Art exhibit showcases Mercer alumni talent

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Amber Coleman / Cluster Staff

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Amber Coleman / Cluster Staff
Amber Coleman / Cluster Staff

“Turn, Turn” is the name of the newest art exhibition at Milledgeville-Baldwin County Allied Arts, a non-profit arts organization. The exhibit at the Marlor House in Milledgeville hosts the work of current Mercer University assistant art professor, Mr. Eric O’Dell, and former Mercer associate art professor, Mr. Roger Jamison. The opening reception was held on Jan. 12 at Marlor Arts Center, where both artists gave a lecture and discussed in detail their work. The exhibit is a collection of O’Dell’s paintings and Jamison’s pottery. Brian Renko, a Mercer alumnus who graduated as an art major in 1994, works as the program coordinator for Allied Arts. He said that he “studied under Jamison while he was a professor [at Mercer] and [he has] been a long time fan of [Jamison’s] work.” Renko has known O’Dell since 1990, when they were in Alpha Tau Omega fraternity together. He also shared a studio space with O’Dell in downtown Macon for several years. He has been working at Allied Arts since 1997 and helps to curate, install and register all visual arts exhibitions that are held at the Marlor Arts Center. O’Dell said that Renko was an influential part in successfully coordinating the show for him and Jamison. O’Dell and Jamison talked a lot about the name of the show and how their work related to each other. For the title, they talked about using the elements (earth, wind, fire, water), but they sounded either too generic or too farfetched.

Finally, O’Dell came up with the title “Turn, Turn,” which related to both of their lives. Jamison turns his pottery on a wheel. O’Dell said that his work is about the death of his mother and “turning the pages of life.” The title also applies to Jamison having had his turn as a Mercer professor and now O’Dell having his turn as a professor at Mercer. Jamison worked in the art department for about forty years teaching various classes including pottery, drawing and art criticism. O’Dell was one of his students at Mercer. Jamison is a well-known potter in Middle Georgia. He came to Macon after completing his Master of Fine Arts at Indiana University in 1974 to teach drawing, ceramics and design at Mercer. He retired from teaching in 2009 to work full-time in his studio. One of Jamison’s influences is folk pottery, and he also spent time working in Italy and Japan during residencies. He likes to be at the mercy of the process of making pottery. He enjoys just letting it happen and seeing the outcome. He makes pottery for people to use and operates a pottery business near Juliette, Ga., where he also built his studio. O’Dell graduated with his B.A. at Mercer in 1992. He has participated in a number of art exhibitions in the area. He worked as a curator at the Museum of Arts and Sciences. He has lectured and taught at Macon State College (now Middle Georgia State College). He also taught at Mercer as an adjunct professor from 1994 to 2011. O’Dell said that he enjoys working in the same way as Jamison, and said, “sometimes you just have to surrender to the faith of the process.”

The collaborative exhibit, “Turn, Turn,” is located at 201 North Wayne St. in Milledgeville. The gallery is free and open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. O’Dell’s and Jamison’s art will be on display until Feb. 21. For more information, call Allied Arts at (478) 452-3950.