Drék Davis, Crown of Oshun - Femininity archival inkjet print (2004-2012)
10th Anniversary Letters:
• From the Artistic Director
• From the ATHICA Board
ATHICA voted BEST PLACE
TO SEE LOCAL ART for 2nd Year:
Historic Cobbham FoundationThank You Ashford
for hosting our out-of-town artists!
Rapid-fire construction of the
Temple Room by:
Affiliated Events History:
Saturday, Jan. 21st
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Thank You for refreshments:
& libations from:
Fri, Feb 3: 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Grit-Off! with performance:
Keep Hope Alive
Enjoy a variety of grits from local
Southern restaurants competing for
'Best Grits in Town,' & Ted Kuhn's
original work addressing the relationship between the Hope Scholarship & the Georgia Lottery.
The 'Best Grits in Town' Judges:
Hilary Brown: Grub Notes writer for Flagpole Magazine
Alice Mills: Maker of Red Mule Grits - Mills Farm
Don Chambers: Athens' Musician$6.00 suggested donation includes tasting.
Libations provided by:
Friday February 17th
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
The Universe of
A multimedia and literary event in honor of the late Athens poet & author John Seawright.
$12 Suggested donation
Includes refreshments by Marti's at Midday and Trumps catering.Event coordination by Judy Long &
Historic Cobbham Foundation
Sunday, February 19th
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
A Paper Quilt Event for kids
with artist Hope Hilton & Education Coordinator Sage Rogers
2:00 Storytelling with Hope Hilton
2:30 Gallery Tour
2:45 Paper Quilt Making
Hear the story of Harriet Powers and her quilts! Artist Hope Hilton will be reading the children's book Stitching Stars, based
on the life of Athens' most famous quilt maker. After that we will take
a quick tour of the gallery exhibition, culminating in an art project
based on Hilton's piece for the exhibit. With this as inspiration, we
will work with kids of all ages to create a paper quilt square with
their very own story.
$$3.00-$6.00 Suggested Donation (but no one turned away for lack of funds)
Sunday, March 4
3:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Artists' Panel Discussion, 10th Anniversary Birthday Cake
& a lecture by Curator Judith McWillie on the Saint Paul Spiritual Holy Temple of Memphis, TN
For schedule & more
Sunday, April 1
1:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Auction of selected artists' works (1:00), Walk n' Talk (4:00) and the
Amazing Janine's card tricks (5:00) and (5:30) reception with refreshments by:
Free! With catalogs & John. R Seawright books available for $6.00
Wed, April 4
-The Grey Album8:00 p.m. Doors Open 7pm
REALLY last chance to see Southern while enjoying this reknowned poet.
A VOX UGA CWP event, organized by Jeff Fallis.
Free! With catalogs & John. R Seawright books available for $6.00
|Saturday, January 21st, 2012
- Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
Curator: Judith McWillie
| Assistant Curator: Lauren Williamson
There are three times: a present of things past, a present of things present, and a present of future things. When Stanley Bermudez Moros’s painting Heritage? was removed from the Biennial Faculty Exhibition at Gainesville State College in January 2011, the artist explained that as he grew up in his native Venezuela he learned in school about the American civil war, slavery, and the Ku Klux Klan with “the rebel flag” as the abiding visual anchor. Moving to Texas to attend college, he regarded the blue St. Andrew’s cross, with its thirteen stars superimposed on a red background, with a disconcerting sense of familiarity, like an unexpected celebrity sighting. “My English was limited but that image stuck in my head.” Happening upon a Klan rally in Houston, “it made me realize it was real; it was something that did exist, not just from things I had studied.”1 Bermudez Moros resolved the cognitive dissonance of stumbling upon the flag at a Klan rally while also seeing it in front of public buildings and football games by painting Heritage?. The painting “focused solely on the image that has been perceived as aggressively hostile in other areas of the country,” wrote Martha T. Nesbitt, president of Gainesville State, “that being the graphic depiction of a lynching.”2 True enough, Bermudez Moros has two torch-bearing Klansman presiding over a ghostly lynching behind the familiar “X,” and Nesbitt knows all too well that it is this image of the American South that, even today, has the most currency in the world. Now, in the 21st century, she—
or the Southern heritage group that pressured her to take
the painting down—will have none of it, no more of
what Faulkner three generations ago called “stubborn
Augustine. The Confessions, AD 398
Meanwhile, in Petrosani, Romania, Gabriela Dumbrava, professor of philology at the University of Petrosani, writes of the South:
It is not accidental that this self–revising act of the text, performed by challengingDumbrava goes on to list more stereotypes of the American South culled from its literary canon, among them the idea of a land apart, a nation within a nation where identity is based on binary oppositions—north/south, black/white, inside/outside, us/them—at once constitutive and self-defeating, and by narratives so numbingly familiar that Southerners themselves find it hard to distinguish between reality and the caricatures ascribed to them.
