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Embracing Change:

Christian Pitt

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ArtOFocus kl a h o m a Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition P.O. Box 1946 • Oklahoma City, OK 73101 ph: 405.232.6991 • e: director@ovac-ok.org visit our website at: www.ovac-ok.org Executive Director: Julia Kirt director@ovac-ok.org Editor: Kelsey Karper publications@ovac-ok.org Art Director: Anne Richardson anne@speccreative.com Art Focus Oklahoma is a bimonthly publication of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition dedicated to stimulating insight into and providing current information about the visual arts in Oklahoma. Mission: The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition supports visual artists living and working in Oklahoma and promotes public interest and understanding of the arts.

On the Cover: Christian Pitt, Norman, Love Embrace, Endura Metallic Print, 7”x5”

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Paul Mays, Oklahoma City

contents

Clancy, 5 Sue Norman

Momentum

profiles

3 Christian Pitt 5 Sue Clancy

reviews/previews

6 8 10 11

Seven State Biennial

ArtReach Mazen Abufadil Jack Dowd

features

12 Momentum 14 ART 365: Ashley Griffith 16 Tulsa Public Art member agency

business of art

18 Rejected? Don’t Feel Dejected

This program is supported in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council

19 New & Renewing Members 20 Round UP 20 At a Glance 22

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OVAC news

gallery guide

OVAC welcomes article submissions related to artists and art in Oklahoma. Call or email the editor for guidelines. OVAC welcomes your comments. Letters addressed to Art Focus Oklahoma are considered for publication unless otherwise specified. Mail or email comments to the editor at the address above. Letters may be edited for clarity or space reasons. Anonymous letters will not be published. Please include a phone number. Art Focus Committee: Janice McCormick, Bixby; Sue Clancy, Norman; Michael Hoffner, Stephen Kovash, Cindy Miller, Debbie Nauser, Roger Runge and Sue Moss Sullivan, Oklahoma City. OVAC Board of Directors 2007-2008: Kathleen Rivers, Ada; Richard Pearson, Rick Vermillion, Edmond; Jonathan Hils, Norman; Skip Hill, Stephen Kovash (Vice President), Suzanne Mitchell, John Seward, Carl Shortt, Suzanne Thomas, Lila Todd, Sydney Bright Warren, Elia Woods (Secretary), Oklahoma City; Joellen Frisillo, Pam Hodges, PhD (President), Sand Springs; Cathy Deuschle, Elizabeth Downing, Jean Ann Fausser (Treasurer), RC Morrison, Tulsa; Eunkyung Jeong, Weatherford 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 National Association of Artists’ Organizations. © 2008, Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. All rights reserved.


profile

Christian Pitt, Norman They Saw Her From the Window of the Train Endura Metallic Print, 5”x7”

Christian Pitt by Lori Oden

Whether we like it or not, we all have to adapt. Some of us are just better at it than others. Christian Pitt said of her childhood, “I was born and raised by well-grounded hippies who taught me to question authority and who embraced change as a lifestyle.” She attended eight different grade schools and lived in three different states. Her parents settled in Oklahoma City, where she was born, and she finished her education in Catholic schools. Encouraged to pursue any life path, Pitt was compelled to study fine art. She studied at Kansas City Art Institute, University of Central Oklahoma, the College of Santa Fe, and then received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1992. During her college career she studied abstract expressionistic painting, photography and drawing, as well as art history. After a devastating fire in 1996 that destroyed her house and all of her art work up to that point, Pitt no longer paints or draws. Pitt is married and has a daughter. One of her first purchases after the fire was a digital camera. She has collected and makes handmade toys and dolls since then as well. In her artist statement she wrote, “I made toys as a

child to entertain my younger brother when we didn’t have a television. We would create elaborate sets with puppets and all our toys, and make anyone sit and watch us perform and work out all the drama. After I had my daughter, I realized the importance of the human necessity to express through play, and the concept of the monster dioramas became clear.” These two paths merged into her current artistic vision. Dessert and Disease, a series of colorful scenes, portrays a seemingly perfect couple lying and walking through a field of yellow, wirepoked flowers with a pretty sky background. A young boy appears, then a fuzzy black and striped monster. Oddly, the dolls and monsters have only one expression throughout the series. It is Pitt’s mastery of the camera and stage set-up that make the images and series’ so moving. Angle and depth-of-field play a starring role in bringing the story and emotions so close to real life. As Dessert and Disease continues, the monster and the girl dance and kiss and eventually he whisks her away. It begs the question, “Who is the monster here?” The young, pretty girl

ditches her boyfriend for a fantasy adventure with unknown character. Pitt said, “I like to imagine what could be done, what would be done, if people had the ability to act in the way they truly wish to: to the imagined life. These monsters can do anything in this life, especially if you make them.” We can live vicariously through them. Is that what is so attractive about Pitt’s images and stories: the fact that some of us would like to leave our comfortable world, to do something different, such as dance and fall in love on a whim, would it just be too crazy? Monsters on the Town is a variety of images with different monsters and dolls positioned in front of scenes torn from the pages of magazines. A doll with a strange orange head wrap approaches a singular man reading a newspaper. Her overbearing personality bombards this quiet, respectable scene. A foremost influence in Pitt’s life, and in her current work, was her maternal grandfather. He was a professional magician and an avid toy collector. Pitt would participate in his magic shows as a child; she leapt out of a lifesized doll house, levitated, and had her hand magically removed and head chopped off. continued page 4

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(clockwise from top) Christian Pitt, Norman, Watch It or You’ll Fall, Endura Metallic Print, 7”x5” Christian Pitt, Norman, Hey, Newspaper Man, Endura Metallic Print, 5”x7”

continued from page 3 Another current series is Little Devils or Beelzebuddies. Pitt said, “Specifically, the Little Devils started as a series in response to my opinions about the election of George Bush to U.S. presidency in 2004. The group of 30 Little Devils, the ‘George Bush’ edition, sold so quickly that I thought it was a good idea to explore the idea of creating monsters for sale.” Beelzebuddies has now evolved into dust sprites inspired from Japanese folklore. According to Pitt, the dust sprites are, “the little things that swoosh by your feet when you first walk into a darkened room. Adding to that, the Beelzebuddies hide your keys from you under the blankets in your bed, or leave the milk out at night when you could have sworn that you put it back. And, none of them have bums.” Most of Pitt’s monsters are made with felt, fabric, wire, wool, paper, and other vintage and new craft materials. She adds needle felted accents and plastic or glass eyes for detail, and does not use glue of any kind to adhere the details. Christian Pitt is also the Managing Director and Curator at MAINSITE Contemporary Art in Norman, Oklahoma. She is active in the art community in Norman and Oklahoma City. Her work has been accepted into art galleries nationally, she designs and maintains websites, and does freelance photography for publications and bands. Pitt’s work can be seen on www.monstercoop.com or at her next exhibition in 2008 at Whittier Gallery at Friends University in Kansas.  About the Author: Lori Oden is photographer who specializes in nineteenth century processes, an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City University and the Executive Director for the Paseo Artists Association.

