"A Gentle Rot" by Yana Bondar in the exhibition "Purgatory"
Offering a vibrant oasis from the dreary winter landscape, the galleries at the UGA Lamar Dodd School of Art have five new exhibitions opening this week. The new shows will be celebrated during an Art Party Extravaganza on Friday, Feb. 1 from 6–8 p.m. featuring music by DJ Ruby Mars and a photo booth designed by the artists of “Congeal.” All exhibitions will remain on view through Friday, Feb. 22, with the exception of “Hysteric Sign (Ribbed Tomato ’n Grapes),” which will stay up until Thursday, Mar. 28.
In her solo exhibition “Purgatory,” Dodd MFA candidate Yana Bondar contemplates patterns of self-sacrifice among feminine archetypes. Her upbringing in the Catholic Church and the faith’s perspective on womanhood created an existential paradox that clashed with her own identity as an asexual, aromantic feminine coded person. Fascinated with the self-destructive duality that frequently pervades experience, as well as the idea of eternal girlhood, she focuses on attitudes of apathy, detachment and surrender that appear through various perspectives of femininity.
Strongly influenced by narratives and archetypal depictions in contemporary Japanese art, Bondar’s works embody the mood of “gentle sadness,” a suppressed and persistent melancholy that emerges in the absence of agency or power. Her delicate ceramic pieces “The Girl With Short Hair: The Girl of Sacrificial Mind” and “The Girl With Long Hair: Girl of Sacrificial Body” depict figures suspended in time, unable to interpret their past or envision their future. Accepting their fate as sacrificial vessels, they forfeit their sense of personhood and passively wait in limbo. Gondar will offer a Lunchtime Gallery Talk in the Bridge Gallery on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 12 p.m.
Created by a community of queer artists, the exhibition “Congeal” contemplates the comforts and discomforts experienced while living in a body. Rejecting the misogyny and homophobia often associated with Dada and Surrealism, the artists touch on the movement’s techniques to abstract physical forms. Using bodily functions and fluids, as well as identity and dysmorphia, as starting points, many of the works blur the boundaries of embodiment.
Participating artists include Olivia Babuka Black, Mac Balentine, AC Carter, Alyssa Davis, Lindy Erkes, Grace Farrell, Greta Hartman, Kira Hynes, Ruby Mars, Penske McCormack, Morgan McCann, Lindsay Parker and SABO. A Lunchtime Gallery Talk will be held with curators Hynes, SABO and Parker on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 12 p.m., and an evening of experimental performances will close out the exhibition on Feb. 22 from 6–9 p.m.
“Hysteric Sign (Ribbed Tomato ’n Grapes)” by Katya Tepper is the latest installment of “Wall Works,” an ongoing series that invites artists to create site-specific, wall-bound creations in the Plaza Gallery. An Athens-based artist who received her BFA from the Cooper Union in New York, Tepper makes large-scale works that are significantly informed by her experience living with chronic illness. Alternating between painting and sculptural techniques, “Hysteric Sign” reimagines the body as a space for playfulness and whimsy, despite all of its natural messiness and sickness.
From a distance, “Hysteric Sign” appears as an assemblage of clunky, irregular forms that interconnect to create an unruly and nonsensical piece. Bursts of chartreuse and red-orange pop from sandy beige backgrounds, adding an element of alarm and frenzy. Upon closer look, layers of interweaving materials reveal themselves to increase feelings of busyness and entanglement. Soft materials like industrial felt and cloth are juxtaposed with harsh plastic and wood, and thread spools are used to develop a surface full of anxiety-inducing holes.
On view in the Suite Gallery, the annual “Undergraduate Curated Exhibition” accepted submissions by students working in all disciplines. This year’s show was guest curated by Jamie Steele, director of the Atlanta artist-run gallery Camayuhs and co-founder of the Chicago-based curatorial project Gurl Don’t Be Dumb. A multimedia artist with a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Steele creates photographic, video and sculptural works that toy with notions of taste, femininity, elegance and the grotesque.
New York-based artists Priyanka Dasgupta and Chad Marshall collaborate on projects that incorporate archival texts, oral histories, postcolonial studies and storytelling to examine power and privilege in America. Their current work harrows in on the lost histories of Bengali sailors, who, by appearing black, were able to settle into communities of color in the early 20th Century despite anti-Asian immigration laws. Curated by Dodd Visiting Assistant Professor Courtney McClellan, their exhibition “Pigeonhole” specifically imagines the life of Bahauddin (Bobby) Alam, a Bengali peddler and lascar who lived as a jazz musician in America. Creating a multidisciplinary portrait, the installation stages his dressing room, complete with memorabilia and objects reflecting his secret and public lives. Dasgupta and Marshall will offer a Lunchtime Gallery Talk on Feb. 1 at 12 p.m.
Celebrate four new exhibitions with a live DJ, photo booth and other treats. Exhibitions include "Congeal," "Purgatory," "Pigeonhole," "Undergraduate Curated Exhibition" and "Hysteric Sign (Ribbed Tomato 'n Grapes." See Art Notes on p. 15.