the very cultural patterns and codes that generated it, coincides with moments
of cultural crisis, when reality outgrows language to such an extent that it brings
about the need for new forms.
On the level of culture, this process is most visible in the frenetic revisiting of
canons, in the reassessments of cultural patterns, and in the questioning of
artistic forms. On its deeper level, the perpetual self–revision of culture as
text is driven by the shift from archetype to stereotype under the pressure of an
ever more complex reality that seems to constantly outgrow our means
of appropriating it and proclaims a crisis of language.4
There is, however, another story of how modern art as understood—or perhaps presciently misunderstood—by idealistic Southern Baby Boomers of the 1960s came to be embraced as a kind of salvific ray that privileged primary experience over derivativeness, opened channels to the world writ large, and fed a gathering momentum to transform the old archetypes and stereotypes.
This exhibit explores the vitality of this impulse in the works of nine artists who share no dominant aesthetic or visual ideology, although all but one of them have lived, at various times, in Athens, GA, a community emblematic
of the radical contemporaneity of visual art in the post 1960s South.
Radical contemporaneity is a term first used by Jean Baudrillard to ascribe equal weight to the shards of local histories scattered by global capitalism. Without assigning moral value to what he observed, he sketched the conditions that made it possible for a generation of commercial, academic, and civic entrepreneurs to ignore history even as they traded on its glosses. But in the same sense that modernism might be perceived on the local level as liberating rather than totalizing, the anthropologist Johannes Fabian appropriated the term radical contemporaneity to question the controlling nature of systems of meaning in which language more appropriately used to describe space is imposed on the orders of time (“way back when”, “ahead of its time,” “up to date,” “advanced” or “backward”).5 He called for an experience of the rest of the world as coeval, not distanced in ways that immunize us to the affective experiences of others. Fabian’s irrevocable insight into the distancing effects of language prompted the British geographer Doreen Massey to deem radical contemporaneity a condition to be actively pursued in a new discourse on the nature of space and place as mutually constituted and inter-relational.6 “Space” (including cyberspace), she argues, is the “sum of our connections,” not just the domain of anonymity, boundlessness, and disorientation; “place” is where we are based, self-identified in community, but not necessarily bounded.7 These insights and ideas have many implications for artists of the American South.
Initially, I drew from these sources in order to make sense of my own experience. For thirty-seven years I taught painting at the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art while living among and writing about artists whose status in the art world was ambiguous because of their biographies. They practiced outside of established professional networks, were uncredentialed, and steeped in “place.” The best of them—Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley and J. B. Murray, for example—made works of such authority and power that they revealed the South’s visuality to be as generative as its music and literature. Some were African Americans working with repurposed objects—such as Lonnie Holley and Hawkins Bolden—or asemic writing—such as J. B. Murray, James Hampton and Minnie Evans. Didn’t early European modernists—Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst, for example—employ these same idioms as they mined the traditions of Africa from afar? Didn’t Southerners like Robert Rauschenberg (Texas/Florida), Jasper Johns (South Carolina), and Cy Twombly (Virginia) distance themselves from their origins, as all serious artists of their generation were expected to do, only to transform modern art into something that could be simultaneously global and local? These are definitive synchronic encounters, not just lapses into irony and syncretism. Sensing something profound in this para-modernity, many artists of the American South ignored antimonies between art and religion, aesthetic and documentarian practice, folk and fine art and embraced the vernacular, cueing each other interaffectively.8
Interaffectivity is the lynchpin of this exhibition wherein nine artists, a religious visionary, and three deceased and revered heroes—a group spanning four generations—converge in an installation intended to activate their work in unexpected ways.
