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Art exhibition features local students, community members

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As Newell Visiting Distinguished Scholar Leon Johnson and others hang photographs in Blackbridge Hall Art Gallery, the collaborative portraits begin to tell a story all their own—and it’s a story about Milledgeville.

Senior and exhibition curator Emily Strickland helps install artwork for "The Deposits: Vestigial Enclaves"Senior and exhibition curator Emily Strickland helps install artwork for "The Deposits: Vestigial Enclaves"Johnson, in collaboration with photography faculty member Clay Jordan, have created portraits of community members of Milledgeville, including students of Georgia College, in the exhibition, “The Deposits: Vestigial Enclaves.” This exhibition is curated by senior art major Emily Strickland as fulfillment of her museum studies concentration capstone thesis project. The exhibition is from Feb. 24 to March 28 and will hold a reception on Thursday, Feb. 27 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

In these photos, Johnson aims to explore an array of emotions including power and resistance, and the body as a landscape. These concepts were portrayed by unique mouthpieces seen in each portrait, which were modeled after aerial views of 15th century fortresses.

“I’m interested in the transition of scale: from the fortress-in-landscape to fortress-in-body, and the translation of power relationships, “ said Johnson, who created the mouthpieces seen in each portrait photographed by Jordan. “Each individual displayed in the fortress series are currently living in the Milledgeville area.”

Johnson’s aim at finding community members to use in his art led him to senior English major Mykel Johnson. Mykel, who is part of the PRIDE Alliance on campus, jumped at the opportunity to be photographed for the series.Johnson created unique mouthpieces, modeled after 15th century fortresses, which each model wore.Johnson created unique mouthpieces, modeled after 15th century fortresses, which each model wore.

“I think it’s a big step for me personally, I don’t know if it will mean that much to others,” said Mykel. “I’m trying to be more involved with PRIDE and represent it the best I can. Putting myself out there and letting others see me is a big step for me. I just think it’s great that we have an artist who thought about a different, but intriguing way to show minorities, and in particular members of the LGBT community.”

Another model in the upcoming exhibition is a familiar face of downtown Milledgeville— business owner Fielding Whipple. Owner of Whipple Office Equipment Company, which is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year, and husband to Dr. Harriet Whipple, professor Emerita of Biology at Georgia College, Whipple is a staple of the Milledgeville community.

“He asked if I wanted to be involved in a photo study,” said Whipple about being asked to participate by Jordan. “Georgia College has been part of my life since I married my wife 41 years ago—so of course I’d be part of it.”

Whipple, who is 91-years-old, says it was a unique experience posing for the camera, and portraying some of the emotions Johnson wished to convey, didn’t come naturally.

“They talked about how it was a study of fear,” said Whipple. “But, you know, I’ve never really been afraid of anything.”

Integrating the community characters such as Mykel Johnson and Whipple is one of Johnson’s goals for his time at Georgia College as the Martha Daniel Newell Visiting Distinguished Scholar.

“As citizens our conversations, and our creative engagements, are simply richer when the borders of difference vanish,” said Johnson. “I prefer the possibilities suggested by a town-hall chorus over the elegance of an artistic monologue,"

This photo series exhibition is part of a field-station at Blackbridge Hall Art Gallery that will offer creative investigations-in-progress, discussions and lectures, workshops in bookbinding and a location for research and reading.

For more information about this exhibit, contact Gallery Coordinator Carlos Herrera at 478-445-7025.

ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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For more information, contact University Communications at (478) 445-4477.


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