Sunday, August 30, 2015

Monhegan Museum of Art and History in Maine Exhibits Art by Lamar Dodd...

Monhegan, Maine: Monhegan Museum of Art and History is showing Lamar Dodd's paintings. The exhibit is called "Lamar Dodd ~ Half a Century of Monhegan Summers." For over forty years, Dodd traveled to Monhegan each summer to paint. Even so, his work is new to the people of the island. He is better known throughout the southeast. Lamar Dodd died in 1996.

Dodd's work is included in several significant permanent collections, including the High Museum in Atlanta, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art (both in New York), and the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. The Maine exhibit includes paintings from two Georgia collections ~ Lamar Dodd Art Center of LaGrange College in LaGrange, and the C.L. Morehead Collection in Athens.

I had seen pieces of Lamar Dodd's work throughout my college years. Dodd's connection to LaGrange College (he studied art there from age twelve) ensured that he would be known to art students there. At Young Harris College, several of the professors ~ some of whom were LaGrange College alumni ~ also knew the man and his art.

I can't say that I appreciated Dodd in the beginning. I had only seen a few of his paintings, and they appeared somewhat dated to me. They were reminiscent of works by other artists, and also of work that had fallen into the popular consciousness, and had been copied to the point of triteness.

It wasn't until many years later, when I returned to LaGrange College and saw a retrospective exhibit of his work, that I realized how important Dodd must have been, and how he had been working concurrently and probably alongside other important artists of the early 20th century. His work fit into that body of work and augmented it. He was an original. The works that I had seen on posters and in popular culture had likely copied him, and not the other way around.

Dodd's art will be on view through September 30th. (issue from the last week of August, 2015)

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