The initial impetus for Southern was the decision of Washington James Harris, grandson of Washington “Doc” Harris (1905 – 1995), founder of the Saint Paul Spiritual Holy Temple in Memphis, to allow the photographer James Perry Walker to exhibit the first ever authorized images of the Temple’s interiors and grounds. His 35mm photographs date from the late 1980s and show the Temple in its prime. Referencing the rituals and protocols of the actual Temple, his photographs are installed in a special room within the exhibition, a circumscribed place interacting with the more fluid and undetermined space of the gallery. Doc Harris established the Temple according to Biblical and Masonic protocols and, for over fifty years, directed its members in constructing over 1500 sacred works that he called The Degrees of God and Craftwork. Honoring its status as both a church and a Masonic Temple, these works and the interiors and exteriors of the grounds
remained off limits to all but members of the extended Harris family and their church. Although family members have a multi-generational commitment to the Temple’s care, the volume of works to be maintained and the lack of assistance as children and siblings leave to attend college threaten its survival.
From a cul-de-sac bordering the property, a wire and lattice fence several blocks long and large polychrome constructions in wood and metal obstruct public view of the grounds; an iron gate once allowed egress to clients of Doc Harris’s licensed healing ministry. Today, sixteen years after his death, pharmacies in the nearby Boxtown neighborhood still carry the medicinal herbs and tonics he prescribed. For generations of clients in the Mississippi/Arkansas Delta and beyond, the Saint Paul Spiritual Holy Temple was a respite from an invasive world oblivious to the ways of faith and reckoning.
In the early 1980s, independent of each other, James Perry Walker and I began visiting the Harris family and interviewing Washington Harris until his death in 1995. As natives of Memphis, we had heard about the Temple from teenaged pranksters who discovered it on the edge of town and named it “Voodoo Village,” creating an urban legend that persists today in websites such as HauntedAmericaTours.com and in YouTube posts of drunken drive-bys. Washington Harris strictly rejected voodoo and modeled his organization after the African Native American spiritual churches founded in New Orleans in the 1920s that also had live-in compounds, traditional healing, counseling, and social services. In the tradition of these churches, he made “shields,” nkisi-like bundles of specially selected objects customized for individuals and worn secretly on the body for protection. (A nkisi is a Kongo charm made of specially configured objects said to affect healing and well-being. They were of particular interest to early European modernists.) Harris was a professed Christian and 33rd Degree Freemason; his services resembled those of mainstream Protestant churches with traditional hymn singing and call-and-response communal prayer, but these services took place in an atmosphere suffused with triumphant abundance rendered with impeccable rectitude and conviction. “This place is created for future generations, and the fallen of the world.”9
The Temple’s vulnerability—many works have been lost or stolen; buildings are collapsing—and its fragile status in the city of Memphis due to the Voodoo Village urban legend, are memorialized in the tabernacle-like installation of James Perry Walker’s photographs, exhibited here for the first time. A room without a ceiling, accessible but discrete, separates them from the rest of the installation. Viewers enter through a facsimile of the door used by Doc Harris’ clients as they approached his “office” (healing room) to wait for his counsel and attention. While Walker credits Doc Harris for the powerful and enigmatic imagery of his work, these exquisitely composed photographs, are intended to be viewed as art, whereas the actual Craftwork and Degrees of God are not, something Washington Harris emphasized on many occasions.
A New Southern Archetype
I propose the St. Paul Spiritual Holy Temple as a new southern archetype, one that broadcasts the subliminal spirituality recognized by many artists of the American South as the origin of their work rather than its goal.
The struggles inherent in balancing this recognition with the frantic demands of life in the 21st century are nowhere more apparent than in Steven Thompson’s work. In a recent exhibition at English Kills, Brooklyn, Thompson created an aesthetically expansive installation of objects that mingle luxurious substances such as amber, meerschaum (an opaque white mineral mined in Turkey and used to make carved smoking pipes), polished crystals, stuffed birds, white felt “ghosts,” and skeletons with artificial versions of themselves in an almost textbook application of Baudrillard’s idea that the actual and the virtual are becoming indistinguishable.10 Yet Thompson’s work is about moral tension, not postmodern theory. His “artifictions,” as he calls them, may appear inscrutable, but his practice is an instinctive probe of a culture struggling to cope with the implications of its premise. His fearlessness in taking on one of the central issues of our time—the destabilization of values as markets supersede the core dynamics of identity—positions him at the vanguard of this crisis. Worship the Wind, his site-specific installation is composed of a set of beams and trusses, resembling a tree with three attached “badges” that read “Death is a star,” “Trust the dust,” and “Worship.”
