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INCLUSION IN ART: SPIRIT OF COLOR Illuminate the Past – Enrich the Present – Inspire the Future


INCLUSION IN ART: SPIRIT OF COLOR Illuminate the Past – Enrich the Present – Inspire the Future

February 6, 2020 through April 30, 2020


CURATORโ€™S STATEMENT

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2 Inclusion in Art: Spirit of Color

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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MARTY AVERTT 4 Inclusion in Art: Spirit of Color

An artist of Native American (Coushatta/Cherokee/Choctaw) descent, Marty Avrett describes his work as “landbased.” His art reveals wide-open spaces, calm waters, trees and prairies, and vast skies. Light plays a major role in his work, bathing, revealing and, conversely, hiding aspects of the subjects and ground. Avrett’s witty encaustic landscapes provide some reference to subject, in some cases by form and in others by labels. The negative space is activated by subtle washes of color, organic shapes that fade into space, and playful line work. It is perhaps in these encaustic works that viewers can see the influence of abstract expressionist Richard Deibenkorn, with whom Avrett studied. Having grown up in Irving, Texas, Marty Avrett found his love for art at museums in Dallas, Texas. His love for art took him to California to attended San Francisco Art Institute where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts. Following his studies in California, Avrett accepted a position at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in 1969 teaching painting and drawing. The university also encouraged him to continue his individual works outside of teaching. Avrett’s career has taken him far from home and back. In 1973-1974, he completed an artist-in-residence at the University of Lancaster in England and spent 1987-1988 working in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. Avrett has exhibited nationally and internationally throughout his career. Although he retired from teaching, Avrett remains in Stillwater actively painting. He describes his teaching philosophy as: “Ask me a question and I’ll tell you a story. And the answer is in the story somewhere.”


MARTY AVRETT

Marty Avrett, Chapman Dam #66, 2008, Mixed Media/Encaustic, 14” x 16”

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MARTY AVRETT

Marty Avrett, Chapman Dam #57, 2008, Mixed Media/Encaustic, 16” x 28”

Marty Avrett, Chapman Dam #58, 2008,Mxed Media/Encaustic, 16” x 28”

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MARTY AVRETT

Marty Avrett, Chapman Dam #65, 2008, Mixed Media/Encaustic, 14” x 16”

Marty Avrett, Chapman Dam #68, 2008, Mixed Media/Encaustic, 14” x 16”

Marty Avrett, Chapman Dam #82, 2008, Mixed Media/Encaustic, 9” x 12”

Marty Avrett, Chapman Dam #84, 2008, Mixed Media/Encaustic, 9” x 12”

Inclusion in Art: Spirit of Color 7


EDWARD GRADY

Photograph courtesy of Guthrie News Leader.

8 Inclusion in Art: Spirit of Color

Edward Grady’s paintings are dominated by interweaving patterns of repetitive line. The bold line work and colors pay homage to art forms from the African Diaspora, basketry and quilting, as well as the motifs and patterned fabrics of the continent. The figures, almost silhouettes, in his work are a nod to the Harlem Renaissance artist Jacob Lawrence. These figures often defy traditional proportions and poses; they have ghostly faces that often boldly confront the gaze of the viewer. The combination of pattern and figures presents an inspiring— empowering—image. Born in Rochester, New York, Edward Grady received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Education from Fisk University (Nashville, TN) while participating in internships at the Smithsonian Institute and the Detroit Institute of Art. Grady also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, where he was influenced by Jacob Lawrence, who was an art professor at the school. Following his education, Grady completed a yearlong internship at the Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum in Rochester. His early experience led to curatorial and educational positions at the Museum of African-American Life and Culture at Bishop College and two Montessori schools all located in Dallas. For over twenty years, Grady served as the Assistant Curator for the Melvin B. Tolson Black Heritage Center at Langston University. Grady also taught education, art, and behavioral sciences courses. Grady retired from Langston in 2015, but remains an active artist.


