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ArtOFocus m a k l a h o
Vo l u m e 2 5 N o . 2
Contemporary Contemporary Realism Realism
p. 8 p. 8
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Drawing by Emma Ann Robertson.
Art OFocus m a k l a h o
Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition 730 W. Wilshire Blvd., Suite 104 Oklahoma City, OK 73116 ph: 405.879.2400 • e: firstname.lastname@example.org visit our website at: www.ovac-ok.org Executive Director: Julia Kirt email@example.com Editor: Kelsey Karper firstname.lastname@example.org Art Director: Anne Richardson email@example.com
I really like looking at art. This probably goes without saying. One of the perks of working in the arts is that I get to see new art on a consistent basis. Seeing art is part of my job. Even more than that, meeting artists face-to-face is part of my job. Meeting and talking to artists actually has become a part of how I look at art. After looking at artwork and drawing my own conclusions about it, I look forward to then hearing what the artist has to say. In some cases, this can cause a shift in my thinking that feels almost physical and the artwork itself has become refreshed and new again.
In my own art making, I spend a lot of time thinking about the creative process so I almost always have questions about how it was made or what material was used. For art viewers of all types, an explanation of “how” can open a new level of appreciation, a gateway into understanding the “why.” Beyond that, hearing a first-hand account of what the artist was thinking that led to the work’s creation often opens a new dimension of insight that I most likely would never have reached on my own. Nearly every opportunity I have had to hear an artist speak about their own work has led to a broadened perception in my mind. If you, like me, are interested in the artists and processes behind the art, you can’t miss the Tulsa Art Studio Tour on April 10-11. Ten artists in eight studios invite the public in to see their creative space, view works in progress and to ask questions about how and why it’s made. Visit www.TulsaArtStudioTour.org for more details. For artists who are interested in refining their ability to articulate their ideas, attend OVAC’s artists retreat, April 16-18 to help you speak about your work and make public presentations. More information is at www.ArtistSurvivalKit.org.
Art Focus Oklahoma is a bimonthly publication of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition dedicated to stimulating insight into and providing current information about the visual arts in Oklahoma. Mission: The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition supports visual artists living and working in Oklahoma and promotes public interest and understanding of the arts. OVAC welcomes article submissions related to artists and art in Oklahoma. Call or email the editor for guidelines. OVAC welcomes your comments. Letters addressed to Art Focus Oklahoma are considered for publication unless otherwise specified. Mail or email comments to the editor at the address above. Letters may be edited for clarity or space reasons. Anonymous letters will not be published. Please include a phone number. Art Focus Committee: Janice McCormick, Bixby; Don Emrick, Claremore; Susan Grossman, Norman; MJ Alexander, Stephen Kovash, Sue Moss Sullivan, and Christian Trimble, Oklahoma City. OVAC Board of Directors 2009-2010: R.C. Morrison, Bixby; Richard Pearson, Rick Vermillion, Edmond; Jennifer Barron, Susan Beaty, Stephen Kovash (President), Paul Mays, Suzanne Mitchell (Vice President), Carl Shortt, Suzanne Thomas, Christian Trimble, Elia Woods (Secretary), Eric Wright, Oklahoma City; Joey Frisillo, Sand Springs; Anita Fields, Stillwater; F. Bradley Jessop, Sulphur; Cathy Deuschle, Elizabeth Downing, Jean Ann Fausser (Treasurer) Janet Shipley Hawks, Kathy McRuiz, Sandy Sober, Tulsa. The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition is solely responsible for the contents of Art Focus Oklahoma. However, the views expressed in articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Board or OVAC staff. Member Agency of Allied Arts and member of the Americans for the Arts. © 2010, Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. All rights reserved. View this issue online at www.ArtFocusOklahoma.org.
Kelsey Karper firstname.lastname@example.org
On the cover Tracey Harris, Fort Gibson, Food Descending a Bookcase, Oil on Linen, 28”x34”
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Oklahoma City artist Holly Wilson tells stories and captures moments through her work in sculpture, painting and photography.
Profile: Holly Wilson
Fort Gibson artist Tracey Harris creates unexpected fantasy in her realistic contemporary oil paintings.
Maybe Sprout WIngs
What began as a childhood love of comic books has developed into playful, geometric artwork inspired by everything from history to bug splatters.
Benjamin Harjo Jr.’s Joyful Life and Art
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A Tulsa exhibit explores themes of change, loss, death and freedom in a series of bold paintings with subtle surreal details.
Kristal Tomshany’s Form in Flux
Laurie Spencer’s ceramic works range in scale from 6 inches to 22 feet, and draw inspiration from around the world.
Laurie Spencer Serves Up Some Earthly Delights at the Gardiner Gallery, OSU
A collaborative exhibit at [Artspace] at Untitled showcases accessible art for everyday life.
Function and Design
Oklahoma-born artist Andrew Polk merges his respect for the uncontrollable factors of life, and his sentiment for Oklahoma in an exhibition at City Arts Center in Oklahoma City.
The Drive of Chance
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Three young artists are realizing ambitious ideas for Momentum 2010.
Seeking to develop new conversations about art and new advocates for living artists, this new OVAC program launched earlier this year.
Contextualizing Art: The Oklahoma Art Writing and Curatorial Fellowship
business of art
The Creativity Coach gives tips to move through life transitions and quit procrastinating on your creative goals.
Ask a Creativity Coach
at a glance
Through the Lens
An Edmond exhibit showcases a collection of historic photographs and cameras.
29 30 Round Up | New & Renewing Members
(p. 7) Tracey Harris, Fort Gibson, To The Light, Oil on Linen, 38”x38”; (p.14) Laurie Spencer, Tulsa, 2009 Ceramic firing; (p. 16) Origami Globe light fixture by Klint Schor, Dining Benches and Tray by Kyle Golding ; (p.20) Delvie McPherson, Oklahoma City, Procreation, Brooch: Die formed and patina copper and brass, 6”x2”
(left) Holly Wilson, Oklahoma City, What Lies Beneath, Bronze, Wood, Encaustic, Plexi-glass, 21”x15.5”x5” (right) Holly Wilson, Oklahoma City, Boy’s View, Bronze, Geode, 4.25”x4”x4”
HOLLY WILSON : WHaT Lies BeNeaTH
by romy owens
Holly Wilson is amazing and so is her artwork. I had a chance to interview her while she was preparing for her exhibit called What Lies Beneath at the Goldesberry Gallery in Houston.
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ro: Let’s start right off with your Cigar Figures please, which are so substantial and so delicate simultaneously. They are beautiful, charming and evocative. So, who are they? Where do they come from? And what inspired the series? HW: My Cigar Figures are cast of real cigars butts and found sticks. I remember a Native American story from my childhood that my mother told of the “Stick People”. These Stick People were dark figures that would run through the night and call your name; the Cigar Figures are my re-interpretation of that story. No one knows what these stick figures look like because the story goes that you would die if you were to follow and look at them. The story was a way of warning people of the evils of life and to be careful. I always had a hard time with the story because I wanted to know what they looked like; so many years later they became real sticks with cigar bodies. The cigar part came in grad school. There was a man who smoked cigars and I noticed that as he got to the end of the cigar that it looked like a girls body wearing a dress, very whimsical; so I started to collect them and I found sticks for the legs and added the most simple of heads to the top. This is where I made the rest of the story in my own mind of the stick people and added the twist that they are the whimsical of life.
my minds eye or the sketch, just that it gets me to the table. Many times as I am working one figure the simple gesture of the figure’s shoulder or turn of the head will spark another completely different piece. There are other outside elements at play that also will lead to an image. The way a stick looks like a bird in flight or the inside of a geode rock and the amazement my son had when he saw that for the first time. These all begin to intersect and the work grows from the many elements seen, found, remembered or felt. There are sometimes that it is a dream that I am drawing, and then there are those nights that it is the magic of the night and the quiet mind that it just happens.
