Art Focus Oklahoma Winter 2017

Page 1

Art Focus

O k l a ho m a V i s ual A r ts C oal i t i on

Ok l a h o m a Vo l u m e 3 2 N o . 1

Winter • 2017

both images: Narciso Arguelles, image stills from Imaginary Spaces courtesy of the artist.


Art Focus

Ok l a h o m a

R e v i e w s a n d P re v i e w s 4 FILLING THE GAP: From the Belly of Our Being by Jarica Walsh


MIKE GLIER: Redefining Masculinity by Alison Rossi


DISPLACEMENT: Monty Little by Renee Montgomery

10 POETRY IN TIME: Luba Zygarewicz by Erin Schalk

12 NATIONAL TREASURE: Anna Mitchell by Renee Fite

14 THE AESTHETIC OF TRUTH: Lusha Nelson by Mary Kathryn Moeller

F e a t u re s 16 ART 365 PREVIEW: Kelly Rogers by Karen Paul

18 ART 365 PREVIEW: Narciso Arguelles by Olivia Biddick

20 FILM REVIEW: Django & The Lovers and the Despot by Jill Hardy and Kyle Cohlmia

24 EKPHRASIS: Winter 2017 edited by Liz Blood

26 OVAC News (top) On the cover: Monty Little, Displacement II, 2016, mixed media monotype on paper, 18 x 18” (page 8)

28 Gallery Guide

(middle) Luba Zygarewicz, empty yet full vessels 99/100, 2016 (page 10) (bottom) Chris Ramsay, Witness, 2016, carved found branch, inlaid wood doors, early 1900s postcard images of industrial sites, 84 x 24 x 24” (page 24) Support from:

Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition 730 W. Wilshire Blvd., Suite 104, Oklahoma City, OK 73116. PHONE: 405.879.2400 EMAIL: WEB: Executive Director: Holly Moye, Editor: Lauren Scarpello, Art Director: Anne Richardson, 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: Supporting Oklahoma’s visual arts and artists and their power to enrich communities. 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 Anonymous letters will not be published.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.

2016-2017 Board of Directors: President: Susan Green, Tulsa; Vice President: John Marshall, Oklahoma City; Treasurer: Gina Ellis, Oklahoma City; Secretary: Michael Höffner, Oklahoma City; Parliamentarian: Douglas Sorocco, Oklahoma City; Ariana Brandes, Tulsa; Bryon Chambers, Oklahoma City; Bob Curtis, Oklahoma City; Hillary Farrell, Oklahoma City; Jon Fisher, Moore; TiTi Fitzsimmons, MD, Oklahoma City; John Hammer, Claremore; Travis Mason, Oklahoma City; Laura Massenat, Oklahoma City; Renée Porter, Norman; Amy Rockett-Todd, Tulsa; Douglas Sorocco, Oklahoma City; Dana Templeton, Oklahoma City; Chris Winland, Oklahoma City; Dean Wyatt, Owasso; Jake Yunker, Oklahoma City. 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. © 2016, Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. All rights reserved. View the online archive at


FILLING THE GAP: From the Belly of Our Being by Jarica Walsh

I am Osage, but raised without any involvement in Osage culture, leaving a gap in my history and experience. From the Belly of Our Being: art by and about Native creation, featuring works by female Native artists, speaks to that gap—the longing to know more about myself, the generations that came before me, and the cultural traditions shunned a few generations ago. Experiencing these works exploring the topic of creation is like an invitation into that history I’ve missed. I simultaneously feel included, and feel the sharp emptiness of standing outside looking in. Stepping around the corner of the lobby and into the exhibition was exhilarating. I took in a deep breath and was propelled directly to Teri Greeves’ Sunboy’s Women. The large raw silk canvas is equally divided into deep blue on the left and dark red on the right. Seeing this work during a heated political season immediately brought to mind undertones of party lines through the representation of a creation story. The meticulous beadwork of the two figures is dazzling, creating a luminous sense of movement in the garments. The women’s boots form a grounding effect, anchoring them to the foreground of this story. The faceless figures represent all women. The earth mother and spider-woman grandmother are depicted in the palm of a giant hand, surrounded by stars composed of Swarovski crystals. A common thread in most of the creation stories found in this exhibition is the connection between sky and earth evidenced by the giant transparent handprint reaching both outward and downward. I feel this reaching in myself, grasping for a wisp of history and a glimmer of a story in the distance. Marie Watt’s Blanket Stories: Indian Territory, Round Dance, Grandmother is the celebrity of the show. Seeing the tower of stacked blankets at the back of the exhibition is a thrill. Watt has gained considerable notoriety over the last decade for her Blanket Stories series, and seeing one in person is special because it creates inclusion in the collective


re v i e w

history of these objects. Watt creates her textile sculptures to resemble totem poles, and includes donated blankets with visible tags containing history. These everyday objects have significant personal history, and are often given to women as gifts to celebrate milestones such as giving birth or reaching puberty. This tower of feminine strength reminds me that native women have been feminists since before the word was popularized, a force that has been giving life and creating community for ages. When Watt creates a Blanket Stories tower she researches the history of the location it will be placed. Indian Territory references the relocation of tribes to Oklahoma, but also the idea that the United States was at one time entirely indigenous people. Round Dance refers to a traditional pow-wow dance of friendship and inclusion, one that includes all generations. Grandmother is for Watt’s heritage in a matrilineal tribe, the Seneca Nation of Indians. The Seneca Nation values strong female figures and the guiding strength of their leadership. As an American woman living in a nation where women have yet to break the final glass ceiling, it is comforting and reassuring to be reminded of a strong matrilineal society. Women have always been strong, and we have the power to create the society we want if we work together to build our community. As a ceramicist and an Osage, I have been particularly drawn to the work of Anita Fields. Fields is showing two vastly different groupings of work. Her porcelain artworks are found in the main gallery. What My Heart Knows is a white porcelain anatomical heart slightly larger than life-size. The clay is unglazed with a white matte finish, and covered in patterns and symbols. The second work, Finding Our Way to the Earth, is a mixed media wedding gown composed of a porcelain torso and a textile skirt. The clay top matches the heart with an unglazed matte white finish covered in symbols and patterns. The bright white silk skirt includes photo image transfers of writing and symbols.

The whiteness is punctuated by painted red ribbons trailing down from the waistband and twisting around each other—the only use of bright color. This gown is telling the story of the children of the sun and the moon hitting the earth like a meteorite. Anita Fields has an additional installation in conjunction with the exhibition, Making Our Way to the Table. As an artist-in-residence she created a collaborative red clay table scene populated by figures along with participation from OSU students and Stillwater citizens. Each participant created a figure that represented their mother or a significant role model. The work explores the concept of how mothers care for us in the way that the Earth cares for all inhabitants. A project like this has greater impact based on the unity found in exploring a topic together. The rough figures are more laymen’s craft than fine art, but they carry the weight of our collective history, and honor the strong female spirit that leads all creation. The volume of hundreds of figures all “sitting” to a meal together is moving, and creates an intense experience of oneness.

This exhibition of art by Native female artists generates a sense of solidarity. As humans we all owe our creation to a woman, and we rely on our Mother Earth to care for us. Anita Fields’ community table collaboration is a valuable partner to the exhibition, reminding us all of our common ground. I found nourishment for a hole in my belly, and a wealth of knowledge to guide future research of my ancestors. The exhibition runs through January 28, 2017 at the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art. For more information, please visit n Jarica Walsh is an artist living and working in Oklahoma City. She can be reached at

(top left) Teri Greeves, Sunboy’s Women, 2011, glass beads, wooden beads, and Swarovski crystals on raw silk, 72 x 72x 2” (loan courtesy of artist). (top right) Meryl McMaster, Terra Cognitum, 2013, C-print, 37 x 51” (loan courtesy of artist and Katzman Contemporary). (bottom left) Anita Fields, Finding Our Way to the Earth, 2016, porcelain clay, photo image transfer, mixed media, 56 x 40” (loan courtesy of artist). Pictured installed with Julie Buffalohead, Skywoman; and Nanibah Chacon, Manifestations of a Changing Woman. (bottom right) Anita Fields, What My Heart Knows, 2016, porcelain clay, 9 x 10 x 7” (loan courtesy of artist).

p re v i e w 5

MIKE GLIER: Redefining Masculinity by Alison Rossi

Visiting Mike Glier: The Alphabet of Lili at Philbrook Downtown is akin to engaging in a substantive conversation with a stranger with whom we forge a bond through discussion of both personal and global issues. Sienna Brown, Philbrook’s Nancy E. Meinig Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, introduces us to the artist while he lovingly braids his wife’s hair. At first it may feel slightly voyeuristic to stand in front of Men at Home: Mike Braiding Jenny’s Hair, a colossal but closely-cropped composition. Yet Glier’s openness in sharing this tender moment compels us to let our guard down in the spirit of reciprocity. While deeply personal, the drawing also documents a shift in wider culture in response to the feminist movement. Here is a male artist free to represent his nurturing role in the context of an interpersonal relationship.

anxiety-inducing world events started impinging on the sweeter imagery and the alphabet paintings provided a structure for meaningful commentary about issues ranging from the use of fossil fuels to the atomic bomb. Particularly resonant today is the letter R panel that depicts a dozen refugees running in an inverted space surrounding Lili’s sturdy toddler legs. A nod to Italian Renaissance masters and to Glier’s memory of his athletic mother, Lili’s legs appear as a common motif in the alphabet paintings. While they are a beautifully rendered testament to the artist’s excellence as a draftsman, the legs convey perhaps the most fundamental hope of this father: for his daughter to have the grounded strength to endure the trials of the flawed world we inhabit.