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Christian Pitt, Norman, Candlewalking, Endura Metallic Print, 5”x7”


profile

Sue Clancy by Grant Lacquement

This is what I know about Sue Clancy: she is a dedicated student of humanity, a people watcher, a coffee shop hang out. She is also a very kind observer, always noticing the best in what she sees. She also loves books, both the material craft of books and the thoughts and ideas they share. Her art is a visual marriage of her love for people and the conceptual life of the mind, joined by her ever present humor. Her art is occupied with coffee, mice, cats, droopy dogs, ladies with incredibly over-sized hair, beer and wine. These actors play out the everyday dramas of life, the gentile pleasures and humor of these moments. Clancy works seriously in a large arena of artistic endeavor: acrylic paint, printmaking, paper art, collage, bookmaking, as a cartoonist and a journalist. She also does a great deal of writing about the business of art, including contributions to Art Focus Oklahoma. Much of Clancy’s work involves a conceptual joke, playing on words in an everyday phrase or changing the meaning of a common phrase. For example, Dude Descending a Staircase is a play on Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. Sue has difficulty hearing, even with hearing aids, and often the ideas for her work come from what she thought she has heard, rather than what people have actually said. The Dude came from a lecture she was attending, and at first she misunderstood what was said. From an aesthetic point of view, this painting-collage is a radical turn away from the hipster, slick, style conscious side of art. And why not? You can’t out Duchamp, Duchamp. There is no pretence in the work, but rather a humorous acceptance of the way things typically are. On the level of process, Clancy’s work typically consists of acrylic paint, ink and paper collage on a panel. She often makes paper specifically for a project; she will then print on the paper, or marbleize it to harmonize with her larger aesthetic goals. The level of her craft is masterful and impeccable; you get the sense that she has a great deal of fun as she works. The unique beauty of Sue’s paper work reaches its highest development in her bookmaking. She often makes the paper for her books, incorporating the three dimensional pop-ups these books often include as part of the paper making process. For example, the book Linens and Things On-line opens with a house and a pop-out fence. Coptic bound, you open the book fully, until it forms a circle. The pages reveal a clothesline running through them, with clothes hanging in the wind, between the pages. The paper is all handmade, hand marbled, hand bound and masterfully done. Her humor is present too: Linens and things on-line. Do you get your linens on-line? A clever play on words. Some books are modifications of found objects. One of my favorites is Erosion. This book started out as a geology textbook. She cut out an amoeba shaped hole from each page so that as you flip through it the hole grows larger and larger. It is a powerful way of explaining this word while being clever at the same time. For me, Clancy’s most endearing work is her journaling. It uses all of her conceptual and artistic talents to their best effect. She recently showed parts of a new journal at the Invited Artist’s Gallery in the

Sue Clancy, Norman, Dude Descending a Staircase, Dyed paper, Printed paper, Found paper, Ink and Acrylic on Cradled Board, 36”x24”

Oklahoma City Underground. The journal is a memoir of her recent vacation to the Pacific Northwest. I was lucky enough to have Sue and her traveling companion, Judy Sullens, share the experience of their trip with me as I leafed through this journal. Much of their trip followed a process they have developed to start conversations with people along the way. The process starts by finding what I call a real place. It’s easier to define a real place by what it is not: not corporate, no pre-fab food, not sterile, bland sameness. The next step is to place an order and then out comes Clancy’s pen and journal. She first makes a drawing of her meal. As she rests into the after-meal coffee, she draws any interesting people close at hand. This is where the conversations begin. It’s very flattering to have someone focus that amount of attention on you while making a drawing. People respond to that along with Clancy’s bubbly friendliness and they are off on the start of a lively conversation. All of that pleasure comes through her journals and I find them very appealing. Sue Clancy is a long time resident of Norman Oklahoma. She received a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art from the University of Oklahoma. Her work is held in numerous collections and museums. About the Author: Grant is a painter and photographer and also designs and builds furniture. He can be reached at lintegritas@gmail.com

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Seven State Biennial by Kelsey Karper The Seven State Biennial is an exhibition featuring artists living in Oklahoma or any of the six surrounding states. The exhibition opened at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha in November. Curated by Oklahoma artist Paul Medina, the Seven State included works by thirty-two artists with an emphasis on mixed media and technical excellence. Medina, known himself for his creative use of materials and combinations of artistic media, has an obvious affinity for and understanding of the mixed media process. In his statement, Medina said, “I’m personally drawn to non-traditional works of art, whether it is contemporary or possesses a naivety of outsider art. An emotional response is imperative. It must strike a chord of some resonance in me that is personal and tells me something about the artist. I enjoy concept driven works of art.” Kathryn Kelley, a Houston artist, won the top prize of the exhibition with a piece called The Shadowlands. Constructed of tar, nails, shredded tires and rope, it created a heavy, brooding presence in the gallery. The large work became a sort of recycled landscape that reached beyond the edges of the piece, the tattered rubber tires clawing their way towards the wall. More than half of the selected artists are Oklahomans. Katherine Liontas-Warren, a Lawton artist and teacher at Cameron University, submitted a brightly colored, deftly handled pastel on paper titled A Regional Search. In it, a lifelike bird perches atop a technicolor landscape, seeking out the next place to land. The combination of real and surreal in this drawing is alluring. Two pieces from Bethany artist Sunni Mercer continued the subject of birds with one wall piece, Release, and one sculpture, Sunshine. Using found materials, Mercer creates pleasing compositions that seem to have layers of meaning woven in amongst the visual layers. Release shows three sculptural birds ascending through the center of the work, surrounded by a collage of an old black-and-white family photo beneath a mosaic of clear, cracked glass. The birds seem to be breaking away from the canvas, perhaps fleeing from a memory of the past. Several artists contributed large-scale, highly skilled oil paintings on canvas. A painting by George Oswalt, an Oklahoma City artist, called Sleepwalkers gives the feeling of a film still, a glimpse pulled from the middle of the story. Two nude sleep-walking women are headed directly toward the viewer while a young boy in swimming shorts and goggles stares blankly into a bright light. Ada artist Kate Rivers creates a collage effect in oil with a display of politically charged images in her painting Patriot. Capturing the depth and breadth of the region’s artists is no easy feat but the Seven State Biennial makes a valiant attempt. Although the exhibition has closed at USAO, it will be exhibited at the Leslie Powell Foundation and Gallery in Lawton, with an opening reception on January 12 from 7-9 pm. The Leslie Powell Gallery is located at 620 SW D Ave. For more information, visit www.lpgallery.org or call 580-357-9526.  (top) George Oswalt, Oklahoma City, Sleep Walkers, Oil, 54” x 54” (bottom) Sunni Mercer, Bethany, Sunshine, Mixed Media, 16”x10”x6”