ro: I love that... I saw on your website that you work in lost wax. I have no idea what the lost wax method is and I know I could Google it, but where’s the fun in that? Will you humor me with an explanation? HW: With my bronze work I am casting in my studio with the method of “lost wax.” In lost wax you create an object in wax then add sprues, which will be the channels for the metal to flow through the mold to the object. The sculpture will then be invested which is a compound that is either poured over it, or dipped, then that is placed in a ceramic kiln to burn out the wax. This is where the technique gets the name because the wax is lost leaving a void for the metal to fill. The total ro: Would you mind talking about the mask that burn out time can vary depending on the size appears on the characters in multiple works of your but average is about 18 hours with temperatures art? reaching 1350° F. You pull the mold out of the HW: The masks are creatures from nature and the kiln and place in a sand pit. In the last 30 minutes child’s imagined world. As a child we would make of the burnout the metal is melting in a propane masks and be anything we wanted to be and we fired furnace. You lift the crucible out of the furnace could do anything in them. I always wanted to fly and pour the liquid metal into the empty cavity and to this day I still dream that I can jump until of the mold. That sits until it is cool and then you I take flight. These masks are a way to represent Holly Wilson, Oklahoma City, Cigar Girl Walking, Bronze, can remove the shell and if all went well you have the different personas that we need or desire to be Encaustic, Wood, 12.5”x5”x4” a bronze figure that was once wax. Cut the sprues, in life. do some sand blasting to clean the surface, add the ro: So I’m wondering then, does each stick person have her/his own patina to get a color, and voila! You’re done! I have utilized this process story or are we seeing one specific character in different masks? over the past ten years and it, combined with the small scale, allows me HW: Each of the figures is individual and independent of the others. to work in sculpture with freedom and complete control of the process There is a theme of a boy and a girl and in a group there may be a and final surface treatment. narrative with one another. Even though each figure does have their ro: From lost wax to encaustic work, are your encaustic pieces own story, a universal story if you will, one that I hope we all can portraits of the stick figures? How do you decide whether to connect with in one facet or another. work 2D or 3D? ro: When you are creating artwork, do you sketch? Is there a plan? Or HW: I use the encaustic as a method to drawing with relief. Some of do you just start sculpting and let each figure spontaneously evolve? the images are from the figures with masks but most are my sketches. HW: It can start with seeing something in my life that strikes a For me, it is hard to get “around” a thing on paper; there is no volume chord, like the way my daughter and son each sit differently to look at for me to move. The encaustic lets me draw my weighted lines and something on the ground. I then begin working that over in my head create depth. I do also love the immediate quality of the process. as I chase my two kids around the house or try to make myself go to Working with bronze there are so many steps, working with encaustic sleep at night. When I do get to sit down in the quiet of the studio I the results are very immediate and it’s rewarding. I move back and make some simple sketches. I don’t worry that it is just as I saw it in continued on page 6
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forth between the mediums checking to see if it would fit better with this process or the other. I have also cast the encaustic in bronze and used the encaustic as a background for the bronzes. There is a fun series I have started in the encaustics that I call “portrait of ____” (fill in the name of the work, bird man) because I find it funny to have an image of a sculpture painted like we have portraits painted of people, which makes my figure like people having their portrait painted. This may only be funny to me, though. ro: Funny, indeed. While I haven’t seen as many of your photographs as I have seen sculptures, I see the emotional connection. How do you switch gears between photography and sculpture? Or do you? HW: I do not feel like I have to switch gears, they are the same but at different levels of information; one can at times inform the other. The camera lets me get the whole scene at once and the sculptures are stripped down to just the most basic information, raw emotion, portraying a spirit of youth and quiet innocence. ro: Are your photographs staged to create a look and feel or are you discovering a moment that reflects a feeling and capturing it? HW: I am in the moment “most” of my life and my photos are that as well. My Pentax is normally only 5 steps from me at home, I use my iPhone all the time to get the quick image when I see one while out, like we used the Polaroid. If the image captivates me then I go back to it again. This is where I would “stage” the image… clear the clothes off the bed etc. to get that image, draw that emotional feeling from the scene. Holly Wilson is a board member of the Oklahoma Art Guild, as well as a member of Urban 5, Individual Artists of Oklahoma, and (of course) OVAC. See more of Holly’s work in the OVAC Virtual Gallery or on her website www.hollywilson.com. n romy owens can be reached via mental telepathy or through her website www.romyowens.com
(top) Holly Wilson, Oklahoma City, Ghost of the Dead, Archival Color Print, 34”x24” (bottom) Holly Wilson, Oklahoma City, Bird Man, Bronze, Wood, Copper, Oil, 8.75”x2”x9.75”
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U N IV E RS IT Y
C O L L E G E O F
A R T S
O KLAHO MA
A N D D E S I G N
F I N E
OPENING RECEPTION 4-6 pm, Thurs., April 8 Fourth floor gallery, Nigh University Center
For more information visit: www.uco.edu/fineartsanddesign or call 405-974-2432
Honoring Former and Retired Art Faculty
This exhibit will feature the work of more than 25 former UCO art instructors including Bert Seabourn, Connie Seabourn, Don Narcomey, Cletus Smith, Katherine Kunc, Jo Ann Adams and Pam Huskey * Dr. Bob Palmer will curate this exhibit
“Students pay teachers their highest compliment when they create beyond the classroom.”
April 8-May 30
One donation helps keep 20 vital arts groups strong. They give us so much to love, year-round. And from your donation, we all grow - our communities, our creativity, our economy.
(left) Tracey Harris, Fort Gibson, Preening, Oil on Linen (right) Tracey Harris, Fort Gibson, Nesting, Oil on Linen, 26”x20”
MAYBE SPROUT WINGS
by Allison Meier
Women sprouting feathers from their fingers and growing birds’ nests in their hair bring unexpected fantasy to Tracey Harris’ contemporary realism. The Fort Gibson artist elegantly depicts these strong women and their vulnerabilities in the soft colors of her graceful oil paintings.
“I started working with representational paintings about four or five years ago,” she said. “Previously, I had done installation work and abstract work, and at some point I realized I’d somehow lost my audience so I started painting representationally again.” While she has changed her style to be more realistic, her paintings still have conceptual elements as they portray female figures trying to survive despite their difficulties. In What would have become of Bodhisattva if she had had to pay rent?, the six-armed female Buddha juggles nine red balls that are too many for her numerous hands to catch. Another woman sits nude as she patiently knits her clothes starting with two red yarn socks in Working Her Way Up. “I enjoy putting a woman in a place that’s not quite working and I like seeing little failures in the pieces,” she said. “I think that has to do with my being a single mother.” Harris recently moved back to Oklahoma from Kansas City with her five-year-old son to be closer to her family. She said that she wants her work to “inspire empathy for women who have too many expectations on them” as they balance their mother roles with work and the things necessary to survive. “Throughout the last 20 years or so, there’s been a feminist bent to everything I do,” she said. “In the recent pieces there are a lot of archetypal women, like the mermaid and the bird woman.” The Midwestern Mermaid sits on a bed with her eyes downcast, Harris letting the viewer wonder if she is “so beautiful for being this siren mermaid” or is she just thinking “man, I wish I could get rid of this tail.” One bird woman admires her new feathers in Preening, while another ponders their usefulness when the vines around her ankles keep her from taking flight in Well Grounded. While Harris said she loves to paint “anything with skin,” other paintings give inanimate objects life, as in Trigger where lingerie floats without anyone inside, asking whether it’s the garment or the person filling it that makes it attractive. Food Descending a Bookcase has the chaos of books knocking fruit over a shelf of art history books, referencing
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(top) Tracey Harris, What would have become of Bodhisattva if she had to pay rent?, Oil on Linen (middle) Tracey Harris, Fort Gibson, Trigger, Oil on Linen, 24”x30” (bottom) Tracey Harris, Fort Gibson, Midwestern Mermaid, Oil on Linen, 30”x40”
Tracey Harris, Fort Gibson, Working Her Way Up, Oil on Linen, 50”x48”
the movement in painting pioneered by Dadaist artist Marcel Duchamp. “I like for the works to be somewhat sensual and mysterious and have people who are anonymous,” she said. “They look kind of like old world European still lives, and then something quirky might hit you. I want people to be able to look at my paintings for a while, and I want them to have some teeth to them rather than just being pretty paintings.” Harris grew up in Fort Gibson and left to study art at the Kansas City Art Institute. After finishing her bachelor’s degree, she moved to England and attended Goldsmith’s College at the University of London where she received her master’s degree in visual arts. She taught art history and drawing, but currently works as a fulltime artist specializing in portraiture. “It seems like I’ve been painting forever,” she said. “Even when I was younger and in high school, my teachers would allow me to
skip classes to do art. I wouldn’t know what to do if not painting. It’s not always the most rewarding profession, it’s just like this compulsion.” Works by Harris are in collections at the Oklahoma State Preservation Fund at the Oklahoma City Capitol Building and the National Museum of the United States Air Force. In 2010, her work will be featured in the National Contemporary Realist exhibit at the M.A. Doran Gallery in Tulsa and the Contemporary Realists exhibit at JRB Art at The Elms in Oklahoma City. In 2011, she will have a solo exhibition at the Leslie Powell Foundation in Lawton. For more information on Tracey Harris and her art, visit www.traceyharrisartist.com. n Allison Meier is a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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Ben Harjo, Oklahoma City, Along Came a Spider, Acrylic and Gouache, 32”x28”
Benjamin Harjo Jr.’s Joyful Life and Art
