Athens, Ga. – An exhibit featuring the early works of noted artist Lamar Dodd will open March 5 in Gallery 307 of the Lamar Dodd School of Art Building on the University of Georgia campus.
The exhibition of artwork from the collection of C.L. Morehead will run from March 5-28, according to Asen Kirin, associate director of the school and curator of the exhibit.
“We consider this the culminating event for the opening of this magnificent new building we have,” said Kirin, referring to the new art school facility on East Campus that was dedicated last fall. “We think it’s entirely appropriate that we focus on the early works of Dodd, who arrived in Athens in 1937, bringing to UGA and Georgia the most current developments from the New York City art world.”
In many ways, the exhibit is also a tribute to collectors of art and their importance to the field in the South as well, said Kirin. Athens businessman and entrepreneur Morehead’s collection is a perfect example, he said, of collectors supporting the arts in the South.
According to an article in Georgia magazine, “Over the past 18 years, [Morehead] has assembled the largest known collection of Dodd’s work: nearly 700 oil paintings, watercolors. . . Most are displayed in his home, where he gives tours to UGA’s visiting dignitaries and often puts them up for the night . . .The Dodd collection, along with other treasures he has acquired, will eventually go to the Georgia Museum of Art.”
Dodd’s work was the subject of a recent retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art Atlanta, but the new opening at the Dodd School is more narrowly focused on Dodd’s early years.
“It’s a way of showing the long-term impact of this man’s involvement with and support for art, and where it has led,” said Kirin.
Georgia Strange, director of the Dodd School agreed.
“Due to the generosity of C.L. Morehead and the curatorial eye of Dr. Asen Kirin, the School of Artis showcasing a selection of early work by Lamar Dodd,” she said. “Think about the thousands of students that enroll in classes here every semester who will be able to see the creative output of the young Lamar Dodd, a prolific painter who laid the foundation for one of the best public art programs in the country.”
Born on Sept. 22, 1909, in Fairburn and reared in LaGrange, Lamar Dodd took classes in Georgia but realized that he had to leave the South to advance his training. He enrolled at the Art Students League in New York City, where his primary teachers were Boardman Robinson and Richard Lahey.
He returned south to Birmingham, Ala., in 1933 to work in an artists’ supply store and championed a local art, one that featured southern scenes, southern history and southern people. As part of a national movement to put working artists into universities, Dodd was appointed to the faculty of the University of Georgia in 1937. Within three years, he had consolidated all teaching of the visual arts into one department and had even enrolled the first graduate students in a master’s program. The department grew quickly and, thanks to his efforts, is today one of the largest, most comprehensive art schools in the United States.
By the time of his death in 1996, Dodd represented Georgia’s visual arts community as administrator, teacher and advocate, and “as the most influential Georgia artist of his generation,” according to an article in The New Georgia Encyclopedia.
For information on the exhibit, call the School of Art at 706/542-1600.