digital camera attached to the stern, and Lorenz occasionally invites passengers to join her, maintaining an audience for this unique perspective of the city’s harbor.

Lorenz’s body of work exemplifies a practice that ventures beyond studio walls, positioning the artist as a voyager and collaborator with the surrounding landscape. While it may be easy to assume statements surrounding sustainability or environmental preservation, Lorenz instead prioritizes the reanimation of discarded objects, and considers her work to be a reflection of living in a natural place characterized by industrial waste. 

Lorenz’s site-specific installation, “Ash Heap / Landfill,” is a gallery-sized landslide of unfired clay with pieces of fired “ceramic trash” that appear as if they were buried, then uncovered by water runoff. These plastic items—bottles, hair combs, tampon applicators, cutlery, six-pack rings, pylons, bowling pins—are cast in plastic and painted in earthen tones. Resembling fossilized refuse, the scene seems as if it could be from a future time and place where plastics are deeply embedded into the earth but yet to erode. 

Bursts of plastic flamingos, mermaids and beachy kitsch interrupt Florida’s terrain of tropical palms, eerie swamps and coastal mangroves, establishing a landscape where the natural and artificial coexist. “The Florida Room” addresses this dichotomy through artwork by Dodd graduate students who hail from the Sunshine State: Nick Abrami, Dimelza Broche, Cristina Echezarreta, Paula Runyon and Taylor Shaw.

“Exchange, Change, Interchange” explores the communal nature of printmaking portfolio exchanges, a common practice in which each artist submits a suite of their own prints and receives a collection of the other participants’ works in return. Graduate students Catherine Clements, Kimberly McWhorter, Sanaz Haghani Nouri and Paula Runyon play with the format to expand the print tradition. 

Looking to reconcile realities, “MIDDLEGROUND” serves as the space between layers of identity: those of the physical body within the material world, and avatars constructed within the digital realm. Curated by graphic design undergraduate student Phillip McClure, the show features his work alongside images and objects from Dodd alumni Kate Burke, CC Calloway and Ally Christmas.

Celebrating the new exhibitions on Friday, Sept. 7 from 6–8 p.m., the Fall Art Party Extravaganza will feature a live DJ in the school’s new art garden, games of mini putt-putt, a photo booth and snacks from Kelly’s Jamaican Foods. Lorenz will visit campus to offer a lecture on her body of work on Monday, Sept. 10 at 5:30 p.m. in auditorium S151. Lunchtime Gallery Talks at noon will be held for “Middleground” on Tuesday, Sept. 18, “Exchange, Change, Interchange” on Monday, Sept. 24 and “The Florida Room” on Tuesday, Oct. 2. All exhibitions will remain on view through Friday, Oct. 5, with the exception of “Ash Heap / Landfill,” which will continue through Thursday, Nov. 8.

QUIET GALLERY: Tucked away on the second floor in the Athens-Clarke County Library’s Quiet Gallery, “The Cartoon Show” presents a who’s who of local comic artists. Klon Waldrip, whose maniacal marionette master appears on this week’s cover of Flagpole, contributes illustrations of filmmaker Jess Franco, voodoo priestess Katherine Dunham and actress Dolores del Rio. Part of a larger series called Power Profiles, the portraits are combined with short biographies revealing interesting highlights from their lives.

Several of the artists should be very familiar to Flagpole readers. Missy Kulik, whose “Tofu Baby” comic has been running since 2006, lends a set of plush felt prototypes for her squishy character. David Mack, whose weekly “A Round Town” comics were recently compiled into a book called Athens, GA, presents large works telling fantastical stories. Patrick Dean, whose illustrations appeared in our publication regularly for a decade, shares a few of his signature sci-fi and horror-themed comics. Joey Weiser, author of the Eisner Award-nominated Mermin graphic novel series, and Abby Kacen, this year’s Athens Popfest artist, have both illustrated Flagpole covers this year.

No exhibition of local comic artists would be complete without Devlin Thompson, proprietor of Bizarro Wuxtry, whose pieces, like a Trash Bash ’96 concert poster (featuring Man or Astro-man and Flat Duo Jets) and an illustration, “Hillbilly Frankenstein vs. The Woggles,” offer a fun look into the musical past. The exhibition also includes works by Scott Stripling, a self-taught illustrator who publishes as Shoot the Moon Comics, and Alex Burns, who was the editorial page cartoonist at Creative Loafing for 18 years. 

The library will host a reception on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 2–4 p.m., and a concurrent comics expo will offer a chance to meet the artists, view their works close-up and purchase zines and original art. “The Cartoon Show” will remain on view through Saturday, Sept. 15.