by Emily Payne Benjamin Harjo Jr., an enrolled member of the Absentee Shawnee tribe and an Oklahoma City resident, is a contemporary Native American artist whose colorful, geometric works evoke a sense of playfulness and fun. His passion for art began at an early age, when a love of comic books inspired him to start drawing. From the ages of 10 to 18, Harjo lived with his grandparents near Byng, OK, and spent his free time drawing comics in the woods. Although Harjo had no formal art training in high school, his interest in the subject matter led him to apply to Santa Fe’s Institute of American Indian Arts in order to pursue their program in animation. After being accepted, Harjo learned that the animation program had been discontinued. However, he decided to stay at the school and had the opportunity to work with fellow classmates T.C. Cannon and Linda Lomahaftewa, and instructors Fritz Scholder and Allan Houser. At the IAIA, Harjo also met Seymour Tubis, an instructor and mentor who taught him printmaking techniques and encouraged him to continue his education in college. After being drafted and serving nearly a year in Vietnam, Harjo enrolled at Oklahoma State University. In 1974, he received a Bachelor’s in Fine Art from OSU. Since then, Harjo has been working in pen and ink, painting using acrylic, gouache, and pastel, and creating woodblock prints. Throughout his career, he has been exposed to other artists’ work, which has served as an inspiration for him. He notes that sometimes as he is working, he may look down and see glimpses of another artists’ work in his style. However, it is difficult to compare Harjo to other artists, as his style is unique. With geometric patterns, repetitive images and shapes, and vibrant color, Harjo’s style commands your attention. Harjo is reluctant to characterize his works as completely abstract, since his pieces usually contain recognizable human or animal figures. Harjo’s colorful creations are the result of his continued attraction to bright colors and interest in how colors react to each other. An added bonus is the fact that when others view his brightly colored creations, they have a feeling of happiness. Harjo has a sense of humor and a zest for life which is reflected through comical imagery, witty titles and the use of bright, vibrant colors. Harjo doesn’t always depict Indian subject matter, but he does always portray subjects in his own unique style. Harjo says he is inspired by a lot of different things. While legends, history and dreams are perhaps not surprising sources of inspiration, Harjo also finds inspiration where many others would not. Things as diverse as bug splatters and dirt on a semi truck and crows picking at a dead animal on the side of the road lead Harjo to think differently about his work. While unconventional, one can imagine Harjo translating bug splatters and dirt into beautiful geometric patterns and converting the image of birds picking at a carcass into ideas about the cycle of life. It is perhaps this ability to see beauty and joy in the everyday that so endears people to Harjo and to his work. Harjo’s talent has earned him many well deserved awards over the years. In 2005, he was asked to be the poster artist for the Santa Fe Indian Market, a venue where he has won numerous top awards since 1983. In 2007, Harjo was invited by the Oklahoma Centennial Commission to create a poster for the state’s 100th birthday that would honor Oklahoma’s American Indian influence. Recently, Julianne Vineyard of Carmel Valley asked Harjo to create a label for their limited edition Zinfandel Rose wine. Harjo’s work is also featured in numerous Oklahoma museums including the Gilcrease, the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History and the Red Earth Center. In January 2010, Harjo’s work was featured in a one man retrospective at Oklahoma State University’s Gardiner Art Gallery. This show was also accompanied by a woodblock and printmaking workshop led by Harjo. Upcoming events for the artist include a calendar signing at Tribes 131, a Native American art gallery in Norman, and participation in several Indian markets including the Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market, the Santa Fe Indian Market and the Haskell Indian Art Market. More information about the artist is at www.benjaminharjojr.com. n Emily Payne is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the University of Oklahoma where she is studying Native American Art History and working as a graduate assistant. Emily lives in Oklahoma City and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Harjo, Oklahoma City, Symbols of Freedom and Oppression, Acrylic and Gouache, 32”x28”
Ben Harjo, Oklahoma City, Along Came a Spider, Acrylic and Gouache, 32”x28” Ben Harjo, Oklahoma City, The Protectors, Acrylic and Gouache, 32”x24” Ben Harjo, Oklahoma City, Symbols of Freedom and Oppression, Acrylic and Gouache, 32”x28”
Kristal Tomshany with her painting Epiphany.
Photo by Don Emrick. Kristal Tomshany, Tulsa, Evensong, Oil on Board, 12”x9”
Kristal Tomshany’s Form in Flux
by Janice McCormick At the Tulsa Artists’ Coalition Gallery during the month of January 2010, Kristal Tomshany’s aptly titled exhibit Form in Flux weaved together a cluster of intertwined themes: change, loss, death and freedom. Several stylistic features dominate Tomshany’s art: bold swirling brushstrokes, subtle surreal details subverting the overall impression of a realistic image, and strongly raking light. Some of her recurring motifs are birds, cut tree limbs with branches pruned/truncated, an open hand, stones and boxes. Comparing the explosive fury of her earlier work That Which Entangles (2006) with the calm acceptance of the later work Quo Vadis: Where Doest Thou Go? (2009) proves to be most revealing. The former work depicts a black bird hanging upside down, with one of its legs entangled in string. Its gaping yellow beak is the only speck of color against a dull light brown background and the explosion of black and gray feathers flying out in all directions. Its other leg hangs limply; the violent struggle must have just ended. It is a macabre dance of death rendered so powerfully, its randomness so senseless. Quo Vadis: Where Dost Thou Go? also depicts a dead bird, a sparrow, set against a blue background. Although “against” proves not to be quite accurate, for here, as elsewhere, the background refuses to stay put. Broad brushstrokes curve in patterns reminiscent of Japanese stylized waves. They seem to commingle with the bird. This little sparrow’s inert body lies diagonally across the picture plane, its beak and eye closed. Off canvas, a strong light from the top casts a shadow of the bird’s body as well as accentuates both claws and creamy white feathers on the breast, tail, and underbelly. Its right wing, an opaque reddish brown and black, is closed and trapped by its right leg. It will fly no more. In contrast, the sparrow’s left wing, a wash of light browns and grays, is fanned out. The translucent quality of the wash allows the blue curving lines of the background to bleed through. Several blue-tinged strokes wash over the bird’s neck, white cheek and brown crown. In fact its crown blurs into the background. This interplay between stillness of the body and animated blue strokes suggests that this sparrow’s form and very life force are dissolving back into the cosmic energy from whence they came. Thus, paradoxically, not only does Quo Vadis? answer its own question, but also speaks to the senseless death throes of the earlier work That Which Entangles. Death is revealed to be not so much as a complete annihilation as a reversion to cosmic energy. Reaffirming this acceptance of the inevitability of death is Evensong which depicts a dead goldfinch gently lying in an upraised open hand, suggestive of an offering to the land, the evening sky and the crescent moon. The open palm is another recurring motif which appears in three other of Tomshany’s works. In addition, Evensong reflects her general shift from the muted and somber palette of browns and blacks of her earlier work to a brighter and more vibrant one of oranges and blues. Here, as in other works sharing this color scheme, the vibrancy of the various shades of orange is balanced by calming blues. Behind the offering hand, a reddish-orange background undulates with sweeping grayish purple brushstrokes, vaguely suggestive of hills. It is twilight when the last glowing light of
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Kristal Tomshany, Tulsa, Portrait of Kenzie at Thirteen, Oil on Wood, 40”x20”
Kristal Tomshany, Tulsa, Quo Vadis: Where Does Thou Go?, Oil on Wood, 9”x12”
the sun that has just set lingers in the wispy clouds, echoing the oranges and gray purple streaks of the land. Between these clouds and the horizon line, a strip of blue gradually shifts from light to dark with a hint of purple as the sky darkens. Evensong portrays both the dying of the day as well as the dying of the goldfinch and the loss of its song, but there is no gloom in this work. From the left side an unseen light streams in to highlight the rounded forms of the fingers and to brighten the yellow and white feathers of the goldfinch. This light is perhaps surreal or cosmic since pictorially neither sun nor moon could possibly be its source. As in Quo Vadis?, the Evensong bird has returned to its origin. There are also several portraits in Tomshany’s exhibit, including one of the artist herself and two of her husband, Tom. Yet, it is the unusual approach to a painting about her daughter which resonates with me the most. Rather than being representational, Portrait of Kenzie at Thirteen is a symbolic evocation of the unpredictable, troubling and yet magical transformation from child to adolescent. Reminiscent of a shroud, a purple-black hoodie hangs against a diffuse backdrop of muted orange, light yellow, lavender, and purplish gray. One sleeve has a ragged hole in it. Conspicuous by her absence is the wearer of that garment. Less noticeable is the fact that this hoodie appears to hang in midair. This effect is due to the swirling brushstrokes
brushstrokes cross underneath the lower bird’s wings and chest, like a lively breeze. Then these brushstrokes swirl away, ending in a curving flourish. Surreally, the main diagonal string from which these origami birds hang blurs and then fades away entirely, thus defying gravity. All in all, this work symbolizes a mother’s delicate but uncertain balancing act: desiring to stay connected to this young girl/woman, while accepting her need for independence; hoping she will flourish, while recognizing that it is beyond her control. As these works demonstrate, Kristal Tomshany’s work successfully tackles such difficult life experiences as change, death, loss and freedom.
Kristal Tomshany, Tulsa, Birth of Prometheus, Oil on Wood, 12”x9”
More about the artist can be found on her website at www.sorghumsentinel.org. n Janice McCormick is an art reviewer who has been writing about art in Tulsa and Oklahoma since 1990. Currently she teaches philosophy part-time at Tulsa Community College. She can be reached at email@example.com.
that give the backdrop a substantial feel or visual weight. The viewer can not be sure if this background is the sky at sunrise, or a skillful faux wall-finish. Once again a bright raking light, a few key gestural brushstrokes, and the imagery of birds add to the work’s emotional complexity. The bright light accentuates a pair of white origami birds, each hanging from strings attached to their wings. The upper one soars downward, while the lower one flies upward. Broad lavender
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A piece created during a fire sculpture workshop led by Laurie Spencer in November 2009 on the OSU campus.