Gazing across the room, the conversation about an equally A sense of intimacy lingers in the beautiful and disturbing human adjacent space featuring selections experience continues. Garden from Satisfaction, a series of charcoal Court: Summer is the only painting portraits of somnolent faces. Among represented from a collection of Mike Glier, Garden Court: Summer, 1994, acrylic and the six works are a self-portrait of works that explore masculine roles charcoal on canvas, 120 x 90” Glier, his infant daughter Lili, her in an ambiguous narrative set in a nanny, and other individuals linked to his child’s young life. The artist walled garden in which something traumatic has transpired. In this sought to explore the motivations behind each person’s behavior by series, Glier first imagines himself as the mason who applies paste to inquiring about definitions of happiness. He then invited the models to the garden wall, then as the executioner firing a multitude of bullets, rest in their state of imagined satisfaction and captured the dual forces of subsequently as the victim of the violent crime whose blood splatters gravity and repose on their slightly aslant heads, upturned chins, and heavy the garden wall and finally as a gardener revitalizing the space. eyelids. Glier’s response to his own inquiry about the human search for Garden Court: Summer is comprised of sunflowers reaching for an satisfaction involved, among other things, doing “the polka in the kitchen azure sky, blue birds gathered on the garden wall and floral vines with [his] baby daughter.” The centrality of fatherhood to the artist’s latched onto blood-stained and bullet-pocked walls. Unsurprisingly, identity is introduced with this admission and echoed in the strategic the identity the artist settles on is the one most consistent with his placement of Lili’s cherubic likeness directly above Glier’s self-portrait. caregiving role presented in the exhibition thus far: the gardener. Some The discourse about paternity is fully realized in the exhibition’s of Glier’s oeuvre can be linked to Philbrook’s collection of Realist namesake series, The Alphabet of Lili, featuring 26 paintings that works. However, Brown notes that a painting such as this serves “as a correspond with the letters of the alphabet inspired by the artist’s vector for more complicated ideas.” nightly ritual of reading to his daughter. Unified by a limited Preceded by primarily representational works, the artist’s most recent palette of red oxide, yellow ocher, and ultramarine blue, the works endeavor entitled the Forests of Antarctica (a series of paintings on include some familiar vignettes of early childhood such as bath time aluminum panels), noticeably shifts to abstract imagery. The natural (the letter B), a child crying (the letter C) and a bowl dropping to world and humankind’s impact has been Glier’s primary focus for the last the floor (the letter D). Viewers are encouraged to systematically 25 years. Since 2013, he has embraced a new approach to his landscape seek out visual elements relating to each letter; discovery of more work. The panels in Forests of Antarctica are plein air paintings. Though unnerving content ensues. contours suggest plants, animals and weather, no visual attributes of During the two years Glier developed and realized the paintings, the landscape are represented. Rather, the works are a sensory response


re v i e w

The Janus Restraint: Passages

The Alexandre Hogue Gallery is pleased to announce The Janus Restraint: Passages, by Kansas City based artist Barry Anderson. Continuing with his quasinarrative series, The Janus Restraint, Anderson presents video installations, designed to be a modular set of works, that come together to form portions of an ongoing narrative about a boy’s initiation with myths and the environment. His videos have been featured recently in exhibitions and festivals in Germany, England, Scotland, and the Netherlands. Anderson is included in many private and public collections including the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Everson Museum of Art, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and Light Work. Mike Glier, The Alphabet of Lili-Z, 1991-92, acrylic and charcoal on aluminum, 45 x 36”

This exhibition will be held at the Alexandre Hogue Gallery Opens to the public: 1/12/17 Opening reception and Artist talk: 1/26/17

to non-visual, elemental stimuli such as the wind that translate Glier’s self-proclaimed “joy of living in the world and [his] wonder of perceiving it.” Yet the title of this dynamic and boldly-colored body of compositions alludes to the themes of tenuous future and global consciousness that characterize the Alphabet of Lili. Here the artist projects a lush and verdant Antarctica dramatically altered by the human impact of climate change. Glier’s role as a nurturer also reemerges. Now a grandfather, the artist professes that he “is propelled...most importantly, by a desire to do [his] part to help make the changes in philosophy that are required if humanity is to create a sustainable future.” Join the artist for his talk on Thursday, Jan. 19, 5:30 – 8 p.m. (at Philbrook’s main campus) in which he discusses 35 years of work through the filter of masculinity. Mike Glier: The Alphabet of Lili is on view through April 2, 2017 at Philbrook Downtown, for more information visit n Alison Rossi teaches in higher education and creates interpretive content for museums, including Philbrook.

Barry Anderson - The Janus Restraint: Passages Exhibition dates: January 12, 2017 - February 1, 2017

For more information, visit www.cas.utulsa/edu/art/ or call 918.631.2739 • TU is an EEO/AA institution

re v i e w 7


DISPLACEMENT: Monty Little by Renee Montgomery

Displacement is a compelling exhibition by emerging artist Monty Little conveying the cultural and psychological tolls of war. As a military veteran with Native-American heritage, Monty Little’s life has been entwined with themes of alienation. Serving in the Marine Corps from 2004-2008, Monty worked under constant threat while stationed in Iraq— followed by symptoms of PTSD upon return home to Arizona. The artist recounts, “The most apparent memories during my duty in Iraq were the small things, such as playing soccer with the kids, an Iraqi smile, but at night there was a curfew, a disconnection. I felt alienation, heard gunfire, shells going off, bombs exploding, tanks going down the street. At home I wasn’t able to stand the silence of going to sleep.” In Iraq, Little’s rifle unit had been responsible for establishing Forward Operation Bases clearing out houses and setting up rooftop stations. “At home when carrying things, my hands would lock into the position of carrying my rifle, in the trigger finger position.” Little enrolled as a creative writing major at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), and was soon encouraged to begin recording his military experience by veteran author Brian Turner. Underscoring the theme of displacement is Little’s Diné (Navajo) background. The Navajo Long Walk—the 1864 forced deportation of the Navajo people at gunpoint from Arizona to New Mexico—was a familiar account on the Diné reservation in Tuba City where Little was raised. “There is a comparison between the desert of Arizona and that of Iraq,” he describes, “The land and infrastructure were the same with similar smells of wood burning and lamb cooking over the fires.” Shortly after starting at IAIA, Little stumbled into a visual art course. Finding a great correlation between writing and art, he felt there was a “great translation from writing to works on paper. On white paper you are able to see words more clearly. Visual arts was a whole new way of unfolding my feelings. Writing was private but art more open.” As a student, Little (opposite page) Monty Little, Precursor II, 2016, mixed media on canvas, 32 x 24”

received several awards for his art and poetry. By the time he graduated as a double major in 2015, the talented artist had already shown at numerous venues in Santa Fe, in a contemporary Native art show in Russia, and completed an artist residency in Italy. Last year Little was chosen for the inaugural class of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. Sponsored annually by the George Kaiser Family Foundation to enhance the local art scene, this new grant provides studio space, an apartment and a stipend for one calendar year to a cadre of artists. Selections of the artists’ production appeared at the 108 Contemporary art gallery in December including a striking series of mixed media/monotypes by Little entitled Displacement. Several more of Little’s recent paintings and prints follow at Living Arts this month, based on his earlier poetry. Depicting human forms with blurred and broken countenances the expressionistic canvases (the Precursor series) bespeak the cultural and psychological disorientation emanating from Little’s autobiography but also experienced by wartime sufferers in general. Faces partially obscured by multi-color scraped paint serve to manifest the unconscious thought of innocent lives in turmoil. “Everything’s falling back into place. I was worried for a while—will I make it home? It has taken all my strength to believe the tunnel’s light is at arm’s reach. Lift me to a succulent place…after all; these works have become nothing but black lines,” the artist recorded in his diary in Ar Ramadi, Iraq in April 2007. Later translating this period into poetry, he penned the following excerpt from an unpublished manuscript entitled, “The Overhang of Culmulus.” It is difficult now to speak of reflections of myself. It is not precisely the question of clarity, until now. Each second weakens the minute, and I find myself tracing tracer fire over rooftop motifs.