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About the Author: Kelsey Karper is the Editor of Art Focus Oklahoma and a photographer working in historic and alternative processes. She can be reached at publications@ovac-ok.org.


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(left) Katherine Liontas-Warren, Lawton, A Regional Search, Pastel, 30�x44� (right) Kathryn Kelley, Houston, TX, (foreground) I Hate The Idea of Surrender, Mixed Media Installation, (background) The Shadowlands, Tar, Nails, Tires, Rope

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ArtReach for the

Young at (he)Art by Barbara Eikner

Watching young people in the ArtReach program at the Philbrook Museum of Art working on clay sculptures, still life charcoals and large format paintings, it is easy to envision a future Picasso, Aaron Douglas or Charles Banks Wilson. The scene brought back a line from an old song: “fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you, if you’re young at heart.” ArtReach is the new name for the Urban Fine Arts Outreach (UFO), the after-school program at the Philbrook Museum of Art. The name was changed to embrace a new focus and direction of the program which includes the establishment of a new multiple-visit, in-school program. Not only does ArtReach provide art education and instruction at eighteen schools with an after-school program, but this program now provides onsite visits to third grade classrooms in a new “Spot’s Suitcase” in-school program, reaching an estimated 1000 students and 50 third grade teachers at additional Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) elementary schools. The four primary goals of the ArtReach Program are: To increase ArtReach participants’ understanding of and appreciation for visual art. To encourage ArtReach participants to become life-long learners in the arts and frequent museum visitors, thus fulfilling Philbrooks goal of building diverse new audiences. To increase ArtReach students’ creative and critical thinking skills, discipline, concentration and problem solving abilities.

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To increase classroom school teachers’ ability to advocate for the role of art as an integral part of school curriculum. The ArtReach program is fully funded by Philbrook; there is no expense to the students, parents or schools. Funding is received from various sources, including individual donors, local foundations, corporate grants and museum special events. ArtReach is considered a core part of the Philbrook Education Program and is one of the largest in terms of number of participants.

students to the museum galleries where the group explores the concepts while viewing original works of art. They then return to the studios so the students can create their own artwork. This ensures that there is increased opportunity for collaboration, creation of new ideas and open discussion for direction and positive results from each work session.

Six teaching artists and six teaching assistants work directly with the ArtReach after-school program. Two classroom teachers attend with each group of students in the afterschool program and Philbrook provides these classroom teachers with a stipend for their participation in the program. Twenty students per grade attend from each school and the students are provided a low adult-to-student ratio: a teaching artist, teaching assistant and two classroom teachers for each group of twenty students.

Authentic measurements of success are utilized to evaluate the ArtReach Program. To measure the student’s understanding of the learning objectives, students participate in individual pre-and post-assessments using the manipulation of visual art materials. Comprehension of the learning objectives, respect for their own artwork and the work of others, familiarity and ‘ownership’ of the museum, improved group and self respect are just a few of the values the students learn from attending the ArtReach Program. Once a student graduates from the ArtReach program, he or she has received over 36 hours of art and museum education and is on the journey to appreciating art and becoming a regular visitor of the museum.

For the ArtReach after-school program, the Philbrook Education Department determines learning objectives for each grade level and the teaching artists develop their own lesson plans to support these objectives, rather than being required to use a standard lesson plan and project. The projects play upon the strengths and passions of the teaching artists and are tailored for each group of students. The resulting artwork created by the students is diverse in concept, technique and media, while reflecting the learning objectives. During each class day, the teaching artists introduce the learning objectives, lead the

2007 was the pilot year for the ArtReach multiple-visit “In-School Program” for third graders, with the theme of ‘Spot’s Suitcase: Discovering Stories from Around the World’. The program encompassed a pre-visit by a Philbrook teaching artist to each third grade classroom at the schools, a museum visit for each class and accompanying classroom teachers with a specially developed tour and activities, and a post-visit and art project led by a teaching artist back in the thirdgrade classrooms. The Philbrook teaching artists will delve into basic art education and instruction to discover ways that art can tell a


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story and become a window to explore varying cultures. While the ArtReach programs are offered to TPS elementary students, there are many other excellent programs available to the general public. Let Philbrook be the destination for you and your family, youth group, Sunday School Class, Scout Troop, Girl Scout Troop, Dance Class, Soccer Team, Football Team, Cheer Leader Squad, Choir and all other groups of young people. The best art education is when it starts, while you are young at heart. Susan Green is the Museum Educator and ArtReach Project Director. To find out more about the program, visit www.philbrook.org. ‘Then here is the best part, you have a head start if you are among the very young at heart’  About the Author: Barbara L. Eikner is owner of Trabar & Associates, which provides artists with PR and management services.  A member of TAC, OVAC, Philbrook, Gilcrease and Community Artists Collective of Houston, she can be reached at Trabar@valornet.com

