Artists blended what they know with the voids of space at ATHICA’s new exhibition. The gallery opened their new building with a reception for The Golden Record: Far Beyond Our Galaxy on Aug. 18.
The Athens Institute for Contemporary Art’s exhibition was inspired by the golden records aboard the Voyager probes that were sent into space over 40 years ago. The records contain representations of Earth, such as whale noises, pictures of humans and Chuck Berry’s music. The curators put out a call for artists and let the selected ones explore the concept.
ATHICA is a nonprofit gallery devoted to supporting and promoting contemporary art in the Athens area. It regularly features exhibitions like The Golden Record that highlight some of the best artists in the region.
“This is a great event. So much of Athens is crafts so it’s good to have something so modern,” said Brandon Skelton, a University of Georgia student whose art was featured in the exhibition. Skelton’s untitled sculpture depicted a crumbling Greco-Roman column next to a broken drive-thru console.
Many of the artists examined the idea of recording humans and earth. For example, UGA M.F.A. candidate Mary Gordon collected postcards and similar scraps of paper with “You Are Here,” and UGA alumna Stephanie Sutton recorded three videos reminiscent of what can be found on the record titled “Demonstration of Licking, Eating, and Drinking.”
Other artists took the inspiration more literally. Athens local Mickey Boyd depicted the Voyager’s trajectory with steel, spray paint and metal wax, and UGA alum Katlin Shae combined weaving and sculpture in her piece “Space Bot (Homage to the Voyager).” The records are depicted in the woven tapestry and held up by a sleek metal frame. Shae said that she wanted to do more than just weave a picture of the record, so the frame itself is part of the sculpture.
The reception event kicked off ATHICA’s new location in the Leathers Building on Pulaski Street, and the gallery’s patrons and management seemed pleased with the result. The gallery stayed full with a diverse crowd as the artists mingled with the guests.
“They’re getting a chance to be with one another. It seems much more sociable,” said ATHICA regular Steve Suplee of the new building.
ATHICA moved because of a change in ownership in its old building. The space is slightly smaller but the new location is about a half mile from downtown and some of the infrastructure, such as the lighting, is newer and nicer. The process of moving took a lot of hard work and planning, but ATHICA board president Lauren Fancher said she thinks they made the right decision.
“It’s really a bittersweet goodbye because we really enjoyed being hosted by [the old building],” Fancher said. “It’s sort of like we’re out on our own — we’ve left the nest and need to take a step forward into the unknown, but we’re really excited about it.”
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the artist Mary Gordon's name was Mary Jordan. The Red & Black regrets this error and has fixed this mistake.