LAURIE SPENCER Serves Up Some Earthly Delights at The Gardiner Gallery, OSU
by Lisa Prior In art school the ceramic majors were always an easy spot: the Birks, the vegetable-dyed hemp clothes, the sweet smell of body sweat barely masked by a cocktail of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap with a suspicion of patchouli. At student potlucks they could be counted upon to provide lentil and brown rice pilafs served in lovely hand-thrown earthenware dishes; meanwhile the heavy-metal sculptors would rock-up with various forms of liquid nourishment and the bespectacled new media students, of which I was one, would drop by to engage in obsessive eye-rolling while talking amongst themselves. At an early age I was seduced by the nice smock-wearing lady on the TV craft show who deftly conjured pots and bowls from her turning wheel like a cobra charmed from its straw basket. After numerous failed attempts to produce even the humblest beaker, I stood in awe and envy of the inchoate patience possessed by these People of The Clay. Work begins well before any overt signs of creative activity: like planted seeds there’s a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes before you sit down to a big organic salad. So, here’s the deal with clay: first you have to take it out of the bag, and depending on how it was processed and/or stored it needs to be re/de-hydrated. Next the clay has to be “wedged,” a technique of vigorous manual manipulation whereby pockets of air are massaged out of the clay - as these hidden culprits may explode during firing, which is very anti-social kiln etiquette, akin to a flatulent burst in an elevator. So “wedging” is de rigueur, and while it may sound as simple as any other word ending with “ing” like, sleeping, eating or farting, do not be fooled; the technique itself is a sort of vinyasa yoga move requiring strength, stamina and an element of measured restraint. Finally, your clay is out of the bag, “wedged” and the fun can begin. Now brace yourself for years of failure and disappointment. Prepare to spend weeks, months even, making an object only to have it collapse or explode just before the finish line. You need to keep in mind that this same rigorous training is happening concurrently for glazing techniques. “Would eating crushed cursed opals while rolling around on a bed of metal shavings salvaged from the hull of The Lusitania be less painful?” I ask myself. So the next time you see a bowl or sculpture and think “how pretty” you might want to consider the cost. Ceramicists are truly the Russian Ballerinas of the art world, which makes the Birks and shapeless hemp attire all the more confusing. If I were to forfeit a normal childhood and
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(top) Laurie Spencer, Tulsa, Sessile Blue, Ceramic, 21”x9”x9.5” (middle) Laurie Spencer, Tulsa, Uberous, Ceramic, 16”x15”x15.5” (bottom) Laurie Spencer, Tulsa, The Bounty, Ceramic, 8.5”x10.5”x11”
adolescence to hours and hours of practice, punctuated by injuries and unrelenting verbal thrashings by a woman named Magda, I’d at least want to be wearing a feathered tutu. Now, take Laurie Spencer for example, I’ve done a brief survey of Spencer’s work and here is what I can tell you: the woman has an enormously high tolerance for pain and suffering. She makes REALLY REALLY BIG THINGS and she makes really really little things, to wit twenty-foot tall, site specific, habitable domes requiring up to 10 tons of clay and six-inch high paper-thin, slip-cast porcelain sculptures. A sensible person would keep within the same scale because the above mentioned learning curve will dog you should you stray too far from your figurative calling circle. But it gets better, and better still. Several years ago, Spencer traveled to Ecuador to learn a Pre-Columbian technique for making water whistles. Let me explain: water, stored in the base of these sculptures forces air out of the orifices creating polyphonic tones like bird-song as opposed to a single tone produced by a gym coach’s whistle. Her mastery of scale results in a range of pitch that includes the aforementioned birdsong to the scintillating moans of a November squall blowing through an abandoned pier. And speaking of moans, Spencer’s objects are a well-planted Garden of Earthly Delights. Nooks, crannies, knobs and nipples whisper visual come hithers. If you hurry you can catch her show at OSU’s Gardiner Art Gallery in Stillwater from February 10 - March 5, 2010. For a further taste of Laurie Spencer visit www.lauriespencer.com. n Lisa Prior is available for lunch. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Couch by Rick and Tracey Bewley and Sue Moss Sullivan; Line Theory Room Divider by Joe Slack; Coffee Table by Joe Slack, Rick and Tracey Bewley
FuNcTiON & DesigN
Collaborative exhibit for [Artspace] at Untitled showcases accessible art for everyday life
by Susan Grossman Fiber artist Sue Moss Sullivan patted the space beside her and said, “Have a seat.” Really? We’re in the “living room” of [Artspace] at Untitled and it seems, well, inappropriate to sit on what is part of the exhibit, Function & Design. But here’s the cool thing about it – that’s the point. Everything is accessible. Completely. Function & Design is the second collaborative effort for the gallery, following the success of Dinner in the Deuce in 2008 which featured themed dining tables and settings created by groups of regional artisans. This exhibit expands that concept to incorporate the rest of the home including the living room, dining room, bedroom, home office, media room and an outdoor patio room. For curator Laura Warriner, the purpose of the project was to create functional, welldesigned objects while at the same time showcasing the talents of a large group of diverse artists. “I believe the artists who worked collectively on each of the featured rooms influenced one another in ways even they may not have anticipated and the results are truly unique,” Warriner said. “The six rooms presented in Untitled’s galleries are certainly diverse and offer a range of possibilities for today’s lifestyles.” In light of the current economy and changing attitudes towards the environment, Warriner asked the 52 participating artists to give careful consideration to materials used for their pieces. Therefore, a number of pieces and designs feature recycled, reused and repurposed products. The living room, for example, is composed of furniture and accessories constructed almost entirely of found or recycled products. Rick and Tracey Bewley, Ron Ferrell, Kenneth Fitzsimmons, Birthe Flexner, Amy JacobsonPeters, Joe Slack and Sullivan created the entire room, from the ottomans and chairs, to the wall hangings and flooring coverings, by reusing materials. “Tracey and I made the coverings for the sofa, chairs and ottoman with the burlap bags that are used to ship coffee beans,” Sullivan said. “Each of us has a style and we combined them to create this cohesive room.” Distinctive metal room dividers, furniture frames and book shelves are accented with fiber work by Sullivan and pottery pieces by Flexner. Closer examination reveals lampshades are enhanced with the bottoms of plastic soft drink bottles. A framed window
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Bar and Table by Elisa Cossey and Nicki Albright; Glass Plates by Nicki Albright; Flatware by Loren O’laughlin; Serving Utensils by George Wilson; Glass Sink by Elisa Cossey
panel composed entirely of the same scalloped bottoms, was created by Jacobson-Peters. “A passion for this type of design and a desire to have fun inspired our group during the collaboration and we hope those who see the outcome will share in this excitement,” the living room artists wrote in the exhibit catalogue. The dining room team was led by Kyle Golding. They created a modern meets Middle Eastern esthetic tied to a Moroccan-style theme. Of their design they wrote, “Hard surfaces of concrete, stone, steel, copper, glass and raw wood combine with softer elements like leather, cotton, silk and paper” to capture the exotic and dramatic nature of Moroccan décor. Golding chuckled when asked how it was working with 13 other individual artists to create a unified dining environment. “It was challenging at first,” he said. “Our group had a variety of artists and for some it was the first time they had collaborated. I ended up being the de facto leader and we decided to wrap our work around the Moroccan look with a modern edge. We kept it very loose and casual.” Although he works in a variety of media, for Function & Design Golding created the furniture in the combination sitting and dining areas which feature red and gray calf leather trimmed with traditional Moroccan nail head design. Frank Wert designed the tile and wood tabletop to go with it. “I was inspired to participate in this project because of the quality of work that is exhibited at Untitled and because of the great experience I had with Dinner in the Deuce,” Golding said. “You meet a lot of artists who do what you do and that is very motivating to me.” A long trip to visit her daughter in Japan inspired the gorgeous colors in fiber artist Diane Coady’s coverlet on the stunning four poster bed in the bedroom exhibit. Using the ancient Japanese art of dying fabric, shibori, she created a virtual landscape of colors. “Our theme for the bedroom is nature and silk is organic in nature,” she said. “During the 14-hour flight to Japan, I was inspired by the changing landscape out the window of the plane. You take this big, bell curve route over North America, Greenland, the Atlantic, to get there. I had taken the fabric for the bedspread with me to Japan and when I started working, I inadvertently picked up all of the colors I saw on my way over.” Shibori is the Japanese term for a technique of dying cloth by clamping, pleating, binding, folding, compressing or twisting. It’s the precursor to today’s tie-dye. Coady’s spread, thrown across a bed that features curving, swaying posts made of bois d’arc simply beckons you to lie down. “The wood for the bed itself is among the oldest around and the posts are curved to represent trees as they are in Oklahoma – shaped by the wind,” Coady said. “What I love about this particular bedspread is that you don’t have to ‘make’ the bed and at the same time makes the bed completely accessible.” The many unique and one-of-a-kind elements that comprise each of the rooms are for sale and range in price from $100 to $6,000. Function & Design is on display at [ArtSpace] at Untitled through March 27. Visit www. artspaceatuntitled.org for more information. n Susan Grossman is assistant director marketing and communication at University of Oklahoma Outreach and a regular contributor to a number of local and regional lifestyle and sports magazines.