Sam Seawright is one of three artists in the exhibition, including James Perry Walker and Hope Hilton, who memorialize friends and ancestors, both blood kin and adopted. Seawright’s, The Poet’s House, a suite of photographs of his older brother John’s apartment on Meigs St. in Athens, was shot while packing John’s belongings for storage after his unexpected death from an aneurysm at 45. Entering John's rooms a week after his death in 2001, Sam found himself surrounded by an ad hoc collection of found objects, trophies, and mementos scattered across every available surface. He photographed details of the array in available light, without changing anything. John Seawright was a poet and freelance essayist who published in The Oxford American and other Southern journals.11 His Ghostfry column in Athens’s local progressive weekly, Flagpole Magazine, exposed politically suppressed or ignored histories recovered from old newspapers and microfiche records in libraries and private collections across the state. Though most of Ghostfry’s stories originated in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, John was particularly sensitive to the microcosm/macrocosm effects of linking them suggestively, rather than explicitly, with contemporary politics and world events. His prolific oeuvre is a primer for a new understanding of the American South. Like William Eggleston’s “democratic forest,” the essays transmute the romance of a doomed oligarchy clinging to the residual entitlements of colonialism into a drama of profound interaffectivity. Examples of Ghostfry columns, three of John's poems, and photographs of the two brothers are on display along with Sam Seawright's photographs.
“It’s taken me ten years since John’s death to emotionally process this work. John and I often talked about a shared project riffing off of each other’s aesthetics and the subtle differences of our take on Southern culture. This is probably the closest we ever came to realizing that.”12 It is Sam Seawright’s instinctive reach for wholeness in the wake of loss—his incremental positioning and re-positioning of the lens in order to achieve closure—that identifies these photographs as sacred medicine not unlike Washington Harris’ Shields.
The theme of labor and labor ritualized appears throughout the exhibition—in Washington Harris’s monuments to domestic service, as photographed by James Perry Walker, in Hope Hilton’s The Recognitions, and in Judy Rushin’s From the Carapace Series and Bent Line. Rushin believes that “being an artist is an industrious job and [she has] the hands to show it.”13 She ritualizes the work ethic in her repetitive mantra-like sanding and polishing of panels that she attaches to grids of unfinished 1 x 2’s. The results resemble mass-produced modular construction laid bare by natural disasters or demolition. Rushin breaks down the panels and reconfigures them into provisional environments, small marginal spaces like lean-tos and other temporary constructions that reference transient relationships between people and spatial environments.14 Her decision to fabricate the panels herself, while economically efficient, also serves a ritualistic purpose that privileges do-it-yourself craft and human-scale technology. Humble materials belie the time-consuming casting of plastic skins to make illusionary pegboard and other hard lacquered extensions that can be resized to fit available space with sleek simplicity. What began as theory—an investigation into Gaston
Bachelard’s ideas about shelter in The Poetics of Space—synapses with an empathic sense of problem solving that honors shelter wherever we find it.
In The Recognitions: Mrs. Harriet Powers’ Bible Quilt (2012), Hope Hilton pays tribute to Harriet Powers (1837–1910), a formerly enslaved African Native American who lived in Winterville, GA pictured at left circa 1898, as does Hilton now. In 1885 and 1898, Powers created two famous storytelling quilts now in the collections of the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The Powers Quilts are aesthetically reminiscent of Henri Matisse’s portfolio, Jazz, although they predate it by 60 years. They merge biblical motifs with recorded celestial events of the 19th century such as eclipses and meteor showers. Referencing the Smithsonian quilt, Hilton overlays scraps of vellum to “recreate her [Powers’s] labor” 102 years after her death. Reenactment is the master dynamic of The Recognitions, a series Hilton describes as “an experiment in social architecture.” It began in 2007 after her grandmother gave her a photocopy of a letter describing an enslaved and hearing-impaired African named Henry who walked sixty miles, from Huntsville, Alabama to Shelbyville, Tennessee, to announce the birth of her great-great-grandmother.15 Hilton walked the same route in 2007, visiting sites associated with her family—the place where her grandmother was born, family cemeteries—photographing and journaling in her blog as she travelled.16 These mimetic journeys, including the ephemeral re-enactment of the Powers Quilt, are traces of atonement (at-one-ment) that expose Hilton’s struggles with space and place, the ambiguities of representation, and the purposes of art itself.