EDWARD GRADY

Edward Grady, Spring, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 24” x 30”

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EDWARD GRADY

Edward Grady, Contemplation, 2019, Oil on Canvas, 30” x 24”

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EDWARD GRADY

Edward Grady, Mirror Mirror, 2019, Oil on Canvas, 28” x 22”

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EDWARD GRADY

Edward Grady, Flora, 2019, Oil on Canvas, 28” x 22”

Edward Grady, Dance VI, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 22” x 28”

12 Inclusion in Art: Spirit of Color


AL BOSTICK

Working in paint and some mixed media, Al Bostick’s works explore African archetypes and symbolism and the expressive faces of black subjects. Bold and dramatic, many of his works are composed with intense color and words, while expressive line and high contrasting black and white dominate others. According to Al, “I am a Black visual artist, and create pieces for, by and about Black People.” His vivid work seems to exude with an element of drama that undoubtedly stems from Bostick’s experiences in the theater and his love of African-American folklore. A self-proclaimed “modern day Griot,” Bostick is an established actor, choreographer, director, playwright, visual artist, and storyteller. He studied theater, acting, and directing at Grambling State University (Louisiana), earning a Bachelor’s degree in 1973. He later attended the University of Oklahoma, continuing his studies in theater. Bostick’s desire to share his love of art and theater is evident in his record of community education in Oklahoma. He served as an instructor for the Oklahoma Children’s Theater, an artist-in-residence for the City Arts Center, an instructor and artistic director at Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC), and founded the arts organization Basically Bostick Project, Inc. in 1989. For his efforts, he has received a Citation of Excellence from the Oklahoma House of Representatives and an Oklahoma Governor’s Arts Award in education. Bostick explains, “... any time you look at visual art it’s a still of life, and this is how we reflect and keep our histories.” He remains a vocal and respected advocate for the importance of culture and diversity in Oklahoma’s artistic communities.

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AL BOSTICK

Al Bostick, For Those Who Don’t See My Color, 2018, Acrylic & Polymer Glue on Wood, 8’ x 4’

14 Inclusion in Art: Spirit of Color

Al Bostick, The Negro Speaks of Rivers, 2018, Acrylic & Polymer Glue on Wood, 8’ x 4’


AL BOSTICK

Al Bostick, Ndiagne (Strong Hair) 2018, Acrylic & Polymer Glue on Wood, 8’ x 4’

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WALLACE OWENS 16 Inclusion in Art: Spirit of Color

“After I got my masters and started teaching... I Just fell in love with art because it was me.” A prolific artist, Wallace Owens Jr. could be considered a modern Renaissance man, creating art in a variety of styles and mediums--painting, printmaking, photography, mixed-media, and sculpture. Though he has a fondness for Cubism, Owens’s style is emotive, rhythmic, and expressive, whether his subjects are abstracted or lean toward realism. Owens’s career as an art educator might explain his impulse to explore and experiment. He joined the art department at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond in 1980, first serving as a professor and eventually as chair of the department. He retired in 2005. Prior to that, Owens taught visual art at Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma (19661980). It was at Langston that Owens had his first formal art class and earned his first degree, graduating in 1959. A life-long learner, Owens earned a graduate degree in education from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1965 and a graduate degree in art from the Instituto Allende (San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico) in 1966. He complimented his degrees with studies at the American Center for Artists in Paris (1969) and the University of Rome as a Fulbright Scholar (1970). He also participated in collegiate study tours of West Africa and the Middle East. Owens founded the Owens Art Place Museum in Guthrie in 1988, following retirement, providing opportunities for the community to experience art and culture. Owens’s work has been exhibited in a variety of Oklahoma museums and galleries and is included in the collections of Langston University and the State of Oklahoma.