Origami Globe light fixture by Klint Schor, Dining Benches and Tray by Kyle Golding
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The Drive of Chance
by Karen Paul
Andrew Polk, Tucson, Birds of Thunder, Acrylic and Photography on Vinyl, 60”x48”
The creative process is the art in many respects for Oklahoma-born artist Andrew Polk. Known primarily as a non-representational artist whose inspiration is found in the forces of nature and how they relate to events and places, Polk merges his respect for the uncontrollable factors of life, and his mystery and sentiment for Oklahoma in his latest exhibition March 11-April 10, 2010 at the City Arts Center in Oklahoma City. “Oklahoma in general carries a lot of intrigue for me. I was born in Oklahoma, although I actually grew up in Memphis,” Polk said. “In many ways, this new collection is a continuation of what I’ve been doing for the last 10 years.” In his latest work, Polk has started integrating photographic imagery into his non-representational paintings. For him, the addition of photographic elements tightens the connections that events and places hold with natural elements. One of his recent shows included recognizable aerial imagery of significant events in American history, including Pearl Harbor after the Japanese attack and the Pentagon days after September 11. With those previous works and concepts in mind, Polk is developing his Oklahoma series, consisting of 12 large-scale paintings. These paintings were created specifically for this exhibition, which is his first in the state. “I’ve been really reading up on the history and culture of Oklahoma. However, I’m not sure if the history is creeping into the work, yet,” Polk said. In this series, Polk integrates large-scale satellite photos of Oklahoma into his paintings. These photos include both natural and manmade elements that have an organic feel to them. Elements such as the Oklahoma River, interstates and geometric grid structures of residential neighborhoods offer contrasting visual elements and help create a both natural and harmonious feel to his work. The natural element of chance plays an extremely significant role in Polk’s work. He sees the uncontrollable drive of chance as something that not only offers unique opportunities for his pieces, but a force that is essential to his creative process. “I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of chance. I’ve always found that it was a doorway to move beyond what we can do on our own. It’s a real adventure,” Polk said. Even though chance plays a significant role in Polk’s work, his creative process is anything but random. Instead, it reflects his deep love of the entire experience he has when developing a creative piece. This love encompasses the smallest details. For this series, Polk spent approximately two months digitally enhancing the color and contrast of each of the aerial photographs of Oklahoma he selected. These photographs were turned into digital prints on vinyl, which became the background for his painting process. Intense and vivid layers of colors, one of Polk’s visual trademarks, represent the next step of his creative process. Because he works on each of the paintings in a given series simultaneously, he is able to take the lessons that he learns from one painting to the next. Working on his series of paintings in their entirety gives him a real sense of discovery throughout the process. The actual paint application takes at least another two hours. Polk lets the paint naturally work its magic as his colors drip, flow and layer over the aerial photographs. “Although I let chance play its role in the process, the way I work is not totally accidental. It’s like a dance that I’m going through. It’s very improvisational,” Polk said. His creative process does not end when the paint hits the canvas. Each individual painting requires about 12 hours of drying time, time that Polk participates in from beginning to end. He carefully
Andrew Polk, Tucson, Centennial Dawn, Acrylic and Photography on Vinyl, 60”x84”
watches his work as it changes through the drying process. When necessary, he makes adjustments to the shapes and forms. “Acrylic paint changes substantially as it dries. It offers up different textures and thicknesses. It can also drift or slightly move and create another new pattern,” Polk said. “Sometimes it changes for the better. Sometimes it changes for the worse.” “The drying stage is very much a process of how I am going to get the marks that I want. If things are not what I was expecting, then I adjust my expectations and the work as I go through the process.” Polk is ultimately looking for ways in which the forms of his paintings resonate with the other paintings in the series. He wants the series of pieces to compliment each other, but for each piece to still maintain a distinct personality. “Sometimes it will look magical, but I won’t know if it can look better. The hardest thing about the process is knowing when to stop.” Polk said. Andrew Polk’s exhibition will run March 11-April 10, 2010 at the City Arts Center. Polk will also lead a visiting artist workshop entitled Harnessing Chance on Saturday, March 13, 2010. For more information, visit City Arts’ website at www.cityartscenter.org. n Karen Paul is a freelance writer based in Norman. She is currently working on her Master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.
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Delvie McPherson, Oklahoma City, Procreation, Brooch: Die formed and patina copper and brass, 6”x2”
by Holly Wall Twice a year, young artists converge for an event that, while giving them an opportunity to display their work, also fosters innovation, curatorial activity and mentorship and exposes audiences to contemporary, exciting artwork being created by young Oklahomans. With each of OVAC’s Momentum: Art Doesn’t Stand Still events, which are held twice a year in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, the organization awards three emerging visual artists honoraria to create site-specific installations or bodies of work. Momentum Spotlight artists are given the opportunity to execute an in-depth and sizeable art concept at the Momentum event, which celebrates Oklahoma artists ages 30 and younger. The Spotlight artists for Momentum OKC, March 5-6, 2010 are Okemah’s Amber Farnell, Tulsa’s Geoffrey Hicks and Oklahoma City’s Delvie McPherson. Each Spotlight artist selected receives a $1,750 stipend, and at least two studio visits with the event’s guest curators. The event’s curators are Edmond-based painter and photographer John Seward and Margo Von Schlageter, a student of museum studies and emerging curator. They provide leadership and guidance throughout the process to the Spotlight artists and are also responsible for choosing the visual artwork displayed at the event. Here is what this year’s Momentum OKC Spotlight artists have planned. HearTBeaT At the heart of Geoffrey Hicks’ Heartbeat is a hanging sculptural mass comprised of more than 150 light bulbs. “Each clear incandescent light bulb is suspended from the ceiling individually with black wire,” Hicks explained. “The light bulbs will form a cloud-like organic group that radiates from a center core and spreads out. The sculpture should be eight to 12 feet wide and hang out of reach to those walking under it.”
Momentum Spotlight artist Geoffrey Hicks with Curator John Seward during a studio visit.
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Hicks said his installation is designed to react to the heartbeats of the individuals connected to it. “Modern and classical dancers will perform underneath the installation, while their heart rates are transmitted via Bluetooth to the sculpture,” Hicks said. “The lights pulse in ratio with the performers’ heart rates, starting at lower levels and then rising. At low heart rates, only the center of sculpture (will) react, and as the heartbeat increases, it (will) grow to the outer edges.
bark, vines, bones, plants — topped them with animal skulls for heads and designed jewelry for them to wear. The jewelry, too, is made from materials found in nature. “It’s all about nature taking over and creating pieces from nature to put on a runway show,” McPherson said. McPherson scavenged for many of his materials and found others online.
His models will be perched atop a runway, inspired by New York City fashion shows in Bryant Park, modeling their naturemade jewelry. The jewelry, which McPherson describes as large-scale Delvie McPherson, Oklahoma City, Sapien Hystrix cristata, African porcupine wearable art, is made from bone, quills and porcupine hair on latex base. quill and leather, combined with fine elements such as silver, gold “In between dance and semi-precious stones. The artist’s interest in fashion stems from his performances, the audience will be able to use a finger clip-style heart history as a five-year representative for the Gap and Banana Republic. rate sensor to connect themselves to the installation and affect the sculpture,” he said. Hicks said his project was inspired by humans’ relationships with technology and the ways in which they interact with it. “Over the past year, I have been developing installation ideas based around biometric sensors and human/technology connectivity,” he said. Hicks said his project wouldn’t have been possible without OVAC’s assistance through the Momentum Spotlight honoraria. “This installation requires a significant amount of materials that I would otherwise not be able to utilize,” he said. “The guidance of the curators also makes a valuable contribution to the development of my work. “I hope that viewers will find my installation to be an interesting departure from what they expect to see at a visual arts show,” Hicks said. “I want to combine performance based art with installation art as well as audience interactivity to make an engaging experience.” “There’s such a waste in fashion,” he said. “You buy from season to season, and then you discard it. I want to show that you can reuse things and make them just as beautiful. “I want to use an urban landscape so it feels like you’re in New York at a Bryan Park runway show, but you see nature coming through and taking over,” McPherson said. His childhood, spent living on a farm, coupled with the fact that his mother is a biologist, served to influence his belief that beauty can be found in nature as often as — or perhaps more than — it can be found in man-made things. “I think a lot of times people raised in the city don’t get to experience being raised in nature,” McPherson said. “They think it’s dirty or nasty. They’re afraid to go camping. I want to show people that it’s actually beautiful to wander, to see what you can find, what you can turn it into.” McPherson said his project will affect all the senses — the smell of the organic materials blending with the background music, a mix of dance music and nature sounds. continued to page 22
NaTure’s ruNWay Delvie McPherson’s upbringing in rural Oklahoma, in a small town called Cyril, inspired his Momentum Spotlight project, Nature’s Runway. McPherson has crafted models from organic material — tree limbs,
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sOcieTy, yOu’re a crazy BreeD When, to earn some extra money, Amber Farnell bought a house to renovate and sell, she became intrigued with what she calls a “mediadriven fascination with income property.” It sparked an idea that would become the topic for her Momentum Spotlight project, Society, You’re a Crazy Breed. “The concept behind my proposed artwork is the idea of instability created by our current housing crisis,” Farnell said. “By replicating a planned community, or housing subdivision, and placing each standard ‘model home’ on exaggerated stilts, the viewer will be looking up inside the structures as if they were idols, something to be worshipped, or large billboard-like structures that provoke desire. “Houses are placed on platforms to signify power, the ‘high life,’ and social class. Just as stilt houses are anchored to the earth bed, Americans are anchored to the idea that ‘bigger is better.’” Farnell’s houses, constructed from wood and meant to look as realistic as possible, will stand 12 feet high, towering above their viewers. The fact that they’re unfinished and their ascension from big to bigger represents the disconnect between house and home and society’s desire to have more than it needs. “Anyone who has had the pleasure of being a home owner also knows the stress and responsibility that comes with it,” Farnell said. “One of those responsibilities is choosing a house that is affordable and not basing the decision solely on the largest amount of credit that a bank is willing to loan. I am commenting on the process people use to make decisions and priorities based on the time we live in.” While she’s worked on projects with this theme before, Farnell said being a Momentum Spotlight artist has allowed her to give her work a larger scale and stage than ever before. “The Momentum Spotlight grant has given me a great opportunity,” she said. “Without this grant I would not be able to do this project.”