Demonstrating an evolution from an earlier more somber palette of black, ochre and blues to more intense hues, his current body of paintings reflects an influence of the midcentury Abstract Expressionists. Little builds up his paintings color by color, with placement being key, like words in poetry, trying to work out which emotions translate from particular colors. Little is likewise interested in certain indigenous Navajo art techniques, such as sand painting and rug design, based on geometry yet containing an underlying symbolic meaning. Several paintings contain subtle symbolic details, such as militarized clothing or an empty chair. Exploring how painting can capture the surrealism of words, Little focuses on anomalistic images “radiating new descriptions that strip and rebuild truth.” The one-word titles intend to leave the viewer wondering and disoriented. A strong group of monotypes called the Usurp series and monotypes combined with mixed media known as the Displacement series complement the paintings’ theme in more stark contrast. Little’s work follows in the long tradition of fine artists reacting against war. With his abstracted visages recalling Picasso’s fragmented Guernica or German Expressionists’ tortured fracturing, rather than individual portrait types, Little’s anonymous images reflect an unstable human condition, weary from conflict. In a more contemporary context, like the documentary photographs of Middle Eastern refugees that have become news icons (e.g., Afghan Girl) Little’s paintings stand for the universality of disrupted lives. You can see Monty Little’s work in the West End Gallery of Living Arts in Tulsa from January 6 – 26. For more information about his work, visit n Renee Montgomery previously worked as the Assistant Director at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and now works in Oklahoma museums and institutions teaching children.

A blind boy is left turning pages backwards While people sleep with their heads facing north.

p re v i e w 9

10 p re v i e w

POETRY IN TIME: Luba Zygarewicz By Erin Schalk

Understanding the work of artist Luba Zygarewicz requires getting to know her as a person, and she exudes uncommon levels of warmth, sincerity and creative energy. Zygarewicz’s artistic practice takes place within spaces where art and life intersect. Formative childhood experiences, her role as a mother of four children—all of whom she homeschooled for seventeen years— provide continual inspiration for her intricate installations. Zygarewicz’s desire to become an artist developed during her childhood in Bolivia. She recounts her memories of life there in vivid detail, including the vibrant colors of the local festivals and mountain villagers’ handmade clothing. She credits her lifelong drive to create sculpture from her visits to the stone temple ruins surrounding Lake Titicaca, especially the Tiwanaku Gate of the Sun. Zygarewicz was struck by how sunlight would pour through the center of the gate, but that the angle of the rays changed depending on the season. Just as the Gate of the Sun became a physical marker of the passage of time, so too would time play a major role in Zygarewicz’s work once she reached adulthood. While growing up, Zygarewicz felt a strong pull toward art but did not have access to formal lessons. At age twelve, she fashioned a small studio space in the family backyard where she dug dirt from the ground and created small sculptures out of clay. In addition to her fascination with time, Zygarewicz’s childhood ability to resourcefully carve out a creative space for herself and repurpose old materials would eventually become part of her mature artistic practice.

prove that child-rearing and art-making can be complementary pursuits. Zygarewicz successfully balanced being a mother of two young children and meeting the demands of graduate school while she completed her MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute. Shortly after graduation, she grappled with frustration as she struggled to keep up with day-to-day tasks that young children demand. While curtailing the seemingly endless piles of laundry, she imagined members of her graduating class enjoying long hours of uninterrupted studio time. However, Zygarewicz did not give up on her artistic career, and her innate resourcefulness resurfaced. The interior of her home became her studio, and the quotidian materials of her daily life became her artistic media. She began collecting the excess lint from her dryer and continued doing so for over fourteen years. From this lint collection, she created Petrified Time, a towering monolith of graytinged pinks, whites and blues which has been exhibited as high as eighteen feet tall. Zygarewicz believed then, and still believes today, in the power of daily practice. Over time, the materials of her daily actions accumulate into monumental artworks. She describes, “It is about that place where things are messy and we feel we are not making much progress, but by showing up and taking one step, we are actually conquering much. Those are the moments where life actually happens.”

For Zygarewicz, motherhood propelled her practice in directions which still define her work twenty years later. Within the contemporary art world, it is now becoming increasingly commonplace to discuss how one can maintain the delicate balance between an artist’s life and motherhood. Zygarewicz is one of many female artists who continue to

Zygarewicz still amasses the ephemera of her everyday life with her used teabags, discarded twigs, and clusters of her hair. Through this process of collection, Zygarewicz records both the passage of time and the intimate moments in her daily life. She meticulously categorizes and stores these items — sometimes over the span of a decade — much like a documentarian. From her collections, she also creates delicate installations which use not only material, but also light and shadow, in expressive and poetic ways.

opposite page: Luba Zygarewicz, empty yet full vessels 76/100, 2016

Zygarewicz’s attraction to poetics is also found in her use of suspension. Many of her past installations involve hanging her

chosen everyday materials from the ceiling. Some of her most successful pieces were made from hundreds of her used teabags that she hung in various configurations. In her 2013 exhibition A Thousand Threads at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, she saved over one hundred teabags and hung them from the gallery ceiling in the order in which they were consumed. Her tendencies toward suspension represent ideas of suspended time. In A Thousand Threads, the teabags represented the personal period in her life leading up to the exhibition. Zygarewicz is again revisiting tea as material, and she is currently sewing together numerous bags into a quilt-like work. She explains, “I am about the process… and I find ways to distill that into a visual experience elevating the mundane to a place where the viewer can pause and see the materials and ideas in a way that creates a new relationship. I think a lot about my work: conceptualizing, questioning, wondering, experimenting, while drinking tea — every day!” Luba Zygarewicz lives and works in Louisiana. She is a visual arts educator and currently teaches a talented arts program for students from kindergarten through sixth grade. Between the Lines, an exhibition of Luba Zygarewicz’s recent installation work, will be on display at Living Arts’ Myers South Gallery in Tulsa from January 6 - 26, 2017. For more information, please visit livingarts. org. To see more images of Zygarewicz’s artwork, please visit her Instagram page at n Erin Schalk is a practicing artist and freelance writer. She earned her BFA from the University of Oklahoma in 2010, and she is currently an MFA candidate at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She may be reached at

p re v i e w 11

NATIONAL TREASURE: Anna Mitchell By Renee Fite

Photo of Anna Mitchell courtesy of daughter Victoria Mitchell Vasquez.

A tribute and legacy exhibition to the late Cherokee National Treasure, Anna Belle Sixkiller Mitchell, at the Cherokee Heritage Center (CHC) shows her determination to preserve Cherokee heritage, her expertise developed over four decades and influence on other potters. “The history of Cherokee clay works is narrowly known to a few people within and outside of Cherokee culture,” said Callie Chunestudy, CHC curator. “Mitchell’s work has gone on to inspire new generations of Cherokee artists, including those with whom CHC has a long relationship. Other potters work on display will be daughter Victoria Mitchell Vasquez, Jane Osti, Crystal Hanna, Stephen Wood, Lisa Rutherford, Lillie Vann and Ken Masters—Mitchell’s nephew. Born in 1926 into a traditional, full-blood Cherokee family in Sycamore, Oklahoma, Mitchell attended Seneca Indian School in Wyandotte and Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas. It was after her marriage to husband Bob, the couple dug a pond on their property, finding veins of clay running through it. Her husband wanted a pipe like that of Sequoyah Guess, a Cherokee linguist and leader, so in 1969, although she had no idea how to use clay, Mitchell began working with it until she liked the result. As she kept making pots and people discovered her pottery, she wasn’t sure what to charge for her work or how to preserve it, so she started doing research and found information about Eastern Woodland pottery in Sun Circles and Human Hands at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. This

