Art Rocks Athens: Retrospective of art of the period of 1975-85, May 23 – July 17, 2014


Karen painting in the UGA Department of Art in spring of 1983

Athens, Georgia is well known for its vibrant music scene. What is less known, however, is that artists from the era of of 1975-85 gave rise to the music, and then their music went on to influence the art.

I returned to my birthplace of Athens, Georgia as a UGA freshman in 1978. The B-52’s had already become known as the funkiest pop-new wave dance band around. The Athens music scene was growing rapidly and by 1981 on any given week, I had the choice of seeing REM, Pylon, Love Tractor, Dreams So Real, or Art In The Dark. By day Michael Stipe was a fellow student in my figure drawing and painting classes, and by night REM performed for a $3 cover at Tyrone’s Bar.

Karen with her painting, 'All That You Dream' at the ArtRocksAthens opening

Karen with her painting, ‘All That You Dream’ at the ArtRocksAthens opening

Like the musicians, those of us who were visual artists created high-energy works. I began exploring figurative abstraction in my paintings. I started small and progressed to very large canvases, some as large as 6′ x 8′. (see Figurative Abstraction under ARCHIVE). The art reflected the music, and the music reflected the art.

The opening reception at UGA’s Lamar Dodd School of Art was an opportunity to reminisce and reacquaint with old friends and their art. I am grateful to Robert Croker, curator and former UGA professor, for being asked to participate in this show with my peers from that incredible period of Athens/UGA art school history. 

For more information visit