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Cupola, Celestial Bodies and More: Summer Exhibitions at the Lyndon House Arts Center

"Cupola: a Collaboration"

Offering a cool respite from the summertime heat, the Lyndon House Arts Center recently opened six new exhibitions in June, with another two scheduled to open in July. All six will remain on view through August. 

CUPOLA: Integrating engineering, science, language, music, philosophy and art, “Cupola: a Collaboration” is an interactive, kinetic sculpture that comes to life when a quarter is dropped into the coin-operated machine. Spearheaded by UGA professor Martijn van Wagtendonk, the sculpture was initiated in 2023 as a class project at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, and has since engaged over 45 students and faculty representing diverse disciplines. The cupola was first constructed with a 15-foot diameter drum standing 7 feet tall, then later augmented with a dome, bringing the height up to a towering 17 feet. Each of the drum’s 16 sides features a different kinetic creation: a 25-bell carillon that fills the gallery with twinkling notes, crochet flowers smiling beneath a lantern sun, a bedazzled ghost floating up and down, a two-headed paper mache dragon chomping flowers. The cupola draws inspiration from Filippo Brunelleschi, an Italian Renaissance architect and sculptor who is most famous for engineering the dome of the Florence Cathedral. Meticulously constructed with mortise and tenon joints, the sculpture is sturdy yet designed with portability in mind, more akin to a traveling fairground attraction. 

CELESTIAL BODIES: The group exhibition “Celestial Bodies” looks to the stars for inspiration. Sergio Suarez’s monumental woodcut, “Precession,” is an intricate, chaotic scene of human forms with planetary orbs for heads that evokes early mythologies as the cosmos swirl in the distance. Facing out of a large window on the second floor towards rolling hills, Lauren Fancher’s “Lost Constellations of Athens” is a collection of five telescope-like sculptures representing legends and long-lost places: Alosa Sapidissima (the American shad), 175 Elm St., The Bottom[s], The Bat Factory and Lickskillet. “The Great Moon Hoax,” a collaborative project between Casey McGuire and Mark Schoon, is a series of realistically staged photographs that nod to conspiracy theories regarding the moon landing. The exhibition also includes paintings and photographs by Judith McWillie, cyanotypes by Michael Reese, gold-leaf shapes by Rusty Wallace, digitally rendered illustrations by Jordan Campbell and paintings by Scott Silvey.

Scott Silvey “the empty vessel” by Scott Silvey in the group exhibition “Celestial Bodies”

TRADITIONS HIGHWAY: Russian-born, Athens-based photographer Irina Rozovsky presents a body of work, “Traditions Highway,” that brings viewers along for the ride as she traveled on Georgia Highway 15 between 2017–2021. The route is a 346-mile-long highway that travels south-to-north across the entire length of Georgia, crossing many rural towns between Florida and Watkinsville before it joins up with U.S. 441 through the northern part of the state. The majority of photographs offer slice-of-life moments, transforming the mundane into opportunities for quiet reflection. All are untitled, a choice that further reinforces the experience of fleeting encounters. Rozovsky’s photographs are accompanied by a few small paintings she collected from shops along the highway, all depicting lone homes or a church surrounded by rural landscapes in different seasons. These scenes, special enough to paint yet nearly impossible to pinpoint geographically, echo the anonymity and sense of rural Southern nowhere-ness that can be felt throughout the photographs. Rozovsky, who co-founded the photography workshop space The Humid, will offer an artist talk on Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. 

Irina Rozovsky

ENTROPY PLAN FOR THE WESTERN FAM: Steven L. Anderson’s exhibition, “Entropy Plan for the Western Fam,” consists of recent video, painting and works on collaged paper that contemplate the power of nature. The most dramatic, “Half 483 Years,” resembles the cross-section of a tree with multi-color concentric rings that represent a meditation on growth and time as well as an abrupt, violent death. The exhibition’s title is a play on “Energy Plan for the Western Man,” Joseph Beuys’ 1974 U.S. tour of lectures and performances. Beuys, a German conceptual artist, founding member of Fluxus, and key figure in the development of art happenings, is known for coining “social sculpture,” a concept regarding the potential of art to transform society by addressing political, environmental and cultural issues. Like Beuys, Anderson works across various media to harness energy flows and inspire more harmonious living with the natural world. Anderson, who is a co-director of the artist-run gallery Day and Night Projects in Atlanta, will offer an artist talk on Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. 

Steven L. Anderson

PATHWAYS: Kristy Bishop is a teaching artist from South Carolina whose work is rooted in weaving and textiles. Drawing inspiration from tablet, rigid heddle and inkle weaving—centuries-old techniques that result in narrow bands of intricate patterns—Bishop honors the craft’s heritage while applying a contemporary vision. Her solo show, “Pathways,” consists of “MetaWeaves,” wall-bound tapestries in which these bands have been interwoven into compositions of contrasting colors. 

Kristy Bishop

MORPHOGENESIS: On view in the Lobby Case, “Morphogenesis” shares a collection of small metal sculptures by Wilay Méndez Páez, an Atlanta-based Afro-Cuban artist who frequently utilizes salvaged car parts and cast-off materials into his constructions. Named after the biological process that causes a cell or tissue to develop its shape, the exhibition speaks to how these industrial fragments hold a resemblance to organic forms. 

Martijn van Wagtendonk

COMING SOON: Two additional exhibitions are scheduled to open July 6. “Scissors, Paper, Art: Works by Jack Burke and Claire Clements” combines the collaged works of two artists who, in addition to being active members of the Athens Area Plein Air Artists group and sharing past careers in education, celebrate the natural world through their creations. A solo show of paintings and collages by Amiri Farris will spotlight how the artist explores themes of history, culture, memory and perception through a bold, expressive style. A reception for “Scissors, Paper, Art” will be held July 18 from 6–8 p.m. A reception for Farris will take place July 25 from 6–8 p.m., and a zine workshop will follow on July 27 at 2 p.m. Both exhibitions will remain on view through Oct. 5.