12 re v i e w

book provided knowledge on how to create Southeastern pottery, and history, and is still used by Cherokee artists. There were two areas where pottery was made in the early times, the Eastern Woodlands style was from a culture on the eastern seaboard called Woodland Indians. They were potters because they were farmers; they were settled, whereas other tribes were nomadic and didn’t bother. Then you don’t find anymore pottery until you get to the Pueblos in the Southwest. Southeastern art had been dormant long before Cherokee people were removed to Indian Territory in the 1830’s, she said in a Cherokee Phoenix 2001 interview. “I knew Cherokees hadn’t really done pottery since the removal. There wasn’t anyone doing it or people who knew how to do it, but I thought surely it could be done again.” In the same interview Mitchell shared another reason pottery became a passion of hers. “I believe without art you don’t have culture and without culture you don’t have art. I want students to learn the culture when I am teaching them. I insist they learn it. They all have.” Mitchell’s pottery is hand built using the coil method and based on traditional symbols and designs, which she also enjoyed teaching. She revived the coil building technique, said Chunestudy, “she used found objects like stones and gourds, and made stamps and paddles with patterns.” In 1973, during her first public showing at the Indian Trade Fair in Tulsa,

she met fellow Cherokee Clydia Nahwooksy, director of the Indian Awareness Program for the Smithsonian Institution Folklife Festival. Nahwooksy encouraged her to continue her work. Through this meeting Mitchell gained access to the Smithsonian archives. Today some of her pottery pieces are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D. C. and private collections throughout the U.S. and other countries. Some of her awards and honors include the Smithsonian Institution’s Festival of American Folklife, the first female Cherokee National Treasure in 1988 and a Red Earth Honored One in 1998, and in 2008 Cherokee Nation Education Services presented her with the Educator of Arts and Humanities Lifetime Achievement Award. Cherokee National Treasures are chosen based upon their mastery of a skill or Cherokee craft and their teaching it to future generations, said Chunestudy. They are nominated by individuals to the National Treasures Board and chosen by the Chief. Her daughter, Victoria Mitchell Vasquez, carries on her mother’s legacy as an artist. In 2005, she was awarded a Smithsonian Native Arts Fellowship from the National Museum of the American Indian, to continue the research her mother started. In 2012 she was the third woman to receive the Cherokee National Treasure award for traditional pottery. She has served as a tribal councilor with the Cherokee Nation since 2013 and teaches pottery workshops for the Cherokee, Creek, Miami, and Quapaw tribes in Oklahoma and conducts demonstrations and workshops across the nation at numerous museums and public events. The second potter to be designated as a Cherokee National Treasure, Jane Osti, created a clay prototype of a bust of Mitchell, which was cast in bronze by sculptor Pat Synar, with the help of daughter Tanya (now a sculptor and teacher) and the late Vance Gibson, at his foundry in Tahlequah. The bust, Anna: A Vision Restored, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Trail of Tears, is part of the exhibition. Osti first met Mitchell while taking her first pottery class at Northeastern State University. She had an assignment in another class to interview an elder. She knew who Anna Mitchell was and went to meet her, watching her work. “She would tell me things to do, and when I got home I would do them,” Osti said, “It wasn’t that I wanted my pottery to be just like hers, but that she inspired me!” “Anna was good at everything -- quilting, gardening, sewing, she could do anything. But pottery is what she did the best.” Osti said. “She opened many doors, she was one of the first to go to the Santa Fe Indian Market.” Later, for many years Osti went with her, she said. “I would have never have seen myself doing something like that if not for Anna,” said Osti. “Stand up for yourself, she would say.” “It was most important to her that we remember to preserve the tradition—the Cherokee art form of pottery.” said Osti.

Photo of Anna Mitchell courtesy of daughter Victoria Mitchell Vasquez.

The Anna Mitchell Legacy Exhibit is on view at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill now through April 1. n Renee Fite is a freelance writer, photographer, artist, and also the founding president of the Arts Council of Talequah.

f e a t u re


THE AESTHETIC OF TRUTH: Lusha Nelson by Mary Kathryn Moeller

Lusha Nelson, Latvian-American, 1907–1938, Katharine Hepburn, 1932, gelatin silver print. Men on a Bench, c. 1933–35, gelatin silver print

Philbrook Director Scott Stulen and his curatorial team are brimming with excitement about the opportunity to share the untold story of a young Latvian-American photographer, Lusha Nelson (1907-1938). Opening on February 5, 2017, the exhibition entitled Lusha Nelson Photographs: Celebrity, the Forgotten Man, and 1930s America, reveals the prolific career of a young photographer who moved in the high-powered social circles of the New York art world. His body of work includes celebrity portraiture, as well as documentary style street photography of New York. The exhibition offers viewers the chance to immerse themselves in a period through the lens of a talented artist whose life was tragically cut short. Very little is known about Nelson and the trajectory of his career. Stulen anticipates new discoveries around his work and life will be made as the museum makes a long term commitment to this collection of over 4,000 objects. Leading the project are Chief Curator and Curator of American Art, Catherine Whitney and Dr. Sarah Lees, Ruth G. Hardman Curator of European Art. Whitney

14 p re v i e w

describes the collection as a veritable treasure trove. “The potential just kept revealing itself. We thought that initially that it would be a snapshot of the 1930s...but then we started getting more captivated by the artist, the story, and the fact that he had been overlooked.” What is known is that fifteen-year-old Nelson immigrated to the United States from Latvia in 1922. Ten years later, Nelson was signed on as a staff photographer for Vanity Fair under the mentorship of the legendary Edward Steichen, chief photographer for Condé Nast’s publications. Whitney and Lees are still unsure how Nelson connected with Steichen, though Steichen praised Nelson as a gifted young photographer. There are multiple mysteries to be uncovered but what is consistently present is Nelson’s ability to capture an unflickered truth in his subjects. Stulen states, “Nelson’s work has a truth to it. There is a consistency of trying to get at the core of who that subject is. It is applied equally in his work...whether it is a celebrity or it is a vendor at Coney Island”

In many ways, Nelson’s approach to the portraits of celebrities in Vanity Fair is based on the style of Steichen and the aesthetic of the magazine. Steichen was known for his simple yet dramatic lighting and spare use of props. Nelson, like Steichen, primarily adopts nondescriptive backgrounds, with his figures filling the frame. In contrast to Steichen however, Nelson’s images seem less romanticized, with an emphasis on documenting essential element of characters. This is largely due to Nelson’s avoidance of photographic retouching techniques of the day. His 1933 photograph of a young Katharine Hepburn demonstrates his ability to capture, with dramatic clarity, a nuanced portrait of a young star, down the freckles splayed across her nose. Hepburn is in profile with her head tilted down, creating a near 45-degree angle from the sweep of her curls to the point of her chin. She wears a highcollared coat which closes around her and gives the impression of one who keeps her own secrets.

It is because of the closed manner in which Hepburn is captured Nelson is able to reveal much of what would become legendary

about Hepburn’s Hollywood persona. Her patrician angles and clothing match the upper class breeding and clipped manner of speaking that many found to be haughty and off-putting. There is nothing about the photograph that could be deemed particularly feminine as Hepburn famously eschewed tropes of femininity, opting for men’s trousers and little to no make-up. Nelson’s image holds true to Hepburn’s personality by depicting her ramrod straight in her posture and inscrutable in expression. Though the celebrity portraiture is certainly the most iconic segment of the exhibition, there is an extensive collection of street photography that shows another side of Nelson. The use of hand-held cameras blossomed in the 1930s and Nelson took full advantage of his time away from magazine assignments to shoot every aspect of life in New York City that he encountered. Also included is Nelson’s documentation of the beginnings of his photographic career. On the mounting board of a studio photograph Nelson notes that this is his first photograph taken with any camera. Stulen states that the images taken away from Vanity Fair are about, “a young artist learning his craft.” Nelson continued to hone his practice by visiting Coney Island and following a traveling circus in 1934. Through images such as those of trick horse rider Dorothy Herbert, Nelson explored motion and casual action shots. Nelson also did photographic work for the Jewish Federation of Charities to document the struggles of the average man during the Depression. This body of work, like the rest, focuses on the reality instead of sentiment. In particular, Nelson captures the plight of the homeless in an effort to help show those in the most desperate of need. The work of Nelson provides a full immersion into the era of the 1930s, from its heights to its depths. This exhibition is a sampling of Nelson’s prolific career which ended in his 30th year after a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Lusha Nelson Photographs: Celebrity, the Forgotten Man, and 1930s America will be on view through May 7, 2017. Philbrook Museum of Art is located at 2727 South Rockford in Tulsa. For more information call 918-749-7941 or go online to n

Mary Kathryn Moeller is curator, writer, and educator. She is available via e-mail at (top) Cigarettes, c. 1935–37, gelatin silver print. (bottom) Ward on Wheels, c. 1934–35, commissioned by the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies, gelatin silver print

f e a t u re 15

ART 365 PREVIEW: Kelly Rogers by Karen Paul

All images are work in progress from the mural Tales of Whoa, unprimed, raw, cotton canvas, black embroidery thread.