Drék Davis lives in the central Louisiana town of Bernice, a short distance from Grambling State University where he is an associate professor of Art. This places him within the axis of the Yoruban South where, in 1809, ten thousand refugees from the revolution in Haiti (then Saint Domingue) resettled in New Orleans and up the Mississippi River, bringing the Yoruba Orishas, a pantheon of archetypes reminiscent of the Greek gods, into the creolized, mostly Kongo-based milieu of the Mississippi Valley. Davis’s prolific career and activism includes writing for ColorLines: a Journal of African American Popular Culture and The Athens Banner Herald, while working as a mediator for juvenile offenders, and curating Race: (Enter Personal Politics) for ATHICA in 2005. Here Davis installs two large floor canvases from Idle Warship, a series in which Veve, graphic signs that summon Loa/Orisha in Haitian Voudoun, are superimposed on Confederate flags. A serialized inkjet print, A Crown for Oshun–Femininity (2011), emblematizes a defunct 2004 assemblage made from a scrap of gold-painted plywood, metal brackets, and tire treads relief-rolled in pink. Oshun is the Orisha of maternal femininity; she represents the fecundity of the ocean and brings diplomacy, intimacy, and wisdom. Davis finds her ghost in a trash heap and restores her to honor without ignoring the circumstances that put her there. She hovers above Shango Fans (2009), a set of inscribed silhouettes that address the Orisha of male virility while resembling the hand fans used to memorialize Jesus and Martin Luther King, Jr. in African American churches.
Davis’ edgy, literate art blurs the edges of the sacred and the secular, as do the Orisha themselves. In a world where religion is political and politics is treated as religion, cultural icons can be as sacrosanct as religious ones, as Stanley Bermudez Moros discovered when he was censored from the Gainesville State College faculty exhibition. “Since I’ve undertaken this journey of cultural and social nitpicker,” writes Davis, “I’ve been allowed to see and learn. Such a diversion has been delivered in a collision of the past, present and future”.17
In a nod to the art market, Stanley Bermudez Moros divides his web site into pages advertising his “folk art” and “fine art.” Heritage?, however, is in a class by itself. “I wasn’t expecting that kind of feedback,” he explains, “I’ve been an artist for 25 years. I’ve always known that artwork can be powerful, but I never dreamed it would be this powerful to the point that I would be censored.” Exhibited here for the first time since its censorship, the painting has become a touchstone in the popular press and in distinguished academic journals, such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, as part of the ongoing debate over academic freedom and first amendment rights. But the Southern stereotypes it exposes, including its criticism on the Southern Heritage Alerts blog as “despicable,” have long been successfully branded and commoditized.18 The more neglected image of the African or African American woman pictured at the top has been consistently ignored. The orange background that frames her, a “window” that places her in the scene more concretely than the other humans depicted, and her temporally ambiguous hairstyle and clothing, suggest that she languishes within the spatialized experience of time that so troubles the anthropologist, Johannes Fabian. The problem with postmodernism’s “flailing attacks on history”19 says Fabian, is that it numbs us to both the successes and the moral debasements of the past.
Ted Kuhn, our youngest artist, is a recent recipient of Georgia’s Hope Scholarship, a state-run merit-based program that assists students with their educational costs if they maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0. On the evening of February 3rd, he performs Keep Hope Alive, demonstrating, both literally and metaphorically, the reflexiveness of funding the scholarship with the Georgia State Lottery. Knowing that the statistical probability of winning is nil, he purchases 500 tickets with personal funds available because of the scholarship and scratches them off as patrons of the gallery sample grits from local restaurants competing for best in show. The detritus of scratched off tickets and the chalkboard used to tally results remain on display in the gallery after the event. Kuhn’s performance is a carnivalesque miasma of inter-subjectivity that tests the relationship of chance and merit. The moral tension so evident in Davis’s, Thompson’s, and Hilton’s works surfaces again in an act where the stakes are high, especially for the artist. Will he be perceived as using his scholarship to frivolous ends, or is he, in effect, donating $500 to state education?