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Boxed in and Ambivalent by Janice McCormick Artifacts: Work by Mazen Abufadil at Apertures Gallery in Tulsa this past autumn addresses his efforts to juggle work, family and creativity. Viewing this exhibit is like walking around in a crowd of people, hearing just enough of snatches of conversation as to get the drift of their lives, without getting the whole picture – a picture that is at once familiar and enigmatic. The exhibit begins with a series of traditional black and white photographs that are extremely ambiguous in terms of content and your emotional reaction to them. Funk, for example, presents the viewer with an endless, unidentifiable expanse of stippled markings so subtle as to hardly break the monotony. Yet there is a golden glow to it that belies its title. Thus, the very first photograph you encounter causes you to wonder what it is all about, though the dark undercurrent is established. In Gourd, the harsh light raking across the bleached gourd-turned-birdhouse coupled with the black hole of the entry hardly signifies a welcoming nest. Most representative of this dark moodiness is Leaf where all you see at first glance is a vertical, rectangular shaft of very dark grey. The glare of the gallery lights reflecting off the glossy paper forces you to peer at it from slightly different angles in order the catch a glimpse of something - anything. Then, at last, you discern a slightly less grey shape of an oak leaf trapped at the bottom of this dark abyss - almost ghost-like. So that is what despair looks like! In contrast, Teta’s Hands and Mine provides a more uplifting perspective, though one grounded in the gritty reality of hard work and dedication. It depicts a well-worn rolling pin; its loop of cloth at one end from which it hung lies tattered and frayed. Clearly, it is a symbolic portrait of his grandmother as a dedicated, hard-working nurturer. And, as the title indicates, he also sees the rolling pin as symbolic of himself taking on the same role. Furthermore, he places the rolling pin on a sharp diagonal with one handle jutting out

so that the viewer can imaginatively grasp it. Thus, Abufadil invites the viewer to become nurturing as well. The next series of works are eight poster-size photographs that make use of an unorthodox technique in shooting the image. They capture the struggle to be creative given the demands of family life. Using a medium format camera loaded with two strips of 35mm film placed side-by-side, the photographer creates a layered image: the subject that the camera is aimed at as well as the film strips themselves, as evidenced by the frame numbers, film type, ASA numbers and sprocket holes. Not only do these film strips make us aware of the photograph as photograph, they also draw attention away from the very image they capture and towards the process of creating them! And what is captured? The sometimes blurry, often fragmented, remnants of such domestic chores as doing laundry and taking care of a child: a stack of plastic hangers (Hangers), a pair of pants on a hanger (Number 1), a child’s soiled undergarment (Wet), and a rubber ducky in a bathtub (Yellow Ducky and Blue). The process appears to be a fleeting, “grab the image while you can” sort of creative struggle. Obviously, there is a rueful, tongue in cheek quality to these images. After all, he knows he is being creative, just not perhaps as he had once imagined when he took up the camera for the first time. The third series of the exhibit is made up of two series of delicate photo-frescos: color photographs printed on a thin layer of plaster covering a sheet of heavy paper. Fastened by clothes pins, these frescoes hang from a clothesline. All but one of the frescoes hang vertically, the one exception is

Mazen Abufadil, Tulsa, Number 1, Photograph, 16” x 20”

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Masako - an image of his wife. This horizontal piece captures her while she sleeps, dressed in a floral print shift and lying on a light green and white flowered sheet. The colors are soft and faded due to over-exposure. The image of the figure consists of two frames so that she is fragmented at the waist. At both ends of this figure as well as above her head and torso are blocks of solid gray, boxing her in. By pairing this image of his wife with a self-portrait also boxed in by gray blocks, he suggests a sense of “we are in this life situation together.” All in all, Artifacts: Work by Mazen Abufadil captures the complexity and ambivalence of a photographer seeking to balance work, family and his art. He succeeds masterfully.  About the Author: Janice McCormick is an art reviewer who has been writing about art in Tulsa and Oklahoma since 1990. Currently she teaches philosophy part-time at Tulsa Community College. She can be reached at artreview@olp.net.


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Extraordinary is Sometimes Ordinary by Anne Allbright

From September through November 2007, the Charles B. Goddard Center for the Performing Arts in Ardmore, Oklahoma held an exhibition highlighting the work of Florida based sculptor Jack Dowd. On a beautiful fall morning, I made the drive down to Ardmore to see what all the fuss was about. I must confess to harboring a number of preconceived notions after viewing the artist’s website portfolio. However, I learned rather quickly that it’s one thing to see a sculpture on a website, but something entirely different to witness it firsthand. The Internet, for all its technological innovations, just can’t reproduce the physical presence of a piece of well-crafted sculpture. Dowd’s work showcases a hodge-podge of sculpted Americana, heavy on humor and without the grim overtones plaguing the work of many well-meaning artists. Upon entering the exhibit, I was greeted by a life-size redneck fisherman, complete with half of an F-150 Ford Truck and accompanying Confederate flag. It definitely made for a peculiar introduction. The man in Southern Exposure seemed ridiculous yet completely realistic, which I think may have been the point of the piece. Several similarly detailed sculptures followed, including a flamboyantly dressed cowboy and a psychedelic guitar-wielding angel. Undoubtedly, the highlight of the show was Dowd’s tribute to Andy Warhol, Andy Warhol Twenty Times. The sheer size and uniformity of the work was impressive to say the least. Twenty life-size models of Andy Warhol stand with arms crossed in varying shades of red, blue, green, yellow, and purple. The piece took up an entire room and certainly would have made the king of pop art proud. When viewing many of the sculptures, I often felt as if I was peering at a reflection of myself, with both the good and bad traits staring back in equal measure. The folks celebrated in Dowd’s work could very easily be one of your neighbors, if your neighbors were a beer-swilling biker or a high-flying teenage skateboarder. I found myself wondering if once the lights were turned off at the exhibit and the doors locked for the night, what kind of conversation the various sculptures might have with one another. With such an interesting cross-section of American society present, surely there would be some lively discussion. Thankfully, Jack Dowd’s artwork makes the viewer part of that discussion. 

Jack Dowd, Sarasota, FL, Andy Warhol Twenty Times, Gypsum Jack Dowd, Sarasota, FL, Southern Exposure, Gypsum & Filleted Truck

About the Author: Anne Allbright is an instructor of history at the University of Central Oklahoma where she researches and writes about the American West. She can be reached at anneallbright@yahoo.com.

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G a i n i ng

Momentum Imagine you have called in every favor you could. You have borrowed a building (yes, a whole building), recruited every friend to help, handed out fliers to thousands, hung hundreds of posters, painted your own billboard, asked artists to show their work in an unproven venue, convinced your Board of Directors to support something totally new, and asked bands to play for free. It is January 2002. You are wondering if you have lost your mind. When the doors open at 8 pm, people begin pouring in. There is a line of people waiting to purchase tickets—people of all ages who you have never seen before! A round metal sculpture, Loki Ball by Chris Wollard, is rolling randomly to crush pottery figurines cheered on by the crowd. Music is playing to a packed room upstairs. Video installations enliven the middle gallery. Spectators gather around a woman, Kory Twaddle, lying in a child’s pool full of milk with a table of cookies nearby. Michael Wilson, dressed to look nude, is drawing clothed “models” from the crowd.