Themes of trauma, strength, and intimacy are sewn into the work of Oklahoma City artist Kelly Rogers, who has been selected for the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s triennial Art 365. “I applied for Art 365 as a dare to myself,” Rogers said. “My proposal was to create a hand-stitched mural, but I had not defined the specifics when I applied.” Rogers, who will be working with nationally-renowned curator Dana Turkovic, is creating a large mural entitled Tales of Woah, which will debut at the Art 365 exhibition in June 2017. Rogers’ mural is inspired through her work at HeartLine answering crisis calls and a personal childhood experience of trauma. “The calls that I answer are part of what has helped me be resilient,” Rogers said. “Our callers are amazing people. I’ve taken over 16,000 calls in my career and I feel so trusted with our callers’ lives, stories of

16 f e a t u re

trauma, and strength. Sometimes, they will even call back and say ‘thank you.’” Humbled by her callers’ strength, Rogers wants Tales of Woah to be an expression of human survival and a celebration of what makes the human experience amazing. “I want to make a statement that cannot be ignored,” she said. When completed, Rogers’ mural will consist of dozens of hand-stitched drawings of girls in typical childhood situations such as playing with friends. The embroidery is a critical part of the mural, representing a personal metaphor for healing. When Rogers’ husband suffered a major injury that left him unable to walk for six months, she became his primary caregiver and began to visually explore the concept of stitches. In Tales of Woah, she applies the healing metaphor of stitches to a subject that is influenced by the shocking statistic that one in three girls in Oklahoma County

has been sexually abused. When the piece is completed, one out of every three girls that have been stitched on the mural will be handpainted in full color, highlighting the trauma that one in three girls experience in life. “The condition of women and girls who experience trauma is unacceptable and lifealtering,” Rogers said. “I want the impact of their situation to be real.” Tales of Woah is also giving Rogers a place to share the trauma that she experienced as a young girl. “This work is giving me a place to tell a story that I have not been able to do so far in life,” she said. “This process has empowered me in a way that I would not have otherwise experienced.” Each girl in the mural is created individually from Rogers’ personal childhood photos with her sister, friends’ photos of their children, and stock photos. She is planning the visual density of the mural as she goes, giving the

piece room to grow and evolve throughout the year-long creation process. “It is daunting,” she said. “However, these days, I feel pretty confident that I will love the outcome.” She uses graphite paper to sketch photos of girls on to the canvas. The graphite lasts just long enough on the canvas to give Rogers time to stitch the essence of each girl, including pieces of hair, articles of clothing and toys, creating image after image of kids who are innocent. So far, each girl in the piece includes some element of connectivity –being physically connected to another girl, reaching out to another girl, or touching an object associated with childhood. The sense of connectivity

throughout the piece is something that Rogers did not consciously plan in the beginning, but is excited to see develop.

viewers to feel that they can change the onein-three statistic, bringing girls who have experienced trauma out of the shadows.

“There is a little mystery in seeing where it will go,” she said.

“This opportunity is one like anything else that I’ve ever had,” Rogers said. “I want to earn it and express gratitude for it. I felt like my art was behind an invisible wall for a while.”

Rogers plans to display the finished piece as a flat mural, inviting viewers to interact with the piece in order to fully experience it. The mural will also be double-sided allowing viewers to see the loose ends on the back of each figure. These ends often connect one stitched girl to another girl. In addition, the reversed stitching when viewed as a whole helps to reveal the grotesque nature of trauma and how it is often hidden in plain sight. Rogers hopes viewers will be empowered by the serious nature of her mural. She wants

For more information on Art 365, please visit For more information on HeartLine, visit n Karen Paul, a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, is a freelance writer specializing in arts-based subjects. You may contact her at

f e a t u re


ART 365 PREVIEW: Narciso Arguelles by Olivia Biddick

Narciso Arguelles’ project for the 2017 iteration of Art 365 is called Imaginary Spaces—site specific performance pieces being filmed into three, five minute-long episodes centering on American minorities’ struggle with finding a supportive space. The first episode focuses on the Native American experience and was partially filmed in the unfinished American Indian Cultural Center and Museum south of the Oklahoma River. Inside the open, empty space with bare air ducts and exposed walls are two ballerinas dancing on a sunken floor, an anticipated stage. There are also Native American contemporary dancers (one of them played by Wanbli TallChief, great niece to legendary ballerinas Maria and Marjorie TallChief ). The two couples dance to a mashup of music styles: two Native American drummers playing with a classical violinist and violist. The location choice for filming the first episode was particularly apt. The construction of the elusive American Indian Cultural Center and Museum under the mound of dirt off I-35 has been on hold for years. It’s hard to not take the lack of funds from the state as a direct reflection on where Native American culture falls on Oklahoma’s priorities. However, the museum’s future is looking brighter. Construction is expected to resume in early 2017. Since the exhibition’s curatorial guidance spans nearly a year, the artists’ initial mission statement and proposal often changes direction during the process. The Art 365 program allows the artists that flexibility. Arguelles was in the middle of filming the second episode on African Americans when we talked. So far this segment has stayed true to how it was referenced in his proposal. This episode features Emmy Award winner and Hip Hop artist Jabee Williams. With Jabee, Narciso suggested he recite his lyrics rather that “rap” them. “We will surprise guests at a local coffee shop with my visuals and his performance in the spirit of beat poetry.” Historically, this is called “intervention” art. One goal of an art intervention is to explore

18 f e a t u re

and question existing systems—be it political, cultural, or social.

strange things I have experienced, people would not believe me.”

Jabee recites his song “Come Up” from his new album Black Future. Both rap and spoken word versions are equally compelling with powerful lyrics.

The third and final episode centers on Latin American or, more specifically, Chicano culture in an ever more hostile United States. The plan for the video when I spoke to Arguelles is to show him creating graffiti/ street art in real time.

Im looking for a come up cuz you know they trine hold my people down they don’t wanna see us come up and they only wanna see us in the ground Visuals stay simplistic so as to not distract from the words — a single camera following Jabee through the length of the coffee shop. Arguelles’ work is inherently political. Though, Arguelles prefers not to call out politicians by name, because those politicians reflect the culture they serve. Arguelles’ work is playful, aspiring to not be confrontational. Most of his work is a nod to his Mexican American heritage in some capacity. “I would be a ‘political’ artist even if all I did was paintings of flowers; it is not so much about what I make, but it is about who I am,” says Arguelles. “It becomes political when I walk into the room. People like to say we live in a post-racial society now; but it is not true. I have been confused as the janitor at several teaching jobs that I have had. If I were to list all the

Location is yet to be determined but ideally somewhere a little dilapidated, representing a part of Oklahoma City that’s often forgotten when it comes to community art projects. Setting is at night, with only the lights from a few lowriders that roll up, shining their headlights on the building exterior for Arguelles to see. The beautiful, thought-provoking visuals of Imaginary Spaces will play along with mirroring live performances at the opening reception of Art 365 at MAINSITE in Norman, in June 2017. For more information on Art 365, visit n Olivia Biddick is the Office/Production Coordinator at CVWmedia in Norman. She has a BA in journalism with an emphasis on broadcasting and electronic media from the University of Oklahoma. Contact her at

opposite page and this page: Narciso Arguelles, image stills from Imaginary Spaces courtesy of the artist.

f e a t u re 19

FILM REVIEW: Django by Jill Hardy

Images courtesy of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

In his essay “The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism,” T.S. Eliot wrote “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.” Calling Quentin Tarantino a “poet” of the movie world may not sit well with all film buffs, but for those who appreciate his style and talents, understanding where he has drawn inspiration from adds depth to experiencing his motion pictures. The limited run of Django at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art gave me a chance to do just that, and it also gave me the opportunity to give The Spaghetti Western another chance to win me over, as a genre. I grew up with a grandfather who loved John Wayne movies. To me these always stood in stark contrast to the darker, grittier Spaghetti Westerns. John Wayne movie plots were simple, bad guys wore black, and hardly any good guys died; flesh wounds in an extremity could have a colorful bandanna tied around them, and all would end up well in the end. In a Spaghetti Western, there was more brutality, more ambivalence, and even though the “good” guy usually did at some point act for the greater good, there were moments designed to make you wonder. Released in 1966, Sergio Corbucci’s Django

20 f e a t u re

may not have enjoyed the commercial success in the United States that Sergio Leone’s movies (A Fistful of Dollars, et al) had, but it developed a cult following that has stood the test of time. Tarantino cites it as one of his influences (along with other Spaghetti Westerns, and samurai movies— from which the directors of Spaghetti Westerns often borrowed heavily), and the actor who played Django, Franco Nero, had a cameo in Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Django’s plot is typical of a spaghetti Western; a drifter saves a woman from brutalization, and then sets about gaining revenge on the local baddie. The standard images are there—ruggedly handsome outlier, voluptuous hooker-with-a-heart-ofgold, pernicious villain—but Django also has some unique charm. The mystery of the coffin that Django drags everywhere with him, the surprisingly progressive message about the menace of racism…several things make this movie special, among all the Spaghetti Western standards. The darkness for the time (when you view it through the lens of the 1960s, it’s pretty violent), and the reluctance of the hero to be heroic are pretty standard now, but in the era it was produced, this was graphic and groundbreaking. Sort of like Tarantino.

