Art Notes

What’s New This Season at the Lyndon House Arts Center

Bess Carter

With seven different exhibitions currently on view, the Lyndon House Arts Center’s fall programming presents a wide range of ideas and experiences.

Closing this week on Nov. 12, the series “Collections from Our Community” presents a wide assortment of tarot decks and crystal skulls owned by Carrie Slayton, who first began seriously collecting in 2020, after the first round of COVID stimulus checks were distributed. With over 200 tarot decks in her collection, Slayton actively seeks out-of-print, Halloween and darker themed decks, as well as unique ones from Etsy and Kickstarter artists, instead of traditional Rider-Waite decks. 

“I have always been fascinated by the metaphysical world and divination in particular,” says Slayton. “I am a student of psychology, so the real fascination for me with tarot is using it as a tool to work with the psych… I use the tarot to help unlock the subconscious and get to the root of one’s personal and spiritual journey.” A local certified life coach who offers psychosynthesis coaching and chakra coaching, Slayton also does tarot readings and leads a weekly tarot study group. 

Though the historic Ware-Lyndon House Museum holds a collection of decorative items representing two prosperous doctors, Edward Ware and Edward Lyndon, and their families, little has been included to share the stories of the enslaved plantation and domestic workers. Expanding the narrative, “Resilient Civic and Music Life: Ware-Lyndon House Enslaved and Descendant Stories” is a new interpretive display that includes a short film tracing enslaved families and their descendants, including musicians David Wilborn Jr. and Hall Johnson. The exhibition also includes a podcast, visual timeline, and a reading room of books relevant to the African American experience in art, music and heritage. Historic Athens will host the panel discussion “Digging and Decoding: Perspectives on Interpreting Historic Spaces” on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 12 p.m. 

Currently on view through the end of November, “The Ties That Bind: The Paradox of Cultural Survival Amid Climate Events” includes photography by Tamika Galanis and sculpture by Anina Major. The two artists met while attending an artist residency on St. Helena Island, SC, during which they examined cultural identity and sustainability through environmental relationships. Galanis and Major, both from The Bahamas and now based in Atlanta and New York City, respectively, re-examine the connections between people and places through their work. A virtual conversation with Major and Galanis will be held Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. Held in conjunction with UGA’s Spotlight on the Arts, a gallery talk and basket weaving workshop will be offered on Nov. 19 from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. 

On view through Jan. 14, “RE-“ is a biennial show of works by students in kindergarten through 12th grade in the Clarke County School District. Celebrating creative youth and spotlighting the importance of art education, the exhibition fills both floors of the atrium with everything from photography and painting to collage and sculpture. Following the challenges of pandemic learning, this year’s theme, “RE-,” prompted teachers and students to reflect, readjust, reimagine, restart, reset, remember, rethink, rebuild and so on. In collaboration with the Athens Downtown Development Authority, a series of streetlight banners featuring youth artworks will be installed throughout downtown.

Three additional exhibitions recently opened on Nov. 8 and will remain on view through Mar. 4. On display in the center’s front lobby case, “The Same, Yet Separate” by J Taran Diamond shares an unusual collection of objects thoughtfully created in response to local sites with complicated histories including Lake Lanier, the Camak House and the Ware-Lyndon House. Diamond, a metalsmith and interdisciplinary craft artist currently pursuing an MFA at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, investigates how racial violence has been historically ingrained within the landscape and material culture of the South, and how this violence causes a disparity of experience between white and Black people encountering these objects and materials.

“By exposing the pervasiveness of anti-Blackness within the material culture of the American south, I aim to expose the reality of anti-Black violence and Black intergenerational trauma as ongoing conditions, and seek catharsis for my own experience as a Black person navigating a world built through and around the subjugation of my people,” says Diamond in their artist statement. Diamond will offer a 3Thurs Artist Talk on Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. 

Bess Carter “Barbie Dreamhouse” by Bess Carter

A tradition of the annual Juried Exhibition, the Lyndon House Arts Center selects one promising artist and invites them to return and present a solo show of their work. This year’s recipient of the Arts Center Choice Award is Bess Carter, a local artist who graduated from The Dodd and now works as an art teacher at Oconee County High School. Finding inspiration in family and her “everyday beautifully imperfect life as a mom to four great kids,” her paintings focus on bright, eclectically furnished interiors and still life paintings. Carter will host an artist talk and reception on Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. 

Spotlighting Kate Burke, Rebecca Kreisler and Sylvia Schaefer, “A Pattern of Moments” connects three bodies of work that share a feminine sensibility. From the delicately stitched embroidery by Burke, to the dizzyingly three-dimensional folded paper by Kreisler to the comforting geometric quilts of Schaefer, all three artists create their labor-intensive pieces through repeating a singular process multiple times. Kreisler will offer a free workshop to make three-dimensional star-shaped ornaments on Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. 

In addition to new exhibitions, the LHAC and Lyndon House Arts Foundation will also celebrate the latest installment of its ongoing artist edition series with a print sale on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 5:30 p.m. Harold Rittenberry Jr. has designed a new work entitled “RAYS OF JOY, LOVE” with printmaker Amanda Burk of Flat File Print Shop. The 18-inch-by-18-inch screen print features mermaids, birds and several other silhouettes that frequently inspire Rittenberry’s large metal sculptures. Prints are $100, with proceeds benefiting the foundation, and can be purchased online the following afternoon if supplies last.