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by Julia Kirt

Every nook of the space has visual art made by young artists—photography, sculpture, paintings, prints, and mixed media creations. Young artists show their work to parents, friends, and other viewers. Audience members of all ages discuss the artwork and move between gallery spaces. You are unbelievably happy. You are a committee of 12 people and staff of two who have never worked together before and you have just kicked off an event called Momentum. Are there young artists making work in Oklahoma? Do they show their artwork somewhere we don’t know about? Are they getting connected and started in their careers? Do they know each other? Are art students staying in state or leaving after graduation? These are some of the questions that drove us to pull together a committee with the charge of creating an event to reach young artists. In terms of participation in OVAC’s programs, there was a significant lag between when artists got out of school and started getting involved in the arts community. I

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2004

Curators: Nikki Williams and Debby Williams Location: Stage Center Awards: Merit- Scott Cowan, Jason Memoli, Chris Wollard Honorable Mention: Alyson Atchison, Matt Glaznor, Diedre Lee, Brian Ward Attendance: 450

Co-Chairs: Carissa Bish & Alyson Atchison Curator: Janice Seline Location: Stage Center Best in Show Award: Ernesto Sanchez Villarreal Awards of Merit: Hiroteru Matsuda, Chris Small, Chris Wollard Attendance: 704

OKC Co-Chairs: Trent Lawson & Carissa Bish Curators: Sue Clancy (Visual Art), Heidi Mau (Media arts, performance) Location: Farmer’s Market Juror’s Award: Justin Irvin Awards of Merit: Elise Derringer, Nick Bayer, Shogo Viewers’ Choice: Anna Small Attendance: 805

received calls regularly from people who had been painting or sculpting for years, never exhibiting or selling, just piling artwork up in their closets. They would call, ready to quit their jobs to start making art. The OVAC Board agreed we needed to take action to involve younger people. Led by Board President Jacqueline Zanoni de los Santos, the Board was enthusiastic to undertake this new adventure. To kick off this project, Stephanie Ruggles Winter, OVAC’s Program Assistant, and I invited every young artist we knew in the OKC area—be they Stephanie’s old classmates or people I had seen exhibiting artwork around town—to a meeting to dream what could be done. We wanted to create something to fill a need and build energy. The first meeting was a leap of faith as we gathered these 20 folks around the table and said, “What should we do?” The only real parameters were that the program needed to involve and support young artists and that it couldn’t cost much, since we had no budget for something new.

2005 Tulsa Co-Chairs: Steve Cluck and Andrew Storie Curator: Dr. Michaela Merryday Location: Mathews Warehouse Best in Show Award: Sharon McCoy Awards of Merit: Elise Derringer, Kelly Foshee Viewers’ Choice: Andrew Storie Attendance: 311

OKC Co-Chairs: Trent Lawson & Robin Chase Curators: Dustin Hamby, Troy Wilson Location: 1100 N Broadway Best in Show Award: Billy Reid Awards of Merit: Ruth Ann Borum, Amanda Hagy, Scott Henderson, Elise Derringer, Jennifer Glenn Viewers’ Choice: Matt Wiens Attendance: 1,100


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O At the first meeting, the discussion was wideranging. Those around the table talked about their own frustrations in their art careers. They too wondered who else was out there making artwork. They cited great passion for Oklahoma and a desire for more interaction and opportunities for young artists. We decided we needed to showcase younger artists and make it an event unlike traditional art receptions. We sought to simultaneously reach new artists and new audiences. Inspired by an event I attended in Los Angeles that included visual artwork, unusual music and performances in a warehouse space, we defined the new thing as a multidisciplinary event. Knowing that we needed to clearly communicate who the event was trying to reach, we defined an age limit—less than 30 years old (later changed to 30 and under). By setting a specific age, we avoided confusion of what explains an “emerging” artist for this event. Naming the event took an entire meeting. We wanted to convey the mission. Amir Alavi suggested “Momentum” early in the evening,

but we discussed names for several more hours before agreeing that it was the perfect name to encapsulate what we hoped to start. The instigation of Momentum was quite similar to creating art. It was a risk and negotiation of a big idea. It was a dream of something that could be, that could affect people. It worked out, exceedingly well. Momentum has since grown to festival-like proportions. Since Momentum was founded in OKC in 2002, audiences have grown 400% to over 2,200 in 2006 and 1,100 in 2007 amidst an ice storm. Momentum Tulsa was instigated in 2004 and has grown 25% annually. Art submissions are off the charts—311 artists submitted to the two shows in 2007. Our first artist awards were gift certificates to restaurants and exhibitions at Stage Center Theatre. This year OKC’s top prize will be a five day trip to Paris!

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audiences have attended art events. New leaders have emerged. We continue to build the event, trying to grow art sales as well as encourage artists to attempt more ambitious projects. Now, we just wonder… what will emerge next?  First Committee Members: Amir Alavi, Alyson Atchison, Estrella Evans, Vanessa Gregg, Shaunda Hooker, Deidre Lee, Andrea Martin, Molly O’Connor, Suzette Roesch, Nikki Williams, Chris Wollard, Staff: Julia Kirt, Stephanie Ruggles Winter, Board President: Jacqueline Zanoni de los Santos About the Author: Julia Kirt has served as Executive Director of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition since 1999.

Besides the numbers, the event has accomplished just what we hoped—created momentum. Young artists have had their work exhibited and awarded for the first time. New

2006 Tulsa Co-Chairs: Steve Cluck & Jeff Snodgrass Curator: Bryce Brimmer and Sarah (Williams) Hearn Location: Former Luby’s, 115 E 15th St Curator’s Choice: Carrie Fudickar, Warren Corlett Awards of Merit: Trent Lawson, Libby Russell Viewers’ Choice: Joe Neal Attendance: 390

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OKC Co-Chairs: Trent Lawson & Kolbe Roper Curators:Steve Liggett, Dr. Susan Caldwell Location: 111 N. Harrison Best in Show: Alejandro Bagajewicz Awards of Merit: Warren Corlett, Brent Goddard, Carrie Fudickar, May Yang Honorable Mentions: Brent Goddard, Ann-Maree Walker, Carlie Bently, Cameron Meyer Viewers’ Choice: Robert Wood Attendance: 2,200

2007 Tulsa Co-Chairs: Jeff Snodgrass and Beth Downing Curators: Joe Daun and EK Jeong Location: Mathews Warehouse Best in Show: Russell Bellamy Curator’s Choice: Chris Gonzalez, Nathan Opp Honorable Mention: John Whipple, Nicole Rule Viewers’ Choice: Granger Brown Attendance: 485