WALLACE OWENS

Wallace Owens, Amistad, 2015, Bronze, 13 x 15 x 12

Wallace Owens, Opposition, 1999, Wood, 19 “ x 14” x 14”

Wallace Owens, Diana, 2017, Terra Cotta, Bronze Finish, 5” x 20” x9”

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MARY ANN MOORE 18 Inclusion in Art: Spirit of Color

The artwork of Mary Ann Moore is inspired by her faith, her family, and her ancestry. Working professionally as “Senoj,� Moore comes from a family of crafters and creatives, which helped determine her studies and practice in visual arts. Moore works in painting, ceramics, and mosaic; her varied styles and mediums reflect her diverse expertise gleaned from over 40 years of teaching art. Moore was born and raised in central Oklahoma and knew from a young age that art was her passion. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Oklahoma City University and her Master of Education with Emphasis in Art from the University of Central Oklahoma. Following her education, Moore took a position teaching Visual Art at Oklahoma City Community College, where she taught for more than four decades. In addition to being a successful artist and art educator, Moore directed several large-scale projects in Oklahoma including the Devon Centennial Mosaic Murals in Bricktown in Oklahoma City. Moore involved her students in these projects so they could not only learn the techniques but also glean valuable experience participating in large-scale artistic endeavors.


MARY ANN MOORE

Mary Ann Moore, The Door, 2019, Mosiac Tile, Small Stone & Glass, 3’ x 4’

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MARY ANN MOORE

Mary Ann Moore, The Ancestors Speak, 1993, Serigraph, 40” x 28”

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Mary Ann Moore, Real Love, 2019, Oil on Canvas, 4’ x 3’


CORAZON WATKINS

Corazon Watkins creates art that “deals with either political, social, or religious subjects.� Almost contrary to her small physical stature, her work is boldly manifested in a variety of mediums, including painting, ceramic sculptures, and mixed-media assemblages. While some of her pieces may be large in scale, there is an evident sense of refinement and preciousness. Her experiences as an immigrant, artist, and educator inform her process and her work. Watkins was born in the Philippines and became a naturalized United States citizen in 1976. She received her undergraduate degree from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, and her Master of Fine Art from the University of Oklahoma. She has been an advocate in the Oklahoma artist community, serving on art organization boards and committees in Oklahoma City and Norman. She also spent some time teaching at the University of Oklahoma. Watkins has received several international awards and fellowships, including a residency in Almeria, Spain, and considers these experiences some of her most rewarding. As part of the Art for Embassies program, four of her works belong to the permanent collection of the State Department and have been exhibited in U.S. embassies in Europe, Africa, and the Philippines. Connections cultivated abroad provided Watkins the opportunity to curate an exhibit in Oklahoma, featuring artists from China, Russia, Italy, the Philippines, and France. Passionate about the success of others and always willing to help other artists, Watkins continues to offer her experience as a local, national, and international exhibiting artist to the Oklahoma art community, maintaining a studio in Norman, Oklahoma.

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CORAZON WATKINS

Corazon Watkins, A New Beginning, 2018, Window Frame, Image Transfer, Nest, Twigs, 45” x 25”

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CORAZON WATKINS

Corazon Watkins, Diary, 2018, Old Diary, Old Photo, Lettering, 8” x 8”

Corazon Watkins, Mother and Child, 2018, Metals, Wood Cup, Crystal, Clippings, Stamp, Antique Religious Picture, Candle, 8” x 8”

Corazon Watkins, Hypocrisy, 2018, Canvas, Metals, Cermaic Piece, 8” x 8”

Corazon Watkins, Sacrifice, 2018, Religious Clipping, Shells, Book Cover, Stamp, Small Box, 8” x 8”

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MELVIN & ROSE SMITH

Photograph by Jayme Halbritter. Courtesy of the Weisman Art Museum.

