Frequent squeals of recognition, as old friends saw each other for the first time in many years, were a big part of the well attended opening for “Between Rock and an Art Place” at the Lamar Dodd School of Art on Friday night, May 23. The exhibit, part of the ongoing work of the Art Rocks Athens Foundation, documents the art created by artists working and studying at UGA between 1975 and 1985, many of whom were also actively involved in the well-known music scene of the same era.
The party drew visitors from all over the country and reunited former classmates, students, professors, and bandmates. Margaret Katz Nodine, an artist based in Asheville who graduated in 1977 and who has a number of drawings from her student days in the exhibit, described the opening as “Overwhelming… I hadn’t seen some of these people in 37 years.” The word “overwhelming” came up many times as visitors described the many reunions of that night.
With so many people attending and animatedly conversing and reliving the old days at the opening, it was a challenge to take in all of the art. I eagerly headed back to the Lamar Dodd building the next day; I was not alone, as others had the same idea. The schools halls, in a new home more modern and swank than back in the day, hummed gently with the reminiscences of former art school students. One visitor commented that “it is just so strange to see these things I haven’t seen in 40 years.”
The work featured in the exhibit, curated by Robert Croker, is extraordinary. I was completely unprepared for the scope of the show and the level of talent that would be on display. Works by well- known instructors from the school, including Croker, Art Rosenbaum, Jim Herbert, and Richard Olson (“Oley”, as his students repeatedly referred to him, with obvious affection) are displayed alongside the work of their protégés. These pieces, which range from large-scale canvases to prints, photographs, charcoal drawings, assemblages and more, were gathered from near and far and have converged on the main level of the Lamar Dodd School of Art. The quality and integrity of the works as a group emanates a powerful, almost palpable presence. Go see this show.
Rebecca Wood, the creator of R. Wood Studio Ceramics, whose student work is also featured in the exhibit, likened the time period to “The big bang of creativity in Athens… it all started rippling out.” She went on to say, “Weren’t we lucky that we all got thrown together happenstance… the talent of all those 20, 21 year olds... and the freedom we felt, the inspiration, the support—we were all so lucky.”
That lucky confluence of talent is still emanating and influencing the arts in Athens today. Go check out the source. GO SEE THIS SHOW!
“Between Rock and an Art Place” will be on display through July 19 at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, UGA Campus. For more info go to artrocksathens.com.