Formalism as Equanimity
Michael Lachowski’s digital photographs are brilliantly formalist with a hypnotic verve and equanimity that transforms the rural towns he visits in the annual Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG), and the older in-town neighborhoods of Athens and Atlanta, into a luminous odyssey of recognition. He posts up to twelve new high-resolution images a day on his web diary, Sux Sez, without captions or the unmediated chatter of blogs. The cumulative effect of scrolling through over 5,000 images in reverse temporal order is an immersive experience that builds over time, inviting associations with earlier images vividly remembered, if difficult to go back and retrieve; one goes forward instead, into the next day. Fifteen images from Sux Sez are on display, chosen for their resonance with the exhibition’s predominant themes. Three more prints from the Summer Sets series, exhibited for the first time, pair images from BRAG according to their affinities of color, texture, geometry, and scale rather than their descriptive content. A trompe l’oeil fold divides each of them vertically like an open book. But these books are unsaid, intended to be read in a language of form and light—light that Lachowski goes out of his way to find, light that is always surprising, light that transmutes change, light that totalizes without suppressing the character of what it manifests.
The fluent abstraction of Lachowski’s photographs and of other works in the exhibition, including Hilton’s revisiting of Harriet Powers’s quilts and Washington Harris’s Craftwork and Degrees of God, is not a closed self-referential system or a polemical platform intended to suppress the uninitiated. It is a first principal that attends to the “crisis of language” identified earlier in this essay by Dumbrava, Fabian, and Massey. The artists in Southern, however, were born into “a reality that seems to constantly outgrow our means of appropriating it.”7 They know that it is their job to heal and reconstitute the world, not to become its
whore or victim.
I learned this many years ago when I first encountered the Yale art historian, Robert Farris Thompson’s revolutionary work, The Four Moments of the Sun: Kongo Art in Two Worlds, the catalogue for a 1982 exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Thompson and his co-curator, Joseph Cornet, paired funerary monuments from Kongo—the region of West Central Africa that is the ancestral home of many African Americans—with their counterparts in the American South. This crossover, though highly significant, was less affecting to me than Thompson’s ability to expose a seamless continuum of practice, aesthetics, and ethics in visual art. I thank him here for being attuned to this power and responsibility and for his generous support and friendship. He gave me the inspiration and the tools to transpose African models of material vision into my discussions of contemporary art over the past thirty years.
As an investigative model for the recurring use of
repurposed objects among artists in the South, I once proposed the Kongo nkisi, a pouch or carved human figure containing special objects and substances that, once
constellated, make sacred medicine. Today, given the
challenges of the times, I propose the more dynamic term, bilongo, meaning power amplified through interaffectivity. Washington Harris made machines intended to message grace, prescience, and regeneration. May he and all of the artists in Southern be honored for doing the same.
—Judith McWillie, Curator,
with editorial assistance by Lizzie Zucker Saltz
Jennifer Clark, “Stanley Bermudez: Artist Under Fire,” The Compass, February 11, 2011.
Tricia L. Nadolny, “Gainesville State Decision Sparks Silent Protest,” Gainesville Times, February 4, 2011.
William Faulkner, Absalom! Absalom! (New York: Random House, 1990), 7.
Gabriela Dumbrava, “From Archetype to Stereotype: a Postmodern Re–reading of the American South,” European Journal of American Studies 2 (2007): 2–9. http://ejas.revues.org/1693.
Johannes Fabian, Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes its Object (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002).
Doreen Massey, For Space (London: SAGE editions, 2006), 185
See Jonathan Hay, “Double Modernity–Para-Modernity,” in Antimonies of Art and Culture, ed. Terry Smith, Okwui Enwezor, and Nancy Condee (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008).
Washington Harris, personal communication with James Perry, 1989.
See “Steven Thompson at English Kills,” YouTube video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SE-XAdf6iRM, 6:40, posted by jameskalmroughcut, February 5, 2011.
See The Oxford American Book of Great Music Writing, ed. Marc Smirnoff (Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 2008).
See “The Poet’s House, John Seawright’s Vision,” Kickstarter, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1569547152/the-poets-house-john-seawrights-vision, accessed January 17, 2012.
See Website of Artist Judy Rushin,” www.swallowawindchime.com/info/about, accessed January 17, 2012.
Entering the Carapace: An Exhibition that Shelters,” Kickstarter, http://www. kickstarter.com/projects/786652908/entering-the-carapace-an-exhibition-that-shelters, accessed January 17, 2012.
See ”The Recognitions,” http://www.therecognitions.org/, accessed January 17, 2012.
Drék Davis, “Davis: Vision in Two Parts,” Athens Banner Herald, July 13, 2006.
