The Truth in Things: The Life and Career of Lamar Dodd

Overview

From the beginning of his practice of art, Lamar Dodd, one of the most influential artists in the twentieth-century South, subscribed to Vasari's dictum that drawing is the mother of the arts. Although Dodd passed through a variety of styles, always attempting to get at "the truth in things," the verities that underlie mere representation and make a picture a story, this relentless seeker's draftsmanship can be seen as the constant underpinning of his decades-long painting career. This first monographic treatment...

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Overview

From the beginning of his practice of art, Lamar Dodd, one of the most influential artists in the twentieth-century South, subscribed to Vasari's dictum that drawing is the mother of the arts. Although Dodd passed through a variety of styles, always attempting to get at "the truth in things," the verities that underlie mere representation and make a picture a story, this relentless seeker's draftsmanship can be seen as the constant underpinning of his decades-long painting career. This first monographic treatment of Dodd's life and work shows how, even in his more abstract works, description and narrative are intermingled so that symbols take on iconographic gravity through repetition. Thus, cruciform shapes reappear in the "heart series" of the 1970s, just as circles and lines become elemental representations of time and permanence in his "space series." William U. Eiland discusses the various stylistic shifts of the artist's truth-seeking, from the realism of the thirties, through the cubism and abstract expressionism of the late forties and fifties, to his return to a mature naturalism tempered by a growing optimism in the ability of the artist to order and explain the universe.

Lamar Dodd has been an arts administrator, arts advocate, and teacher, but he has always preferred the role of artist. As a young man, he studied at the Art Students League and there came in contact with many of the men and women who would define the major currents in American art for the remainder of the century. An early practitioner of ashcan and American scene principles, Dodd returned to his native South and made his project a cultural reawakening, one in which regional themes and concerns would predominate. He founded the University of Georgia's department of art and headed it until the mid-1970s. In 1995 the department was officially named the Lamar Dodd School of Art. Dodd also served as an "ambassador for art" in his role as a representative of the State Department abroad and as two-term president of the College Art Association.

Eiland treats the artist's career as a whole, going beyond the particularized discussions to date of certain phases or periods of Dodd's work. Dodd's goal has always been to find essential truths in nature and in humankind's relationship to our world. The Truth in Things reveals how consistent and unerring his quest has been.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book, with 98 color and 42 black-and-white reproductions, is a sweeping view of a career unmatched in its impact on the visual arts in the South."—Atlanta Journal and Constitution
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820318288
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1996
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 9.41 (w) x 12.33 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

William U. Eiland is the director of the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Nashville's Mother Church: The History of the Ryman Auditorium and the general editor of The Craft of Art (Georgia) and Crosscurrents in American Impressionism at the Turn of the Century and Images of Women in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art.

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