OKC Co-Chairs: Jennifer Barron & Christian Trimble Curators: Bert Seabourn and Christian Pitt Location: Downtown Airpark Best in Show: Chris Gonzalez Awards of Merit: Geoffrey Hicks, Mariah Johnson, Kristen Vails, Jaclyn Miller, Honorable Mention: Amanda Weathers-Bradway, Aaron Peterman, Alejandro Bagajewicz, Adam Mulder Viewers’ Choice: Mariah Johnson and Leslie Hensley Attendance: 1,100

Tulsa Chair: Elizabeth Downing Curators: Glenn Herbert Davis and Alison Carter Location: Living Arts and Liggett Studios Curator’s Choice: Dave McPherson Awards of Merit: Ja’Nice Mitchell, Heidi Goodloe, Geoffrey Hicks Honorable Mention: Aaron Peterman Viewer’s Choice: Rachel Clare Attendance: 640

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SPECIAL SERIES:

ART 365

Article 4 of a six part series highlighting one of the six artists selected for Art 365

Artist Ashley Griffith by Stephen Kovash When I see Oklahoma City artist Ashley Griffith’s Recycled artwork, I am reminded of some of the experimental film work done in the late 1960s. In those pieces, the filmmakers would splice together seemingly disparate images like butterflies, brief nudity, the carnage of the Vietnam War, puppies, Nixon, newborn infants, and images of pollution and other corporate greed. Usually set to some counterculture music like the Beatle’s “A Day in the Life,” or Mason Williams “A Classical Gas,” the totality of the visual effect was captivating and usually disturbing. Griffith is the owner of one of the Paseo’s jewels, the AKA Gallery, which hosts showings of emerging artists EVERY month, performing arts productions as well as Griffith’s work and her working studio. For the past two years, Griffith has been working on her Recycled series which uses deceptively kitschy images combined with more challenging and politically charged images to create a “slide show” that describes important issues and tells a story. The photos, displayed in recycled CD cases are assembled in large grids to allow the viewer to create their own mental slide show. The images portray social issues in American past and present, but at the same time prompt the viewer to consider the humor and irony of religion, apathy toward the environment and the injustices of war. Griffith’s Art 365 project will be a direct extension from the “recycled” work. Art 365 is a new exhibition created by the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition to give Oklahoma artists an opportunity to create innovative artwork in collaboration with a national curator. The selected six artists will each receive a $10,000 honorarium. The guest curator chosen for the exhibition is Diane Barber. Barber serves as Co-Executive Ashley Griffith, Oklahoma City, Oil Wars... Blah, Blah, Photography, 5”x28”

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Director and Visual Arts Director of DiverseWorks in Houston. She is responsible for developing and implementing the organization’s visual arts, curating exhibitions and organizing educational projects. DiverseWorks houses two on-site galleries featuring a combined fourteen to sixteen exhibitions a year. Reviewing the proposals, Barber found many artists defining and exploring American identity, whether they named it literally or not. According to Barber, the selected proposals consider aspects of the American identity through icons, introspective explorations, symbolic natural worlds, consumerism and surveillance. Barber has made several studio visits with all the participating artists over the project year. The six selected proposals are from artists Sarah Atlee, Norman; Betsy Barnum, Edmond; Joseph Daun, Oklahoma City; Ashley Griffith, Oklahoma City; Darshan Phillips & Aaron Whisner (collaborative project), Tulsa; and Liz Roth, Stillwater. Their work represents painting, printmaking, mixed media, sculpture and modified technologies. Liz Roth, Sarah Atlee and Betsy Barnum have been profiled in previous editions of Art Focus Oklahoma. (To view past issues, visit the Art Focus archive at www.ovac-ok.org.) The Art 365 will allow Griffith to expand the scope and scale of her work into three large panels. Until now the grids have only been up to 20-x-61 inches. The honorarium will allow the artist the additional resources to expand the body of work into three large panels using CD jewel cases, photographs printed on archival paper, wood, glue, and hanging mounts. Panel one will address the topics of social injustice. The panel will be approximately

8-x-8 feet and will evaluate the topics of war, religion, health care and the environment. Panel two will consist of three 4-x-4 foot panels and will address some of the dark humor that “makes America great,” including road stops, church marquees and small town festivals like “Mud stock” in Sparks, Oklahoma or the Toad Suck Festival in Toad Suck, Arkansas. The third panel will document the artist’s life for 365 days from March 8, 2007 through March 6, 2008. The panel will be approximately four feet high and sixteen feet long which will enable the viewer to walk along the piece in chronological order. Griffith hopes that this piece will give the viewer a sense of her life during the making of this project. To achieve this part of the project, the artist plans on taking a number of photos to document her artistic process, then edit those images down to tell the viewer the story of her life during the year spent on the project. According to Griffith, “The hardest part of this project is trying to narrow down the photo or photos that represent that day or week to the viewer and best gives them a glance into my life during that time. I guess I would say I pick the photos that convey the most comprehensive story about my 365 days.” Like the video montages of the late 1960s, Griffith’s installations can be a lot to absorb. The colors and images are very strong and there are a lot of them. You can view them holistically, but the artist expects that people will soon be drawn into the individual images. As the viewer looks longer at each individual image, “…they begin to grab the viewer more than the whole, and the viewer can lose themselves in the photo and begin to wonder more about the story behind them: Where is it? What is it?” states Griffith.


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Artist A shley G riffith Griffith has found it challenging to work with a curator for the proscribed time. Most artists will work with a curator for a few days at most, so spending a year with someone looking over her shoulder and questioning her decisions made Griffith really think about her work. Per the artist, “Diane has been a great asset to my progress and her advice is helping tremendously to get through this year.” While the Art 365 has been her main focus, she still creates work to show in her gallery, local group shows and she has been doing some design work for The Red Line Foundation. The work by Griffith and the other selected artists will be shown at the Untitled [ArtSpace] at 1 NE 3 in Oklahoma City, March 14-April 26, 2008. The exhibit will then travel to Tulsa and other regional locations. The Art 365 project is funded in part by the Oklahoma Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Oklahoma Arts Council, Allied Arts, Kirkpatrick Foundation, and Jean Ann Fausser.  About the Author: Stephen Kovash owns the Gallery at Urban Art, is an OVAC Board Member and has a day job with the Environmental Protection Agency.  He can be reached at istvanko@cox.net.