24 Inclusion in Art: Spirit of Color

Rose and Melvin Smith cultivated their artistic careers as a couple, spending more than 50 years together creating art. The two met in 1968 on the campus of the University of Minnesota. A few months after admiring Rose’s art for the first time, Melvin met her formally via a blind date; they were married soon after. Now, they are frequently celebrated and shown together—Melvin’s paper collages bursting with energy and Rose’s paintings teeming with profound silence. Though their styles are distinct, each creates with the bold tones and rhythms of the Harlem Renaissance while illustrating the ordinary—the genre—the daily lives of black people. Rose Smith was born in Kansas City, Missouri, but grew up in Rondo, Minnesota. Rose found art early on and was receiving awards for her work by middle and high school. Her creative career began in fashion; she designed women’s clothing and retail window displays. Following this start, Rose attended the University of Minnesota for Visual Arts. Originally from Oklahoma City, Melvin Smith joined the Marine Corps and later attended school at the University of Minnesota. Although his degree is in journalism, Smith began experimenting with collage in 1983, later creating monumental sculptures. Melvin and Rose travelled the country together visiting Harlem Renaissance cities, learning, creating art, and making connections that eventually resulted in exhibitions and gallery showcases. In 1997, the couple opened Oklahoma Museum of African American Art in Oklahoma City before returning to Minnesota.


MELVIN & ROSE SMITH

Rose Smith, Summertime in Bartlesville, 2004, Acrylic on Canvas, 36” x 36”, Oklahoma State Art Collection courtesy of the Oklahoma Arts Council

Melvin Smith, Husband and Wife, 2006, Mixed Media, 20” x 20”, Oklahoma State Art Collection courtesy of the Oklahoma Arts Council

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MICHI SUSAN

Photograph by Charles Rushton.

26 Inclusion in Art: Spirit of Color

Michi Susan’s artwork can be described as delicate and whimsical. Though working in a variety of mediums, Susan is perhaps best known for her paper collages, where she cuts, sews, weaves, pastes, and paints, building up layer upon layer of actual texture and visual intrigue. Her subjects vary from landscapes to people to symbols; many of her subjects are inspired by her native Japan. Susan’s color palette also varies from neutral tones to vibrant spectral hues; yet, each artwork reveals an element of lyrical poetry. Michi Susan’s call to art came early during her childhood in Tokyo, Japan; she later studied fine art at Japan Women’s University. Susan immigrated to America in 1965, following her marriage to American husband Charles, landing in Shreveport, Louisiana. In 1980, she relocated with her husband to Oklahoma, where she built a vibrant career as an artist, having brilliantly impacted the Oklahoma art scene for forty years. For her contributions, Susan was awarded both the Paseo Arts Association Artist of the Year award and the Oklahoma Governor’s Arts Award. Additionally, the Paseo Arts Association has named an award in her honor. Susan shared with the Daily Oklahoman, “People always say that your work is so happy. That’s what makes me so happy.”


MICHI SUSAN

Michi Susan, Bird Song, 2011, Mixed Media, from the collection of the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

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MICHI SUSAN

Michi Susan, Poem I, 1986, Mixed Media, from the collection of the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

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MICHI SUSAN

Michi Susan, Haniwa Village Precession, 1991, Mixed Media, from the collection of the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

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MICHI SUSAN

Michi Susan, Poem Kiku, 2013, Mixed Media, from the collection of the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

30 Inclusion in Art: Spirit of Color


Corazon Watkins, A New Beginning, 2018, Window Frame, Image Transfer, Nest, Twigs, 45� x 25�

Profile for Oklahoma Hall of Fame

Inclusion in Art: Spirit of Color Exhibit Catalog, Oklahoma Hall of Fame | Gaylord-Pickens Museum  

This special exhibit curated by Inclusion in Art features nine notable Oklahoma artists of color: Wallace Owens, Michi Susan, Al Bostick, Ma...

Inclusion in Art: Spirit of Color Exhibit Catalog, Oklahoma Hall of Fame | Gaylord-Pickens Museum  

This special exhibit curated by Inclusion in Art features nine notable Oklahoma artists of color: Wallace Owens, Michi Susan, Al Bostick, Ma...

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