Each of the Momentum Spotlight projects will be on exhibit during Momentum: Art Doesn’t Stand Still, opening March 5-6 in Oklahoma City. Visit www.MomentumOklahoma.org for details. n
(top) Amber Farnell, Okemah, Pink House, Digital, 10”x10” (bottom) Momentum Spotlight artist Amber Farnell in her studio with the curators, John Seward and Margo Shultes von Schlageter.
Holly Wall has been covering the arts in Tulsa for almost three years. She writes weekly art columns for Urban Tulsa Weekly and monthly for the Tulsa Performing Arts Center’s Intermission magazine.
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saraH aTLee (Oklahoma City, OK) Painter, illustrator, blogger, and recipient of OVAC’s 2008 Art 365 award. JOsH Buss (Moore, OK) Artist and Education Director at City Arts Center in Oklahoma City. scOTT gLeesON (Dallas, TX) Artist and critic who recently completed an MA in Art History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. BriaN HearN (Oklahoma City, OK) Artist and Film Curator at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art; received the Tilghman Award in 2009 for outstanding support of films in Oklahoma. aLisON HearsT (Ft Worth, TX) Curatorial Research Assistant at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Co-founder of experimental art collaborative, Subtext Projects, and contributes reviews to Art Critical, Art Lies, and Glasstire. saraH Jesse (Tulsa, OK) Bernson Director of Education and Public Programs at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa; previously served as Assistant Director of Public Programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. KeLsey Karper (Oklahoma City, OK) Artist and Associate Director at the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition where she also serves as editor of Art Focus Oklahoma magazine. ceDar Marie (Norman, OK) Artist and Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Oklahoma School of Art and Art History, Norman. Mary KaTHryN MOeLLer (Tulsa, OK) Teaches art history at Jenks High School; recently completed studies at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London. Lee piecHOcKi (Kansas City, MO) Curator, writer, and artist who works for the Kansas City Art Institute; Co-creator of Research and Development, a freelance curatorial venture; and has published writings in Review and Juxtapoz. HeaTHer reaD (Norman, OK) Master’s candidate in Art History at the University of Oklahoma, Norman. LOuise siDDONs (Stillwater, OK) Art historian and Assistant Professor of American, Modern and Contemporary Art at Oklahoma State University; formerly assistant curator of works on paper at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
The Oklahoma Art Writing & Curatorial Fellowship
by Julia Kirt Writing is a key tool for examining the relevancy of art—to our lives, world and times and to assess specific artwork amidst the vast amount of art made historically and contemporaneously. For artists, being written about can help them understand how others see their work and glimpse a new way of expressing their ideas. “Contextualizing the work through writing,” is how Oklahoma Art Writing and Curatorial Fellowship program Lead Mentor Shannon Fitzgerald described the objective of writing while working with artists and organizing exhibitions. Educational text helps viewers approach, learn from or understand artwork in museums. An analytical essay can connect art from our region to national and international developments. A well-written catalog essay helps an artist explain their work to broader audiences. Seeking to develop new conversations about art and new advocates for living artists, the Oklahoma Art Writing and Curatorial Fellowship launched earlier this year. Public programs will continue with topical panel presentations on March 27 and September 18 at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. The Oklahoma Art Writing and Curatorial Fellowship was developed out of strategic planning where the OVAC Board identified primary support mechanisms for individual artists and analyzed in what way OVAC could best help. OVAC’s vision includes positioning Oklahoma artists to participate in the larger art community, especially regionally and nationally, and more broadly building the infrastructure for artists, particularly those individuals able to propel artists’ careers like curators, art writers and gallerists. The Oklahoma Art Writing & Curatorial Fellowship presents tangible skills and connections for curators, writers and educators in the area, encouraging new writing that is informed, articulate, inspired and engages audiences in contemporary art. Goals include encouraging local writers to publish criticism in national publications, spurring quality curatorial projects about living visual artists, especially those in Oklahoma, and developing networks for area artists, writers and curators with national writers and curators. OVAC presents the program in partnership with the University of Oklahoma School of Art & Art History and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Through this yearlong program, each of the 12 Fellows will produce art writing and curatorial projects in mentorship with art world luminaries. For instance, curators can conceptualize and work towards producing an exhibition. Writers can generate essays for publishing in national magazines or as part of a catalog. The Mentors include a mix of regional and national writers and curators who were recruited for their current activity with contemporary art and varied approaches to their career. Fitzgerald is serving as lead mentor. New to Oklahoma, Fitzgerald is a nationally-known curator who has published widely about contemporary art. continued to page 24
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What Does a Curator Do? three Curatorial Models March 27, 1-3 pm Margo Crutchfield, Tom Eccles, Kate Hackman, and Catherine Morris Oklahoma City Museum of Art 415 Couch Drive, Oklahoma City, OK Criticism, Critique, and Publishing September 18, 1-3 pm Tracy Abeln, Tyler Green, and Eleanor Heartney Oklahoma City Museum of Art 415 Couch Drive, Oklahoma City, OK
Tracy aBeLN, Editor, Review Magazine, Kansas City. FraNces cOLpiTT, Professor and Deedie Potter Rose Chair of Art History at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX. MargO a. cruTcHFieLD, Senior Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. TOM eccLes, Executive Director, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. sHaNNON FiTzgeraLD, Independent Curator and Writer, Oklahoma City. TyLer greeN, Founder and Editor, Modern Art Notes, Washington DC. KaTe HacKMaN, Associate Director, Charlotte Street Foundation, Kansas City. eLeaNOr HearTNey, Writer, Contemporary Art Critic, and Contributing Editor to Art in America, New York City. caTHeriNe J. MOrris, Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, New York (former Adjunct Curator of Contemporary Art, The Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma). W. JacKsON rusHiNg, iii, Eugene Adkins Presidential Professor of Art History and the Mary Lou Milner Carver Chair in Native American Art in the University of Oklahoma School of Art and Art History, Norman, Oklahoma. eMiLy sTaMey, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Kansas.
Mentors for the 2010 Fellowship include esteemed professionals in the arts such as Tom Eccles, Executive Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in New York; Tyler Green, noted blogger and founder of Modern Art Notes in Washington, DC; and Eleanor Heartney, contemporary art critic and contributing editor to Art in America in New York City, among others. Local mentor W. Jackson Rushing, III, who recently joined the University of Oklahoma, is a preeminent scholar of contemporary Native American Art and publishes widely about modern art. The high caliber mentors’ participation endorses the program’s originality and cultural importance. The Fellows were chosen through a competitive application process and represent independent artists, writers and professionals in museums and educational institutions, living within 350 miles of Oklahoma. The program consists of quarterly meetings bookended by an orientation and wrap up day. Each month’s laboratory-type workshop will dovetail with free public talks by the mentors for benefit of artists, the general public, and students. Workshop days will address concepts of contemporary art and examine the roles of academia, museums and criticism. Also, Fellows will hear about more practical aspects of the professional mentors’ careers, such as their methods of working and process. Workshops will encourage participants to make their work relevant to the community, helping them communicate to broader audiences and publics. The Oklahoma Art Writing and Curatorial Fellowship is sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Oklahoma Humanities Council, National Endowment for the Humanities, Oklahoma Arts Council, Allied Arts and OVAC founder John McNeese. For more information, visit www.Write-Curate-Art.org. n Julia Kirt has served as the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition since 1999 and is taking the advantage of this program to learn anew how to write clearly and consider contemporary art.
r e c O M M e N D aT i O N s
Write-Curate-Art.blogspot.com Oklahoma Art Writing and Curatorial Fellowship blog will publish writings, dialogue and profiles. Why is that Art? Aesthetics and Criticism of Contemporary Art, Terry Barrett Introduction to frameworks for analyzing art with helpful overview of modern approaches. Critical Mess: Art Critics on the State of their Practice, edited by Raphael Rubinstein Collection of essays by art critics about the waning/rising importance of criticism and elevation/decline of the critical perspective. Art in America A principal magazine about contemporary art. www.Frieze.com British magazine with international essays, news and criticism.