Django can be viewed and interpreted on several levels. As a Tarantino fan, you can easily see where he’s borrowed (and flat out lifted) elements, and appreciate it as an inspiration. But as someone simply wanting to watch a story, you can sit down in front of it and be drawn in as well. By the cartoonish characterizations, the campy theme song, and the timeless elements of a stranger coming into town to settle scores, stand up to injustice, and ultimately—reluctantly—become the hero. John Wayne movies with their sappy sweetness will always have a place in my heart, but Django opened my eyes to the rough appeal of the Spaghetti Western. Life can be ugly, but it can also turn around. Tyrants can be toppled, and sometimes the best hero is the one that is deeply flawed. For more on the Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s film series, visit n Jill Hardy is a freelance writer and can be reached at This review first appeared in

FILM REVIEW: The Lovers and the Despot by Kyle Cohlmia

Images courtesy of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

Propaganda film is a genre primarily associated with war. From Mussolini to Mao, dictators from around the world have commissioned, or rather demanded, a communal and unadulterated representation of their regimes. Propaganda art often negates the artist’s voice, suppresses individualism, or worse, masks the community’s subjection to repression, violence, and humiliation. We see war propaganda in cinematic cannons such as Germany’s Triumph of the Will (1935) and more recently, American Sniper (2014). Even movies made outside the context of war, such as Titanic (1953, 1997) position audiences toward a specific, often political cause. However, what happens when the artist’s story itself is representation of propaganda, and furthermore, do all stories contain a component of personal marketing?

industry after Shin’s success in South Korea. As the story goes, after their divorce, spurred by an affair between Shin and another co-star, Choi was unwillingly taken to North Korea. Following her sudden disappearance, Shin was allegedly kidnapped and held hostage for five years before reuniting with Choi who was living under captivation in Jong-il’s compound.

In The Lovers and the Despot (2016), directors Robert Cannon and Ross Adam tell the story of South Korean filmmakers, and once husband and wife who fell in love during the 1950s post-war Korea, Shin Sang-ok and Choi Eun-hee, both allegedly kidnapped by despot and movie-obsessed Kim Jong-il. While Shin passed away in 2006, the film explores this story through interviews of Choi, her two children with Shin, and various friends and family members, interlaced with audio clips of conversations with Jong-il himself.

In addition, accounts in the film of Jong-il’s upbringing, an isolated experience, and evidence of his father, Kim Il-sung’s dynamic personality in contrast to Jong-il’s introversion and rarity in speaking engagements is worth acknowledging in the context of North Korean history; and visually recording North Korean party parades and ceremonies was significant. Specifically, Cannon and Adam showcase footage of both Il-sung’s and Jong-il’s funerals, where North Korean party members were expected to express a certain level of remorse, otherwise be punished.

The premise of The Lovers and the Despot illustrates how Jong-il allegedly abducted the once-lovers to advance the North Korean film

However, for a story that is relatively unheard of for the rest of the world, this expository documentary lacks important details of

As a documentary, Choi’s interviews are most compelling, as she recounts her story of success and loss during the eight years spent with Jongil in North Korea. Another interesting factor is Choi’s statement that while under Jong-il’s watchful eye, the two, surprisingly, had free-range to direct the films of their choice. Ultimately, it is the disappearance and forced reunion of the two that presents an eerily dynamic horror story.

Shin and Choi’s imprisonment, which ultimately questions the authenticity of the story. Dramatic music and original clips from Shin’s movies interlude the film, albeit as dramatization versus historical context, making for a kitschy rather than genuine tone. Alluding to theories that the lovers, especially Shin, fabricated their story leaves the audience with too many unanswered questions to come to any concrete conclusions. In the end, Shin and Choi successfully escape and travel to the United States where they were safely relocated. The lovers’ story is dynamic, yet the documentary as a whole is devoid of connection to the initial subject—abduction. Furthermore, the film leaves you wondering if directors Cannon and Ross narrate a story that creates its own type of propaganda, a nod to British and American ideals. North Korean Cold War influences are prominent in The Lovers and the Despot, however, the story itself leaves you wondering how we improvise stories to create our own timelines where we are consistently the hero. For more on the Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s film series, visit n Kyle Cohlmia is a writer living and working in Oklahoma City. This review first appeared in

f e a t u re 21

8 p.m., Jan. 26 –April 2, 2017 Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art

The University of Oklahoma 555 Elm Ave. Norman, OK 73019-3003 // @fjjma An exhibition of photography by Will Wilson (U.S., Navajo; b. 1969) extends the body of portraiture of Native Americans in Oklahoma, while shifting preconceptions about the historical narrative within which the Native community is often presented. The title refers to both the use of photography as a medium and the synthesis of Edward S. Curtis’s original work into the construction of a body of photography that extends and empowers Native representation from the historic into the present. PHOTO/SYNTHESIS is supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Admission is always free. Will Wilson (U.S., Navajo; b. 1969) Sophie Shotton, Citizen of Otoe-Missouria Tribe and affiliated Iowa/Wichita/Kiowa/Cheyenne, Otoe-Missouria Owl Clan, and John Shotton, Citizen of Otoe-Missouria Tribe and affiliated Iowa, Otoe-Missouria Owl Clan, Descendant of Jim Deroine and Lina Kihega DeRoin, Frank Moore and Mary Dailey Moore, Edna DeRoin Moore, Bob Moore, Orissa Shotton Moore, and Sloan Shotton, Otoe-Missouria, Iowa, Wichita, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Otoe-Missouria Owl Clan, “Woska Pimi” [detail] (2016); Archival pigment print from wet plate collodion scan, 8 x 10 in.; Image courtesy of the artist For accommodations, please call Visitor Services at (405) 325-4938. The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution.


The 3rd Annual

Glitter Ball




EKPHRASIS: Winter 2017 edited by Liz Blood

Upon seeing Chris Ramsay’s piece, Witness, Markham Johnson imagined “barbwire the oak tree heals over, takes inside itself,” because it has no other choice—just as “Witness” reflects trees heading to a point where they cannot reprocess emissions. Both testify to things of this world we must survive.

Bear Witness

Poet Bio: Markham Johnson won the

2016 Pablo Neruda Prize and his poems have recently been published in Nimrod, Nine Mile Magazine, and This Land. He has an MFA from Vermont College and teaches at Holland Hall in Tulsa.

Artist bio: Chris Ramsay has taught

metals and jewelry courses at Oklahoma State University since 1990. Ramsay is the recipient of a 2016 Tulsa Artist Fellowship and is currently creating art exploring concepts observed during a Fall 2015 artistin-residency at Crater Lake National Park.

(opposite page) Chris Ramsay, Witness, 2016, carved found branch, inlaid wood doors, early 1900s postcard images of industrial sites, 84 x 24 x 24”

Forty years later, I find Boots Carmichael’s late Friday solution when we’d run short of metal posts-this burr oak where Boots stapled fencing has now healed over, sealing a string of barbwire deep inside. After we’d finished, Boots confessed over the high throttle whine of his war salvage Jeep how, back from Northeastern State on winter break, he’d found his child hood home sold to the county sheriff and Marybeth painted on Jake Sanders. “I had to win her back,” said Boots. Christmas morning he woke black-eyed, drunk to the same plastic stars he’d super glued to his bedroom ceiling, now a Taney County jail cell. And though I’d like to believe somewhere Boots and Marybeth still snake fingers through the barred drunk tank of forgiveness, I never heard his goofy laugh again. Still, I’m left to pack these words across state lines and drag them loose for any broke-down Okie who needs to believe the moral of a story buried deep in tough fibered, halflit bodies and souls is love. e k p h r a s i s 25



Momentum OKC is an interactive, multidisciplinary art event highlighting Oklahoma artists age 30 and under on March 24 & 25, 2017. There will be cash prizes selected by curator Kate Van Steenhuyse and the emerging curator Kyle Cohlmia. Additionally, there is a $100 Viewer’s Choice Award selected by the audience. The show will highlight our Spotlight Artists Lisandro Boccacci, Krystle Brewer, and Summer Zah who will receive $1,500 and curatorial guidance to create a small body of work to exhibit. The survey application deadline is January 20. For more information on the event, visit Momentum Ada is a film and new media festival taking place in Ada, OK May 2017. There will be cash prizes selected by curators Samantha Dillehay and Brian Cardinale-Powell. The show will highlight two Spotlight Artists (announced later this month) who will receive $1,500 and curatorial guidance to create new work to exhibit. The survey application deadline is February 28 and open to residents age 30 and under in the following states: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Texas.For more information on the event, visit Glitter Ball 2015. Photos by Aaron Gililland.