See “Southern Heritage Alerts: Heritage Violation at Gainesville State College,” Southern Heritage Alerts Blog, http://shnvalerts.blogspot.com/2011/01/heritage-violation-at-gainesville-state.html, accessed January 17, 2012.
Johannes Fabian, Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 59.
Stanley Bermudez Moros
A Venezuelan artist, he currently resides in Athens, GA; born in Louisiana he was raised in Western Venezuela in the 1960s and 1980s. He received his B.F.A. from Sam Houston State University in 1990 and a Master’s degree from Radford University in 2000, with an emphasis in metalwork and jewelry. He has taught at numerous universities throughout Texas and Georgia including the Lamar Dodd School of Art as an Art Appreciation professor. Bermudez has been exhibiting professionally since 1990; many of his works focus on the Latin Community in the South. The painting, Heritage?, was influenced by the racism associated with the KKK and the rebel flag.
A native of Monroe, Georgia, Rodrecas “Drék” Davis earned his MFA in 2006 from the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art’s Drawing and Painting department. Primarily a mixed-media artist, Drék is also a saxophonist, audiophile, Hip-Hop head, and “lover of all things caffeinated.” His work has been published in the Politics Issue of Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters and ColorLines. A former columnist for The Athens Banner-Herald, Davis married his visual arts and journalistic experience to provide both an academic and formal review of the arts. Presently Davis is an assistant professor of Art at Grambling State University, in Grambling, LA.
Hilton was born in 1977 in Atlanta, GA. She is a cum laude graduate of the Atlanta College of Art (2003) and a magna cum laude graduate of The City University of New York, Hunter College, NY (2008). She is also the co-founder of the artist collective Dos Pestañeos (Atlanta/NYC). Hilton “curates, collaborates, designs, publishes, writes, and walks.” In May 2005, “You are My Salvation,” a public space for collaboration and events, opened in her MFA studio. In 2005 she was awarded the Good Earthling Award, a grant from the artist Harrell Fletcher and CalArts. She was a participant in “Open Engagement: Art After Aesthetic Distance” at the University of Regina, Canada in October 2007. Recently completed projects include a silent walk commemorating the Black Heritage Trail in Boston for Brandeis University, and in San Francisco. Dos Pestañeos had a retrospective at Alfred University in 2008. Hilton was awarded a Forward Arts Foundation (Atlanta) grant in 2010 and was a finalist for the Hudgen’s Prize.
Kuhn is an artist working in performance video and sound installation. He draws on “the rich possibilities inherent in personal interaction to propel forthright and striking performances.” He lives and works in Athens, GA.
Lachowski received a BFA in Photography from the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School in 1979, and has remained in Athens working in graphic arts and creative fields ever since. He is a founding member of the acclaimed band Pylon and the ad agency Candy. He publishes the quarterly photo, art, and music magazine Young, Foxy & Free. He has worked in photography, drawing, installation, film and video, and exhibits his work online and in occasional exhibits. His photo blog of daily images, Sux Sez, was sourced for the Southern exhibition.
Her work explores relationships between people and spatial environments through painting, sculpture, and installation. Rushin’s work has appeared throughout the US and in Korea. She has exhibited at Aqua Art Miami, FL; Art and Literature Laboratory in Cambridge, MA; Prospect 1-Satellite at Trumpet in New Orleans, LA; Mass MoCA, MA; and Soho20 New York, NY. She is the recipient of numerous grants; her work has been featured twice in New American Paintings.
Born in Toccoa, Georgia in 1959, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1964, where his father began preaching at the Tenth Street Methodist Church. In 1969, he moved to Athens, GA when his father became pastor of Chapel Wood Methodist Church. In 1982, he attended the University of Texas in Austin, TX. In 1985 he moved back to Athens. In 1990 he moved to New York City and worked at Robert Miller, Alan Frumkin, and Matthew Marks Galleries. He has traveled to France, England, Spain, Brazil, Rome, Florence and Tuscany over the past decade. His current studio is in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
John Ryan Seawright (1956–2001) was a poet and essayist. He frequently contributed to Flagpole Magazine, Athens’ local progressive weekly. He appeared in ‘Inside Out,’ the 1987 documentary about the Athens’ independent music scene. He wrote for The Oxford American. In 2009 the Athens, GA Orange Twin Conservation Community dedicated The John Seawright Forest, 100 acres of woodland in his memory. Please join us for The Universe of John Seawright memorial event on Friday, February 17th.