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Ask a Creativity Coach
by Romney Nesbitt
Not making progress on your creative goals? Are you easily distracted by food, technology or pets? Your procrastination may be a side effect of a work related transition in your life such as retirement, a change in work hours, summer break, etc. Whenever the structure and predictability of what’s been normal for you changes, it’s easy to get off track. Here are six suggestions to help you find a “new normal” that will work for you.
positively state What you Want, Not What you Don’t Want “I intend to produce one painting a month” is more effective than “I’m tired of not producing any new pieces.” Be specific “I want to paint more” becomes “I want to work on my creative project for one hour five or six times each week.” Take charge of your Time To maximize your productivity view a typical day in three segments: morning, afternoon and evening. Segments add up: a five day work week equals 15 segments of time, seven days a week equals 21 segments of time. Decide how many “times” you want to work on your creative work each week. Work with your Body’s energies Choose the time segment for your creative work when you feel energetic--this is how to work with your body instead of against it. The body has energy highs and lows during the day called circadian rhythms. If you’re a morning person, use that high-energy time to do your high-value creative activities. If your energy sags in the afternoon, fill the time with low-value activities such as errands, internet surfing or chores. Do the right thing at the right time and you’ll increase your productivity and personal satisfaction. go to Work If spouses, kids, pets and chores are too distracting for you to work at home, then look for a new place to work. Here are a few alternatives: rent, barter, share or enroll. Your local art supply store may have information about studio spaces for rent. Church classrooms are empty during weekday business hours. Ask the office manager about renting space or offer to barter original art for your space (murals, backdrops for plays, bulletin cover art). Share an office space (I know a massage therapist who shares office space with a counselor—one uses the office in the day, the other in the evenings and on weekends). Enroll in an art class and get a temporary studio space once a week. A “real” work space will encourage you to be more regular in your work habits (and your rental costs are a tax-deduction!). accountability counts Form a group of five to seven individuals who are serious about reaching their goals. Select group members with differences: different ages, business backgrounds, skill sets and goals. Your group could have members interested in art making, writing, weight loss, financial independence and home organization. Members must have a commitment to their goals and be willing to participate in the group process. Keep the meetings under an hour. In the first half-hour each member gives a five minute report on their activity such as hours spent on the project, pounds lost, number of closets cleaned etc. If a person has had an off week with nothing to report, he or she states “no report” and the group moves on to the next person without any judgment. Group meeting time is reserved for reporting action—never excuses. If time permits, members may pose questions to the group, solicit expertise, network, etc. Friendships may develop within the group but the purpose of the group is the business of goal-reaching through accountability. n Romney Nesbitt is a Creativity Coach, artist and writer living in Tulsa. She is the author of Secrets from a Creativity Coach, available on Amazon.com. Romney welcomes your ideas or questions for future columns. Contact her at Romneyn@att.net or at www.romneynesbitt.com.
business of art
aT a gLaNce: Through the Lens
by Kelsey Karper A recent exhibit at the Edmond Historical Society and Museum showcased a collection of photographs and photographic equipment given to the museum by collectors Antoinette and Harold Stump. For anyone interested in the history of photography, A Look Through the Lens: Photography Through Time offered an introduction to the equipment and cameras dating from the 1920s to 1960s. Types of cameras included Polaroids, toy cameras, spy cameras, Brownies and view cameras. A small portion of the exhibit also included early movie cameras, like an 8mm movie camera which dates to 1947. Several photographs from Edmond’s early days, featuring landscapes, street scenes and railways gave a glimpse into the community’s beginnings and served as examples of traditional black and white photography. The collection has an air of nostalgia for simpler days and there are only a few subtle clues that the images represent the same town where the museum sits today. The Edmond Historical Society and Museum regularly features traveling and special exhibits connecting art and history. More information is at www.edmondhistory.org. n Kelsey Karper is Editor of Art Focus Oklahoma and a photographer working in historic and alternative processes. She can be reached at email@example.com.
at a glance
SELF-GUIDED TOUR APRIL 10-11, 2010, NOON-5PM PREVIEW EXHIBITION, CIRCLE CINEMA GALLERY 12 S. LEWIS, MARCH 4-APRIL 4 RECEPTION MARCH 4, 5-8PM ARTISTS Milissa Burkart mixed media Frank Campbell & Barbara Buell ceramics Gaylord Herron photography Mark Lewis painting Chris Mantle painting Denny Schmickle silkscreen Bob & Sandy Sober painting Chris Wollard sculpture
TICKETS $5 in advance, $10 at the studio door AVAILABLE AT The Gadget Company, 104 E. 15th St. • Dwelling Spaces, 119 S. Detroit Ave. • Lovetts Gallery, 6528 E. 51st St. BUY TICKETS ONLINE www.TulsaArtStudioTour.org BY PHONE 405-879-2400 Tickets are also available at each studio the days of the tour
Marjo Operating Anonymous
at a glance
March | april 2010
We are excited to show off our new logo and organizational look. We appreciate Dylan Bradway, who worked diligently to find a design that could encompass OVAC’s community, creativity and fluidity. After 13 years with the distinctive logo that Roger Runge designed, it’ll be a change and we are ready to update. Explore eight creative spaces and discuss art with the ten artists themselves at the Tulsa Art Studio Tour, April 10-11, 2010, noon5pm each day. The preview exhibition opens March 4, 5-8 pm at
the Circle Cinema, 12 S. Lewis in Tulsa. Come see a sample of each artists work to prepare for the self-guided Tour. Purchase tickets or read more at www.TulsaArtStudioTour.org We are proud that Sarah McElroy, OVAC’s Volunteer and Office Coordinator, was accepted into this year’s Leadership Arts class. Trent Lawson, OVAC’s part time Event Production Coordinator, Stephen Kovash, Board President, and intern Candace Coker were also selected! We are thrilled so many OVAC friends will be learning more about the state and importance of arts for our economy. See www.arts.ok.gov for more info. n
Thank you to our New and Renewing Members from November and December 2009
Drew Ackerman Ginette Adamson Amber Bailey Andrew Baker Carol Beesley Julie Bohannon Deborah Brackenbury John Brandenburg and Janet Massad Candise Chastka Angela Church Rachel Clare W. Maurice Clyma Shelly Collins Leslie Cormack Virginia Dowling Elizabeth Downing Kellie Eastham Tammy Elder Michael Elizondo Jr Tom and Jean Ann Fausser Linda Finley Ron Fleming Susen Foster and Kevin Stark Dan Garrett Diane Glenn Almira Grammer Brent and Kennetha Greenwood Timothy Grischkowsky Brenda Kennedy Grummer Barbara Hair Kirkland and Julia Hall Nancy Hamill Nancy Harkins Bob and Janet Hawks Jamie Henderson Dore’ Hill Kevin Hooper Yuanyuan Huang Christen Humphries Donna Jackson Ellen Jonsson Judy Kelley Mike Klemme Courtney Kneifl Judy Laine Sharyl Landis Janet Massad Janice Mathews-Gordon Janice McCormick and Ed Main Sarah McElroy Marie Miller Rudy Miller Jacque Mitchener Diane Moershel Raybert Murrell Wendy Mutz Romney Oualline Nesbitt Sharon Nielsen Jensen Ann Barker Ong and Jasmine Ong Judith A Osborne Bob E. Palmer Beth Parker David and Patty Phelps Laura Pickering Frank and Lou Ann Polk Nathan Pratt John R. Preston Chris Ramsay Kathleen Rivers Tammy Roberts Liz Rodda Timothy Ryan Ann Saxton Sue Schofield Melanie Seward and Bryan Lettenmaier Edward Shadid Tony and Clarissa Sharp Shikoh Shiraiwa Patricia Shy-Trent Tamara Sigler Peggy Sircy Marcee Smith Stephen Smith Lisa Sorrell Jeff Sparks Jim Stewart Julie Strauss Davey Surls Lacye Swilley-Russell Suzanne C. Thomas Skip Thompson Jim and Beth Tolbert Spencer Tracy Angela True Joyce Ulstrup Shanon Van Gordon Kelley Vandiver Sydney and Anthony Warren Corazon S. Watkins Erin Wetherill Frank Wick Kody Wilson Mary Witt Peggy Wollmershauser Joanne Woodward Mark Wyatt May Yang Bj Zorn