26 o v a c n e w s

Our Artist Survival Kit (ASK) workshop series continues this month with Legal Guide for Public Art on Monday, January 23, 5:30-7 pm at Dunlap Codding, 609 W Sheridan Ave, Oklahoma City. Being a legal savvy artist isn’t always an easy road to navigate. We will hear from copyright lawyer Doug Sorocco on issues pertinent to public art. There will be time after the presentation for a Q&A. This workshop is FREE and open to the public. For more information, or to register, visit This past December, we held our third Collector Level Membership + Community Supported Art (CSA) Launch Event. Collectors attended a reception with the artists and received an original piece of artwork. The program connects art buyers with local artists. Through the CSA Program, collectors will receive 2 original pieces of art annually by Oklahoma artists and enjoy all of the additional benefits at the Patron Member level. The next Launch Event will be held in November. For more information, or to sign up, please visit 24 Works on Paper, the biennial travelling exhibition of work by living Oklahoma artists returned again to open to the public

in Guymon, OK in August 2016 and will continue its tour around the state through January 2018. The next few stops on the tour include Arts and Preservation in the Osage January 20 – February 28, 2017 and Leslie Powell Gallery in Lawton March 4 – March 31. Visit for more information. The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition is a proud beneficiary of this year’s Glitter Ball presented by Dunlap Codding, along with deadCenter Film Festival. Taking place on January 28, Dunlap Codding will be transformed into a winter wonderland! Guests will enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres, open bar, engaging live performances, and music throughout the night. There will be an art auction where guests can place bids on Oklahoma art, or purchase at the buy-it-now price. Early bird ticket discounts are now available. To purchase tickets, sponsor, or for more information, visit The next quarterly deadline for all OVAC Grants is Jan 15. Applications are accepted monthly on the 15th for Education Grants. All other grant categories are reviewed quarterly. Please visit for a complete list of the available opportunities. n

Living with Art: The Newman Collection February 3 - March 26, 2017 Curated by Holbrook Campbell Lawson, PhD

Opening Reception: February 3, 6-9pm Curators Talk: February 4, 1:30-3:00pm


Visual Arts.



As a young boy in Boston, J. Melville Finney received encouragement in his artistic pursuits from Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1903, he taught the first class in OU’s School of Drawing, Painting and Modeling. 1903–2017

Today we call ourselves the OU School of Visual Arts, but we





retain the same commitment to fostering talented students that stands behind our foundation over one hundred years ago.

OU School of Visual Arts The University of Oklahoma For more info:

Join more than 240 students pursuing visual arts careers in seven academic programs.

all for you.

February 1st 2017 is the deadline for Fall 2017 new student enrollment.


Gallery Listings & Exhibition Schedule Ada


The Pogue Gallery East Central University 900 Centennial Plaza (580) 559-5353

Chisholm Trail Heritage Center 1000 Chisholm Trail Pkwy (580) 252-6692 onthechisholmtrail. com



Graceful Arts Gallery and Studios 523 Barnes St (580) 327-ARTS gracefulartscenter. org

Pedagogy: Faculty/Student Exhibition January 24 – February 16 The 13th Annual Great Plains Juried Art Exhibition February 27 – March 30 Centre Gallery Southeastern OK State University 1405 N 4th PMB 4231 (580) 745-2000


Bert Seabourn January 1 – March 17 Annual All Schools Exhibit March 9 - 25 The Goddard Center 401 First Avenue SW (580) 226-0909

Bartlesville Price Tower Arts Center 510 Dewey Ave (918) 336-4949

Chickasha Nesbitt Gallery University of Science and Arts Oklahoma 1806 17th St (405) 574-1344 schedule

Claremore Rogers State University 1701 W Will Rogers Blvd (918) 343-7740 Wolf Productions: A Gallery of the Arts 510 W Will Rogers Blvd (918) 342-4210

Davis Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center 35 N Colbert Rd (580) 369-4222

28 g a l l e r y g u i d e

Durham Metcalfe Museum 8647 N 1745 Rd (580) 655-4467

Edmond Hand + Eye January 11 – February 10 Design: Faculty Show February 15 – March 17 Donna Nigh Gallery University of Central Oklahoma 100 University Dr (405) 974-2432

University Gallery Oklahoma Christian University 2501 E Memorial Rd (800) 877-5010

El Reno All that South West Jazz Through January 31 Gordon Parks Past Winners of the International Pholography Contest February 1 – March 7 Student Art Show March 11 – April 21 Redlands Community College 1300 S Country Club Rd (405) 262-2552

Guthrie Hancock Creative Shop 116 S 2nd St (405) 471-1951 Owens Arts Place Museum 1202 E Harrison Ave (405) 260-0204


All Fired Up Art Gallery 421 N Main (580) 338-4278


Edmond Historical Society & Museum 431 S Boulevard (405) 340-0078

Museum of the Red River 812 E Lincoln Rd (580) 286-3616

Fine Arts Institute of Edmond 27 E Edwards St (405) 340-4481


Intimate Landscapes: Selections from the Melton Legacy Collection February 2 – 23 Contemporary Ceramic Art from North and South America March 2 - 23 Melton Gallery University of Central Oklahoma 100 University Dr (405) 974-2432

The Leslie Powell Foundation and Gallery 620 D Avenue (580) 357-9526 Museum of the Great Plains 601 NW Ferris Ave (580) 581-3460

Norman Downtown Art and Frame 115 S Santa Fe (405) 329-0309 2017 Healing Studio Exhibition January 13 – January 27 Chocolate Festival 2017 January 28 Firehouse Art Center 444 S Flood (405) 329-4523 Jacobson House 609 Chautauqua (405) 366-1667 Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art 555 Elm Ave (405) 325-4938 Lightwell Gallery University of Oklahoma 520 Parrington Oval (405) 325-2691 MAINSITE Contemporary Art Gallery 122 E Main (405) 360-1162 Moore-Lindsey House Historical Museum 508 N Peters (405) 321-0156 The Depot Gallery 200 S Jones (405) 307-9320

Oklahoma City

Acosta Strong Fine Art 6420 N Western Ave (405) 453-1825 [ArtSpace] at Untitled 1 NE 3rd St (405) 815-9995 Brass Bell Studios 2500 NW 33rd

Contemporary Art Gallery 2928 Paseo (405) 601-7474 DNA Galleries 1705 B NW 16th St (405) 371-2460 Exhibit C 1 E Sheridan Ave Ste 100 (405) 767-8900 Surroundings by Christie Owen Through January 7 Gaylord-Pickens Museum, home of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame 1400 Classen Dr (405) 235-4458 Grapevine Gallery 1933 NW 39th (405) 528-3739 Howell Gallery 6432 N Western Ave (405) 840-4437 In Your Eye Studio and Gallery 3005A Paseo (405) 525-2161 Dream of Man: Nicole Emmons-Willis and Tessa Raven February 16 – April 7 Jerry Allen Gilmore February 16 – April 7 Individual Artists of Oklahoma 706 W Sheridan Ave (405) 232-6060 JRB Art at The Elms 2810 N Walker Ave (405) 528-6336 Kasum Contemporary Fine Art 1706 NW 16th St (405) 604-6602

The Artistry of the Western Paperback February 3 – May 14 Hollywood and the American West February 3 – May 14 A Yard of Turkey Red: The Western Bandanna February 3 – May 14 Power and Prestige Children’s Gallery February 3 – May 14 National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum 1700 NE 63rd (405) 478-2250 Nault Gallery 816 N Walker Ave (405) 642-4414 Nona Hulsey Gallery, Norick Art Center Oklahoma City University 1600 NW 26th (405) 208-5226 Inasmuch Foundation Gallery Oklahoma City Community College Gallery 7777 S May Ave (405) 682-7576 Dale Chihuly: Magic & Light Through January 31 Sacred Words: The Saint John’s Bible and the Art of Illumination Through January 8 Oklahoma City Museum of Art 415 Couch Dr (405) 236-3100 ArtNow 2017 January 9 – January 20 Jeffrey Gibson: Speak to Me February 9 – June 11 Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center 3000 General Pershing Blvd (405) 951-0000 Oklahoma State Capitol Galleries 2300 N Lincoln Blvd (405) 521-2931 Paseo Art Space 3022 Paseo (405) 525-2688 Red Earth 6 Santa Fe Plaza (405) 427-5228

Off the Beaten Path Through May 4 smART Space Science Museum Oklahoma 2100 NE 52nd St (405) 602-6664 Summer Wine Art Gallery 2928 B Paseo (405) 831-3279

Park Hill

Tahlequah Spider Gallery Cherokee Arts Center 212 S Water Ave (918) 453-5728

Tonkawa Eleanor Hays Gallery Northern Oklahoma College 1220 E Grand (580) 628-6670