Born in Greenville, SC in 1967, he now resides in Brooklyn, NY. He received undergraduate degrees in Literature, Classical Languages, and Art from the College of Charleston in 1990 and 1991. He has an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Georgia and in Sculpture and Mixed Media from the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught academic and studio courses at the University of Georgia, The New School, and Parsons in New York. He currently shows at English Kills Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. He has exhibited at the Armory International Exhibition in New York, Miami/Basel and Rove Gallery, London.
He has an honorary degree in Classical Languages from the College of Charleston.
James Perry Walker
A native of Red Banks, MS, he currently lives in Memphis, TN, Tallahassee, FL, and rural Upstate New York. His photographs have been widely published, including his monograph, The Reverend (2006), a photo-biography of Reverend Louis Cole, a revered African American preacher in Western Tennessee and North Mississippi. For six years, from 1976 until the reverend’s death in 1981, Walker photographed this circuit preacher, the black Baptist congregations he served, and the roads he traveled. The monograph depicts the life and death of Cole, an African American minister who spread the Gospel and inspired his congregants. In it Walker fuses his own impressions with the reverend’s stories and sermons; his intimate photographs reveal the spiritual depth of one man and the extraordinary impact he had on his flocks. He received his PhD in photography from the Steinhardt School of Education, NYU in 1997 and was elected in the same year to The Legion of Honor of the National Rifle Association. He is founder of the Delta Axis Contemporary Art Center in Memphis, TN. He is a liscensed commercial pilot.
The family of Washington Harris of the Saint Paul Spiritual Holy Temple in Memphis, TN
Washington Doc Harris (1905–1995) was an African Native American born in Pleasant Grove, Mississippi in 1905. He later moved to Memphis, TN where he raised a family and founded the Saint Paul Spiritual Holy Temple in 1960. (The portrait
below is circa 1965). He was also a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Freemason. Under his direction, members of the extended Harris family and church created over 1500 sacred works that Doc Harris called the Degrees of God and Craftwork. Patterned after the Spiritual Churches founded in New Orleans in the 1920s, the Temple community created a sacred space unique in North America.
McWillie is professor emerita of drawing and painting at the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art. Her paintings and photographs have been exhibited throughout the United States and Europe. She is the author of numerous essays in arts publications including Metropolis and Artforum and anthologies such as Testimony: Vernacular Art from the African American South, The Art of William Edmondson, and Keep Your Head the Sky: Interpreting African American Homeground. She is co-author with Grey Gundaker of No Space Hidden: the Spirit of African American Yard Work, winner of the James Mooney Award of the Southern Anthropological Society. She has resided in Athens, GA since 1974.
Our Assistant Curator received her BFA in Painting from the Lamar Dodd School of Art of the University of Georgia in May 2010. She began interning at ATHICA last summer. She is creating studio work
independantly and working as a freelance photographer, graphic designer and has worked professionally as a photography assistant.
She most recently had work in ATHICA’s 2011’s OCCUPY: This is What Democracy Looks Like and contributed works to the ATHICA Mystery Triennial in Fall 2011.
This is her debut turn as a curator; in addition to typical assistant curatorial administrative responsibilities, she personally installed the majority of the artworks in the exhibition, aided visiting artists and oversaw the labors of numerous volunteers and interns. ATHICA lauds her professionalism, dedication and outstanding commitment to realizing the curator’s vision of Southern.
Our dedicated & talented Interns:
Andie Janet Ashe,
above interns & Lauren Williamson,
The Geitner Family: Kyle, Annie & Tyler,
David & Alli Stubbs
All Around assistance:
Jul Sexton & Savvy Dee
Sanity, zen & amusement assistance:
Scissor Lift barter:
Melissa Roberts / Canopy
Mario & Dave of Ashford Manor
Pete McCommons, Flagpole magazine
Poetry documentation: Judy Long
Piotr Misztal & Joel Izlar (FreeIt)
Our Macintosh Angel:
printer donation & assistance:
The A-CC community Service office:
Crystal Vick & Darla Wright
David Z. Saltz
Steven Thompson’s red hat message:
This sculpture would have been impossible without the efforts, support and friendship of Doug Booher, Anthony Wislar (in plaid), John Gburek, and Sam Gribbon, Melissa & Keyes Williamson &
I also wish to thank Lizzie Zucker Saltz for this opportunity &
Judith McWillie for her constant encouragement, support, & vision.