Traci Martin Solo Exhibit: Charcoal Portrait Studies March 3- April 17 Shane and Sara Scribner April 21- May 29 Studio 107 Gallery 107 East Main (580) 224-1143 studio107ardmore.com Linda Mitchell Exhibition Through March 27 Reception March 27, 5:30-7 pm The Goddard Center 401 First Avenue SW (580) 226-0909 goddardcenter.org
Jennifer Barron Opening March 5, 6-10 aka gallery 3001 Paseo (405) 606-2522 akagallery.net Function and Design Through March 27 [ArtSpace] at Untitled 1 NE 3rd St. (405) 815-9995 artspaceatuntitled.org Andrew Polk March 11- April 10 Opening March 11, 5:307:30 Artist Talk March 12, 5:00 Jason Hackenwerth April 23- May 22 Opening April 23, 5:30-8:30 City Arts Center 3000 General Pershing Blvd. (405) 951-0000 cityartscenter.org Shirley Houx & V irginia B. Johnson March 5-31 Gary Bates & K.B. Kueteman April 2 – May 5 Contemporary Art Gallery 2829 Paseo (405) 601-7474 contemporaryartgalleryokc.com JP Morrison, Jeremy Luther, Kim Camp March 5- March 26 Opening March 5, 6-10 JRB Art at the Elms 2810 North Walker (405) 528-6336 jrbartgallery.com Mike Larsen: I am very Proud to be Chickasaw Through March 26 Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum 1400 Classen Dr. (405) 235-4458 oklahomaheritage.com Biting the Apple March 26-27, 7-11:30 pm Oklahoma Art Guild National Juried Exhibition Opening April 17, 6 pm Individual Artists of Oklahoma 811 N. Broadway (405) 232-6060 iaogallery.org Bryan Boone, Scott Henderson and Nanoko Yonemaru Through April 30 Istvan Gallery at Urban Art 1218 N. Western Ave. (405) 831-2874 istvangallery.com The Guitar: Art, Artists and Artisans Through May 9 The Power of Music: Photographic Portraits of Americans and their Musical Instruments 1860-1915 Through May 9 The Jackie L. Coles Collection Selected Works Through June 13 When Animals Attack? Humorous Hunting Tableaux Through July 11 National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum 1700 NE 63rd (405) 478-2250 nationalcowboymuseum.org New Frontiers: Series for Contemporary Art Jason Peters, Anti.Gravity.Material.Light Through April 11 Oklahoma City Museum of Art 415 Couch Drive (405) 236-3100 okcmoa.com
David Holland, Michael Kemper, Sharon Montgomery March 6- April 28 Opening March 6, 7-9 pm The Leslie Powell Foundation and Gallery 620 D Avenue (580) 357-9526 lpgallery.org
A Look through the Lens: Photography through Time Through March 13 A Dose of History: The History of Edmond’s Medicine April 6- June 10 Edmond Historical Society & Museum 431 S. Boulevard (405) 340-0078 edmondhistory.org
Bobby Anderson and Sharon Burchett Through March 5 Elyse Bogart and Douglas Shaw Elder March 12- April 30 Opening March 12, 6-10 Firehouse Art Center 444 South Flood (405) 329-4523 normanfirehouse.com The Creative Eye: Selections from the Carol Beesley Collection of Photographs, in Honor of Michael Hennagin Through May 9 Revisiting the New Deal: Government Patronage and the Fine Arts, 1933-1943 Through May 9 Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art 555 Elm Ave. (405) 325-4938 ou.edu/fjjma Linda Warren and Don Holladay Opening Feb 12, Through March 27 University of Oklahoma MFA Thesis Exhibition April 9 – May 8 Opening April 9, 7-9 Mainsite Contemporary Art Gallery 122 East Main (405) 292-8095 mainsite-art.com
RCC Student Show and Showcase March 2- April 9 Opening April 8, 1:30-3 24 Works on Paper: Contemporary Art Traveling Exhibition Exhibit made possible by IAO and OVAC April 16- May 14 Redlands Community College (405) 262-2552 redlandscc.edu
Lights! Camera! Fashion!: The Film Costumes of Edith Head Through May 16 Price Tower Arts Center 510 Dewey Ave. (918) 336-4949 pricetower.org Seeing BeyondThrough OKLA Eyes April 16- May 30 Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve 1925 Woolaroc Ranch Road (918) 336-0307 ext 10 woolaroc.org
Birds in Art Exhibit March 9- May 16 Lifewell Gallery Museum of the Red River 812 East Lincoln Road (580) 286-3616 museumoftheredriver.org
Ancient Bronzes of the Asian Grasslands Through March 28 Spanish Colonial Religious Art, 1650-1950 April 30- June 13 Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art 1900 West Macarthur (405) 878-5300 mgmoa.org
Kolbe Roper, Oklahoma City, Ghost (Klohe), Oil, screen print, ink, hair, wax, fiberglass on woven book paper, 60”x60” on exhibit at Living Arts in Tulsa April 2-22.
Graphic Design Portfolio Exhibition March 10-28 Reception March 28, 2-4 Studio Capstone Exhibition March 31- April 9 Opening and gallery talk, April 1, 5-7 Annual Juried Student Exhibition April 14- May 2 Reception May 2, 2-4 Gardiner Art Gallery Oklahoma State University 108 Bartlett University (405) 744-6016 okstate.edu The Feeling in Your Chest: Benjamin Sperry April 3 – 30 Opening April 3, 7-9 Project Gallery 715 S Main St (405) 624-0234
Eleanor Hays Gallery Performing Arts Center Northern Oklahoma College 1220 East Grand (580) 628-6670 north-ok.edu
(918) 749-7941 Philbrook.org Under the Tree: Installation by Claudia Wylie in conjunction with Living Arts New Genre Festival March 5-7 Opening March 5, 5-7 24 Works on Paper: Contemporary Art Traveling Exhibition Exhibit made possible by IAO and OVAC March 13-27 Kristy Lewis Andrew: Motherland Tulsa Artists Coalition Gallery 9 East Brady (918) 592-0041 tacgallery.org Marjorie Atwood March Jeremy Charles April Tulsa Performing Arts Center Gallery Third and Cincinnati (918) 596-2368 tulsapac.com
David Holland, Oklahoma City, Juggling Reality, Oil Pastel, 12”x9” at the Leslie Powell Foundation and Gallery in Lawton March 6-April 28.
America’s Western Storyteller: Charles M. Russell Through May 2 Gilcrease Museum 1400 Gilcrease Road (918) 596-2700 gilcrease.org New Genre XVII Through March 7 Mark Rumsey Installation Through March 25 That Was Now: Installations by Sam King and Kolbe Roper April 2-22 Living Arts 307 E. Brady (918) 585-1234 livingarts.org Hans Hofmann Through May 9 The Philbrook Museum of Art 2727 South Rockford Road
Eric Humphries: Is the Whole World on Fire March 1 – April 2 Annual Student Exhibition April 12 – May 2
Become a member of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition! Join today to begin enjoying the benefits of membership, including a subscription to Art Focus Oklahoma.
Sustaining $250 -Listing on signage at events -Invitation to private reception with visiting curators -All of below Patron $100 -Acknowledgement in the Resource Guide and Art Focus Oklahoma -Copy of each OVAC exhibition catalog -All of below Family $55 -Same benefits as Individual for two people in household Individual $35 -Subscription to Art Focus Oklahoma -Inclusion in online Virtual Gallery -Monthly e-newsletter of visual art events statewide -Monthly e-newsletter of opportunities for artists -Receive all mailed OVAC call for entries and invitations -Artist entry fees waived for OVAC sponsored exhibitions -Listing in Annual Resource Guide and Member Directory -Copy of Annual Resource Guide and Member Directory -Access to “Members Only” area on OVAC website -Up to 50% discount on Artist Survival Kit workshops -Invitation to Annual Meeting Student $20 -Valid student ID required. Same benefits as Individual level.
¨ Sustaining ¨ Patron ¨ Family ¨ Individual ¨ Student Name Street Address City, State, Zip Email Website Credit card (MC or Visa Only) Credit card # Are you an artist? Y N Exp. Date Medium?____________________________________________ N Y N
Would you like to be included in the Membership Directory? Y
Would you like us to share your information for other arts-related events? Comments:
Detach and mail form along with payment to: OVAC, 730 W. Wilshire Blvd, Suite 104, Oklahoma City, OK 73116 Or join online at www.ovac-ok.org
ArtOFocus m a k l a h o
Annual Subscriptions to Art Focus Oklahoma are free with membership to the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. Membership forms and benefits can be found at www.ovac-ok.org or by phone (405) 879-2400. Student Membership: $20 Individual Membership: $35 Family/Household Membership: $55 Patron Membership: $100 Sustaining Membership: $250 730 W. Wilshire Blvd, Suite 104 Oklahoma City, OK 73116
Non Profit Org. US POSTAGE PAID Oklahoma City, OK Permit No. 113
MARCH J.P. Morrison Jeremy Luther Kim Camp
Friday | 03.05.10 | 6p - 10p
APRIL D. J. Lafon Beth Hammack
Friday | 04.02.09 | 6p - 10p
2810 North Walker Oklahoma City, OK 73103 Phone: 405.528.6336 www.jrbartgallery.com
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