Anna Mitchell Legacy Exhibit Through April 1 Cherokee National Historical Society, Inc. 21192 S Keeler Dr (918) 456-6007


Ponca City

aberson Exhibits 3624 S Peoria (918) 740-1054

Elementary and Middle School Art Show March 8 – 28 Ponca City Art Center 819 E Central (580) 765-9746

Shawnee Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art 1900 W Macarthur (405) 878-5300

Stillwater Gardiner Gallery of Art Oklahoma State University 108 Bartlett Center for the Visual Arts (405) 744-4143 Oklahoma and Beyond: Selections from the George R. Kravis II Collection February 28 – July 8 Oklahoma State University Museum of Art 720 S Husband St (405) 744-2780

Sulphur Chickasaw Visitor Center 901 W 1st St (580) 622-8050 chickasawcountry. com/explore/view/Chickasawvisitor-center

108 Contemporary 108 E MB Brady St (918) 895-6302

Chocolate: The Exhibition Through January 8 Creating the Modern Southwest Through May 14 Looking West: The Rumley Family Collection Through March 26 Textured Portraits: The Ken Blackbird Collection February 26 – August 27 Gilcrease Museum 1400 Gilcrease Road (918) 596-2700 [In]Translation: Anh-Thuy Nguyen Through January 22 Transformation: Ann Kim Through January 22 Hardesty Arts Center 101 E Archer St (918) 584-3333

Joseph Gierek Fine Art 1342 E 11th St (918) 592-5432 Living Arts 307 E MB Brady St (918) 585-1234 Mainline 111 N Main Ste C (918) 629-0342 M.A. Doran Gallery 3509 S Peoria (918) 748-8700 Altitude Project February 5 and 6 Red Exhibition February 11 Lovetts Gallery 6528 E 51st St (918) 664-4732 Mike Glier Through April 2 Philbrook Downtown 116 E MB Brady St (918) 749-7941 A Bestiary Through February 19 Lusha Nelson Photographs February 5 – May 7 Philbrook Museum of Art 2727 S Rockford Rd (918) 749-7941

Urban Art Lab Studios 2312 E Admiral Blvd (918) 747-0510 Beginnings from Forgotten Things by Marie Walters January 6 – 28 Tulsa Artists’ Coalition 9 E MB Brady St (918) 592-0041 Tulsa Performing Arts Center Gallery 110 E 2nd St (918) 596-2368 WaterWorks Art Center 1710 Charles Page Blvd (918) 596-2440

Wilburton The Gallery at Wilburton 108 W Main St (918) 465-9669

Woodward Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum 2009 Williams Ave (580) 256-6136

Pierson Gallery 1307-1311 E 15th St (918) 584-2440

Henry Zarrow Center for Art and Education 124 E MB Brady St (918) 631-4400 Zarrow Alexandre Hogue Gallery University of Tulsa 2930 E 5th St. (918) 631-2739 Holliman Gallery Holland Hall 5666 E 81st Street (918) 481-1111

g a l l e r y g u i d e 29

Thank you to our new and renewing members from August through October 2016 Una Anderson Lynette Atchley Paul Bagley William Buckner Martha Burger Milissa Burkart Ellen Bussard Gayle Canada Jack and Stephanie Chapman Sheridan Conrad Jason Cytacki and Haley Prestifilippo Ellen Etzler Janene Evard Kay Gamble Shan Goshorn

Grace Grothaus Grimm Stephanie Grubbs Steve Hicks Heather Clark Hilliard Shelby Hinton Devin Howell Cybele Hsu Brianne Humphreys Sandy Ingram Sarah Iselin and Frank Parman Lauren Jennings Michelle Junkin Myra Block Kaiser Amy Kelly Joseph K. Kirk Lauren Kubier

“Kyle Larson” Michele Lasker Susan Linde Harolyn Long Jean Longo Phyllis Mantik deQuevedo Travis Mason Cindy Mason Brett McDanel Jan McKay Ellen Medlock Suzanne Mitchell and Sam Fulkerson Austin Munson Romney Oualline Nesbitt Donna Newsom Galen Nichols

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. Collector Level + Community Supported Art (CSA) Program $1,000 ($85 a month option) · · · · ·

2 original and quality pieces of art by Oklahoma artists 2 tickets to CSA Launch Events twice a year 2 tickets to 12x12 Art Fundraiser $400 of this membership is tax deductible All of below

PATRON $250 · · · · ·

Listing of self or business on signage at events Invitation for 2 people to private reception with visiting curator 2 tickets each to Momentum OKC & Momentum Tulsa $200 of this membership is tax deductible. All of below

FELLOW $150 · · · · ·

Acknowledgement in Resource Guide and Art Focus Oklahoma Copy of each OVAC exhibition catalog 2 tickets to Tulsa Art Studio Tour $100 of this membership is tax deductible. All of below


· Same benefits as Individual, for 2 people in household

INDIVIDUAL $45 · · · · ·

Subscription to Art Focus Oklahoma magazine Monthly e-newsletter of Oklahoma art events & artist opportunities Receive all OVAC mailings Listing in and copy of annual Resource Guide & Member Directory Invitation to Annual Members’ Meeting

Plus, artists receive: · Inclusion in online Artist Gallery, · Artist entry fees waived for OVAC exhibitions · Up to 50% discount on Artist Survival Kit workshops · Affiliate benefits with Fractured Atlas, Artist INC Online, Artwork Archive, and the National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture.


· Same benefits as Individual level. All Student members are automatically enrolled in Green Membership program (receive all benefits digitally).


Mary Nickell Dustin Oswald, Bombs Away / Dorshak Block Rickey Paape Karen Paul Harold Porterfield Katie Prior Erin Rappleye Gabriel Rojas Erin Schalk L.A. Scott Byron Shen Silver Sandy Sliger Cheryl J Smith Diana J. Smith Sandy and Bob Sober

Douglas Sorocco, Dunlap Codding Anne Spoon Marina Staubus Jo Sullivan Roger Tice Steve Tomlin Mai Pa Chee Vang Cecilia Villalobos Larry Waid Samuel Wargin Katheryn Woodard Janice Yeary Reginna Zhidov

MEMBER FORM ¨ Collector Level + Community Supported Art Program ¨ Patron ¨ Fellow ¨ Family ¨ Individual ¨ Student ¨ Optional: Make my membership green! Email only. No printed materials will be mailed. Name Street Address City, State, Zip Email Website


Credit card #

Exp. Date

Are you an artist? Y N Medium?________________________ Would you like to be included in the Membership Directory? Y N

Would you like us to share your information for other arts-related events?



Detach and mail form along with payment to: OVAC 730 W. Wilshire Blvd, Ste 104, Oklahoma City, OK 73116 Or join online at

Tor i i K i yot a d a VII (Ja p a n e s e, 1875 –1941) . A n a c tor por tray ing Da n sh i c i Ku robei i n th e pl ay ‘ Natsu m atsu r i ’ , O c tob e r 19 40. Wood b l oc k p r i n t . O k l a h oma C i t y M u s e u m of Ar t . Gi f t of Mr. a nd Mr s. Al b e r t J. K i r k p at r i c k , 1969.0 8 0.

Ralph Gibson (American, b. 1939). Untitled (Woman with statue), 1974, printed 1981. Gelatin silver print. Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Gift of Carol and Ray Merritt, 2014.012

Art Focus

Ok l a h o m a

730 W. Wilshire Blvd, Suite 104 Oklahoma City, OK 73116 The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition supports Oklahoma’s visual arts and artists and their power to enrich communities.

Annual Subscriptions to Art Focus Oklahoma are free with OVAC membership.

Visit to learn more.

Calendar updates for the back Jan 15:

OVAC Quarterly Grants for Artists Deadline

Jan 20:

24 Works on Paper opens in Pawhuska

Jan 20:

Momentum OKC survey applications due

Feb 28:

Momentum Ada survey applications due

Mar 4:

Non Profit Org. US POSTAGE PAID Oklahoma City, OK Permit No. 113

24 Works on Paper opens in Lawton

Mar 24-25: Momentum OKC

“cyclists at smitHson’s spiral Jetty”

“main and nortH cetnral ave, okc”

tommy Ball


carol Beesley

“dialogue witH wHite v”

todd stewart

liBBy williams

“ETA Tulsa” Mary Yang, Libby Williams, Tommy Ball, Tahlia Ball, Jason Lockhart, Grace Grothaus & JP Morrison-Lans Opening: Friday, January 6 | 6:00-10pm


David Crimson Michelle Mikesell Opening: Friday, February 3 | 6:00-10pm

2810 N. Walker Oklahoma City, OK 405.528.6336


Todd Stewart Tom Toperzer Opening: Friday, March 3 | 6:00-10pm


micHelle mikesell

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.