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.
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, Millers 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, Millers 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 Millers 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 Millers hilltop. Some of Millers 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 Souths contemporary self-taught artists, said Paul Manoguerra, curator of American art.
Millers 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 museums Flickr page at www.flickr.com/gmoa