Ashley Griffith, Oklahoma City, 66 Jesus, Photography, 22”x19”

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Alexandre Hogue, Tulsa, Hondo Canyon Cliffs

Tulsa Public Art by Gretchen Collins Visitors arriving at Tulsa International Airport (TIA) may notice only the baggage carousels, but TIA is brimming with art inside and out. Next time you’re at the airport, look around. Most of the art is displayed prior to security. It is rich in aviation, oil and Native American history. Thanks to the formation of the TIA Cultural Advisory Group less than two years ago, the art at the airport will continue to evolve. Alexis Higgins, Deputy Director of Marketing says TIA is working to reflect the community so people will recognize they are in Tulsa without having to consult their ticket stub. The Smithsonian Institution Hall of Petroleum Mural is located in the upper level where the rental car companies are officed. At thirteenx-fifty-six feet, it is difficult to miss, and you wouldn’t want to. The work, both painting and installation, depicts 1966 era oil exploration, production and distribution. Twenty-six early Tulsa oilmen are featured including Walter H. Helmerich, II of Helmerich & Payne and John Williams of Williams Pipeline. “Walter Helmerich called his friends,” Higgins says. “Each paid $3,000 a piece to be included in the painting.” Delbert L. Jackson, the artist, was staff illustrator of Pan American Petroleum Corporation and medical staff illustrator for Hillcrest Medical Center. Originally from Nebraska, he studied fine arts at the University of Nebraska and the University of Tulsa. The mural was painstakingly moved to allow space for the new central security area. Oil field fittings are part of the piece. The fittings protected this work, originally displayed at

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the Smithsonian Institution. It was returned to the City of Tulsa in 1997 under the auspices of Gilcrease Museum.

painstakingly documented the 73-piece collection in 1987. The bronze sculpture is a strong presence in the Promenade of the PAC.

Also in this area is the bronze bust of Oklahoma’s favorite son, Will Rogers by Joe Davidson. The reason his nose is shiny? Rubbing it is reputed to be good luck.

Colorful World is a tapestry by Dutch artist Karel Appel. The unrestrained color in this work of silk is arresting. One can’t help but be drawn to it. Hermann notes there are almost 700,000 knots in Colorful World. Appel’s works have been exhibited in the Guggenheim and The Museum of Modern Art.

Outside, in the center arrival area, is the Morning Mission by sculptor Robert Weinman. It represents the 40,000 pilots trained in Tulsa by Spartan Aeronautics during WWII. A new work has been installed in the departures roadway. Tulsa art students from Edison, McCain, Memorial and Rogers High Schools painted the colorful 168-foot mural last summer. Students used 20 colors and 25 gallons of paint to create the cheerful sendoff to travelers. While at TIA, look for the Tulsa Historical Society automobile, Gilcrease artifacts and the Price Tower Arts Center exhibits. Downtown at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center (PAC), there is art both inside and outside of the theatres. The building is a work of art designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki of World Trade Center fame. Thanks to the 1970 Tulsa ordinance that Kathleen P. Westby and Charles Norman pioneered, no less than one percent of new or revised construction must be expended for works of art. The ordinance made the purchase of Barbara Hepworth’s, Seaform (1964), a reality. It has star quality. “She was the first to pierce the form,” according to Nancy Hermann, PAC Marketing Director/Intermission editor-in-chief. Hermann

Also in the Promenade is Joseph Raffael’s watercolor, Dusk at Kodai. Often compared to Monet’s works, upon closer inspection, it is only similar in subject, not in style. The stainless steel Untitled sculpture by David Lee Brown was donated by John Williams. Used as the logo for the PAC, the larger 10-foot version stands outside the entrance. This piece is all about light, and appears to change images when viewed from different perspectives. In the dress circle, or upper lobby of the Third Street entrance, the Untitled sculpture in steel and glass by Stanley Landsman represents a different type of landscape. Hung from the ceiling, the mirrors and lights are pertinent ingredients of this attention grabbing piece. Hondo Canyon Cliffs by Alexandre Hogue, along with the Hepworth sculpture, are the most valuable pieces in the collection. Originally titled Pray For Us, St. Peter, Hogue told Hermann, “Of course it was a facetious title, but there were not enough people with a sense of humor that got it.” He went with the location of the painting instead. Hogue chose the frame to complement the strong, chiseled forms represented in the oil painting.


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The dazzling collection is available for viewing during any performance. Don’t forget the PAC Gallery located at the ticket office level. Exhibitions change monthly. One of the most recent additions to public art in Tulsa is at the Central Center in Centennial Park. Located in the Pearl District, the area at Sixth Street and Peoria Avenue is home to The Village at Central Park - brownstone residences reminiscent of New York City neighborhoods. The historical Fire Alarm Building, an Art Deco treasure, was renovated by the American Lung Association of Oklahoma. To permanently record the newly landscaped jewel on the edge of downtown, artist William Franklin was chosen to paint a mural of it. Franklin is a third-generation Tulsan. In addition to the large painting of the park, he also created four smaller murals in sepia, depicting the Union Depot, the original Art Deco Municipal Airport, early downtown Tulsa and the Perryman house. Other public art includes Artificial Cloud downtown at Union Station, The Appeal to the Great Spirit in Woodward Park and the many penguins, decorated by artists for the Tulsa Zoo. NatureWorks is responsible for the placement of many wildlife sculptures around town, but especially in River Parks. According to Jim Coles, Administrator, Arts Commission of the City of Tulsa, who worked on the Central Center project, “Public art provides a reflection to the residents and visitors as to the many aspects of life that make the community unique.”  William Franklin, Centennial Park 2007, Mural. Photo by Jim Coles.

About the Author: Gretchen Collins has covered the arts in Tulsa for the past 13 years. She is an award-winning writer; including the Society of Professional Journalists award, and was an art major in college.

William Franklin & Kurt Forschen, Tulsa Municipal Airport, Mural. Photo by Jim Coles.

