Information from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
TIFTON – The Gallery at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College will open a new exhibit, "Dodd's Cosmos", on Feb. 1 featuring the late Georgia artist Lamar Dodd.
The exhibit will be on display for three months and will be open to the public from Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
The Wiregrass Farmers Market and the Hilton Garden Inn will host a 5:30 p.m. reception at the Museum on Feb. 1 for the event which will feature samples of locally grown appetizers and a special beverage made specifically for the event.
Irene Dodd, the artist's daughter, will host a gallery talk during the opening reception for the exhibit. She will talk about memories of her father, discuss the paintings in the exhibit, and answer questions about the artist and his work.
The never-before displayed art is from the personal collection of C.L. Morehead, Jr. Morehead is an ABAC graduate (Class of 1948) and was a personal friend of Dodd. Before his death in 1996, Dodd made sure that Morehead, whom he referred to as "the son I never had", acquired a large collection of his work, including a great number of Cosmos Series pieces. Morehead began collecting pieces of Dodd's work in 1988 and over the last 25 years has managed to assemble the largest known collection that includes nearly 800 oil paintings, pencil drawings, and watercolors.
The exhibit also features a letter from Dodd explaining one of the pieces from the Cosmos Series. Also included is the well-known piece "Crucified Sun", which hung in the Georgia Governor's Mansion and the Oval Office while on loan to President Jimmy Carter. A rare artifact will also be available for viewing, Dodd's "mission jacket" displaying a number of space mission patches which commemorate each event that he witnessed during his tenure with the space program.
GMA Gallery Coordinator Polly Huff said Dodd is the most recognized artist of his generation from the state of Georgia. He lived his life as a passionate advocate for the arts and a skilled administrator. His most visible legacy is the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia.
Born in 1909 in Fairburn and raised in LaGrange, Dodd took classes at LaGrange Female College (later LaGrange College) when he was 12 years old. After a brief stay at the Georgia Institute of Technology, he taught art in rural Alabama before deciding to seek advanced training.
Dodd enrolled at the Art Students League in New York City and took private classes in association with the Ashcan School. He returned to the South in 1933 where he championed a "local art" that featured southern scenes, southern history, and southern people.
After being invited to Athens in 1937 and appointed to the faculty of the University of Georgia, Dodd consolidated all teaching of the visual arts into one department and even enrolled the first graduate students in a graduate program. The department grew quickly and, thanks to his efforts, is today one of the largest, most comprehensive art schools in the United States.
Invited by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to document humanity's conquest of space as one of nine official artists in 1963, Dodd began work on a series of paintings that required him to adopt a vivid, expressionistic style. He was given a front row seat to several spacecraft launches, as well as a seat in Houston's Mission Control Room in 1969 to witness the moon landing of the Apollo 11. He also sketched while sitting under a gantry in the Vehicle Assemble Building at Cape Canaveral, an unprecedented access for an artist. The majority of his NASA works are currently housed at the Smithsonian.
Dodd worked to combine statements from astronauts and scientific information with his own perception and vision of space. He ended up creating pieces which depicted the aeronautic events, but also touched on the spiritual meaning of space exploration to him as an artist and for mankind in general.
Dodd spent 30 years working on his Cosmos Series after completing his work with NASA. Heavy layering of paint, curved horizon lines, and shiny layers of gold and silver leaf are all present in the Cosmos Series. Through these techniques Dodd created a spectacular collection of works depicting space and forever preserving his memories of this historical experience.