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Lord Love You: Works by R.A. Miller from the Mullis Collection on view at the Lyndon House Arts Center August 8–October 24, 2009

April 17, 2009

ATHENS, GA – Organized by the Georgia Museum of Art, Lord Love You: Works by R.A. Miller from the Mullis Collection will be on view at the Lyndon House Arts Center, 293 Hoyt St., in Athens, Ga., from August 8 through October 24, 2009. The exhibition will feature 83 paintings, drawings, sculptures and whirligigs created by the Georgia self-taught artist Reuben Aaron “R.A.” Miller. An opening reception will take place at the Lyndon House Arts Center on August 15, 2009, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Born in 1912 in Rabbittown, just outside of Gainesville, Ga., R.A. Miller spent most of his life working in cotton mills and preaching as a Free Will Baptist. After retiring due to a back injury and glaucoma in the late 1970s, Miller realized his calling and began creating art full time. Inspired by nature, popular culture and his personal life, Miller’s works take as their subjects animals and other “critters,” angels, devils and members of his family. His use of bold colors, humorous themes and fun designs helped him become a local celebrity.

By the mid-1980s, Miller’s lawn was completely decorated with hundreds of his whirligigs and other works. The sight of his vibrant property caught the attention of the Athens-based rock group R.E.M., who in 1984, along with filmmaker Jim Herbert, chose Miller’s home as the setting for their “Left of Reckoning” video. Although Miller considered his work “junk” instead of art, his popularity continued to increase. Since his death in 2006, Miller has been recognized as one of the great self-taught artists of the South.

Lord Love You will include whirligigs, wind ornaments and other works similar to those found on Miller’s hilltop. Some of Miller’s more personal works of art and more controversial images will also be on display. The works in the collection represent many of his best-known themes: God, country and religion. “This exhibition presents both typical and unique images by R.A. Miller, an important figure among the South’s contemporary self-taught artists,” said Paul Manoguerra, curator of American art.

Miller’s art was priced so inexpensively that his collectors number in the thousands, both in the state of Georgia and beyond, and the museum is asking anyone who has one of his works to contribute to an online gallery that will collect as many images as possible. If you would like to send an image of your R.A. Miller, please email digital files to gmoapr@yahoo.com or send prints c/o Jenny Williams, Georgia Museum of Art, 90 Carlton St., Athens, GA 30602. Photos and stories will be collected on the museum’s Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/gmoa.

“The Georgia Museum of Art is grateful to Carl Mullis for his willingness to share his private collection of works from R.A. Miller with the citizens of Athens,” Manoguerra said. “We are also grateful for our collaboration with the Lyndon House Arts Center and Athens-Clarke County Department of Leisure Services in hosting the exhibition as part of our ‘GMOA on the Move’ programming during our time of expansion.” The exhibition is generously sponsored by the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art.

Writer: Caitlin Neglia, media relations intern
Contact: Jenny Williams, media relations coordinator, collardj@uga.edu

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