Art NotesArts & Culture

Fountains, Cruise Culture and More: Outgoing and Incoming Exhibitions at the Dodd Galleries

Now that school is officially back in session, it’s a perfect time to drop in for a visit to the Dodd Galleries at UGA’s Lamar Dodd School of Art, where a pair of exhibitions will close out their final days this week to make space for other new ones coming soon. 

Featuring paintings by Melissa Brown and sculptures by Jaime Bull, “Fountain” is a playful trip into notions of inspiration gushing forth and decorative, superfluous architecture. Historically built to mark the triumphs of civilizations or simply for functional purposes, fountains have since become places to cast wishes on pennies and watch extravagant water shows. Brown’s paintings, which collage techniques of photo screen print, airbrush and oil painting, present interesting, cartoonish scenes with many details to unpack. Bull’s sculptures, which repurpose everything from conch shells and furniture to plush fabrics and sports equipment, are both dazzling and humorous. Brown and Bull will offer an artists talk on Thursday, Aug. 29 at 5:30 p.m., and their exhibition will remain on view through Sept. 16.

On view in the Suite Gallery, New York City-based artist Adam Sipe’s exhibition “Ring Wren & Turtle” contains a series of small paintings that suggest intuitive, swiftly made marks on each canvas. While the majority are abstract images focused on color and line, others seem vaguely figurative, slowly coming into focus as a pitcher, a broom and a face. Sipe will offer a Lunchtime Gallery Talk on his exhibition’s closing day, Friday, Aug. 30, at 12 p.m. 

Closing the same day as Sipe’s show, Athens-based photographer Brittainy Lauback’s exhibition, “Liberty,” captures the complex culture found aboard a cruise ship. The series takes inspiration from David Foster Wallace’s “Shipping Out” essay about vacationing on a Celebrity Cruise, published in Harper’s Magazine in 1996, in which he says, “I have now seen sucrose beaches and water a very bright blue. I have seen an all-red leisure suit with flared lapels. I have smelled suntan lotion spread over 2,100 pounds of hot flesh. I have been addressed as ‘Mon’ in three different nations. I have seen 500 upscale Americans dance the Electric Slide. I have seen sunsets that looked computer enhanced. I have (very briefly) joined a conga line.” 

For her own expedition, Lauback embarked on a five-day trip on the Carnival Liberty with camera in hand. Rather than documenting idyllic sunsets or tropical scenes while docked at ports throughout the Bahamas, she instead focused on the leisure activities of passengers and distinct details of their environment. A fascinating dichotomy exists between the opulent interiors of the ship and the dressed-for-comfort, occasionally tacky guests. Excessiveness manages to permeate all facets of existence here, adding decadence to the lounge areas, crowds in the pool, sunburns to the skin and overeating at the buffet. Conveying a certain tenderness, the images speak to an underlying earnestness for a removal from everyday mundanity and a quest for new human connection.

The latest chapter of the “Wall Works” program, an ongoing series that invites a different artist to create a site-specific wall installation each semester, offers “Portals” by Harrison D. Walker of San Marcos, TX. Collectively appearing as a grid of circles in varying color combinations, each rectangular print was made using photogram, monoprint or collagraph techniques, and further physically altered to create unique variations in texture, surface and color. Influenced by chemistry, chance and psychological perception, Walker’s installation draws to mind astronomical imagery. Using light-sensitive silver nitrate as a catalyst, several of the prints are likely to experience slow, subtle changes in color and tone as they are exposed to light, temperature and humidity throughout the duration of their visit, which ends Saturday, Nov. 16.

The Dodd Galleries have three other exciting exhibitions slated for the new season, which opens with a Fall Art Party Extravaganza on Friday, Sept. 13 from 6–8 p.m. Carol John, a local artist whose work is easily recognized by its candy-colored patterns and pop sensibilities, shares a new series of paintings called “Legion Pool,” inspired by the storied swimming spot on campus. Dodd MFA candidate Alex McClay and California-based artist Sam Regal present “Turbulent Femme || toward a radical future,” an exhibition of site-specific media text, sculpture, projected images and sound that investigates feminine selfhood inside of patriarchal systems. In “The Fool-ectomy,” MFA candidate Mac Balentine uses the archetype of the fool to explore shifts in cultural standards of normativity and wellness, with emphasis on queerness as an act of resistance. The school will host Lunchtime Gallery Talks with Balentine on Thursday, Sept. 19 and McClay on Tuesday, Oct. 1, both at 12 p.m., and all three shows will remain on view through Friday, Oct. 4.