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Rejected? Don’t Feel Dejected! by Sue Clancy, Nathan Lee and Romney Nesbitt “Thank you for your submission, but at this time we are not accepting new artists.” Those words written across the stationery of your dream gallery could be crushing to an artist’s esteem. In the competitive art world, how do artists deal with the rejection that happens along the path to finding their niche? Three art professionals, Sue Clancy, artist, Nathan Lee, artist and Romney Nesbitt, creativity coach, share their advice and experience to help you cross those bumps in the road. How do you handle rejection from a gallery? Sue Clancy: I learned long ago that an artist has to submit material to a variety of juried events and galleries 25 or more (some even say 55) times in order to be accepted by one gallery or event. Any one arts organization or gallery needs to see my name – or any artist’s name- an average of 3 to 9 times before it registers on their radar. Often curators and gallery directors like to see samples of an artist’s work over time to see if it is consistent and if it would be a good match with their interests. None of this means that I flood the market willynilly with my portfolios and other materials. It means that I do my homework and research the various galleries and events attempting to find those that best fit with my style of artwork. Additionally, I’ll research the portfolio format that gallery prefers as well as the time of year that gallery views portfolios. Many galleries review portfolios only at certain times of the year. If I were to submit at the wrong time of year I’d get a categorical rejection without having my work seen. Once I’ve identified a gallery/event that might be a good fit I begin to regularly submit portfolios during the correct time of year. Most galleries operate on a calendar set a year to three years in advance. Experience has taught me that I may be rejected once because my work doesn’t match the specific exhibit for which they are currently planning but if I submit again 6 to 9 months later I may be accepted because my artwork happens to fit within another exhibit being planned. I do not view rejection by a gallery as a permanent referendum on my artwork. It’s simply a matter of persistence, timing and finding a “good fit.”

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Nathan Lee: I just use simple logic. The average artist will be turned down more times than he or she will be accepted. I never take it personally. I chalk it up to their preference and chance. If they seem like they have an interest, I thank them for their feedback and keep them abreast of new material that I make. Romney Nesbitt: A rejection by a gallery is simply a “no, thank you.” A rejection is not a declaration of the value of your work or your value as a human being. Don’t take it personally. There could be any number of reasons why your artwork may not be a fit for a particular gallery. Galleries often specialize in a particular subject matter or painting style. If a gallery is known for carrying impressionistic landscapes, you shouldn’t be surprised if they don’t want your abstracts. Some galleries only promote work by established artists. If you are an emerging artist straight out of graduate school, don’t expect the gallery to roll out the welcome mat. If your artwork looks too much like another artist’s work, there is no reason to add you into the mix. Selling artwork is a business. The owner’s job is to show artwork that will sell to their customers. Do your homework before you walk into a gallery toting a portfolio of originals with your heart on your sleeve. Look around to find a gallery where your art work would complement the work they already show and sell. A “just looking” visit as a potential buyer will also give you a true picture of how staff members treat walk-in customers. As an artist, it’s your job to find the best location for your work. How do you handle rejection of your ideas by your friends or peers? SC: Over the years, I’ve learned to evaluate and carefully select the people to whom I show an “in progress” artwork. If I want to get an honest critique/discussion of one of my current works I now have a select few friends that I can trust. I know that they won’t tell me something simply to be mean or just because they think I want to hear it. I found out the hard way that some people are rejecting simply to be mean or out of jealousy. Others will say they “like it” and blow sunshine just because they want to be liked. Either extreme is not helpful and I’ve learned not to ask

those kinds of people about their opinions. Through trial and error I’ve found my core set of folks that I can depend upon for an honest assessment. Even so I’m careful of what I ask for. I ask specific questions i.e. “is this area too dark” or “do you think this paisley patterned paper is appropriate for an upper class dog’s dress or would this flowered one be better?” If their answer reveals that I haven’t yet conveyed artistically what I mean to say, I do my best to remember that I asked for their opinion and it is not their fault that I may need to do more work and may be frustrated at myself. NL: I usually handle things two ways. I make sure that I am happy with my ideas and I don’t let a rejection get me down. You have to remember that art is so subjective that everyone is going to have an opinion. Just be confident that somewhere there are people that understand your vision and ideas. The second way I handle things is to slightly smirk at the rejecting friends after an idea or proposal is accepted in a gallery or alternative space. RN: There’s an old saying in 12-Step programs that applies to this question: “Don’t go to the hardware store looking for bread.” It would be unreasonable to think that one’s peers, family or friends would always appreciate or understand your ideas. If your ability to create hinges on the approval of your friends, you probably won’t create much art. An idea is a precious thing and should be protected and nurtured while it is developing. Guard your heart and your ideas from naysayers. Give yourself permission to be free from the good opinion of other people! Do your best work and let the work speak for itself. How do you handle your own internal rejection of yourself as an artist? SC: I remember most times to be my own best friend. I’m particularly mindful of being good to myself in those moments when I feel frustrated. When I notice “crankiness” towards my work and self – which is not normal for me – I stop whatever I am doing immediately. I ask myself if I am hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Often I realize that


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it has been hours since breakfast and I’m hungry. If a particular area of a painting is giving me “fits” I’ll take a break and work on something else for an hour. If it is late in the evening I may simply quit for the day. Most times a bit of distance and fresh eyes gives me my solution to the painting’s problem area. Basically I do my best to remember the Talmudic saying: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am for myself only, what am I? If not now – when?” NL: It is easy to get down on yourself when things don’t seem to be going anywhere. For me I have to remind myself why I do art: compulsion and the need to create. It isn’t for accolades, it is for self-fulfillment. It’s great when someone feels what I am doing creatively but it is not essential to my artistic self esteem. Artists can be their own harshest critic. Internally, I never forget why I do art and I remind myself when those doubts start to creep out from within. RN: Negative self-talk suffocates the creative spirit. This is the most deadly of all rejections.

When a person picks up a brush at the easel or faces the block of wood, their mental thoughts must be on the process of creating— the joy, the fun, the losing-track-of-time-ness, that makes making art more like play than work. If a creative person stands as judge and jury in front of their blank canvas passing sentence on the value of the work yet to be created, nothing will happen or poor quality work will emerge. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. Gloom and doom thoughts will net gloom and doom results. To say the same thing more eloquently: “That which I feared has come upon me.” (Job 3:25) Negative self-talk for the artist is abuse. Before you begin your creative work, center your thoughts on a flawless start-up, the pleasurable time you’ll have creating, and a positive mental thought such as “I know enough to begin now” or “This is the perfect time to paint.” Then take a breath and dig in. Artists must be able to generate their own positive mental energies—no one else can be held responsible to do this for you. Be your own best friend. Coach yourself to do what you love because it matters that you do it—because it gives you joy to be in the flow of creativity. Don’t make creating art all about

the end product or potential sales. Do what you love, not because you’ll be another Picasso, but because you love to do it. Be generous; give yourself the gift of a rejection-free time slot to work and see what can happen.  About the Authors: Sue Clancy is a full-time professional artist whose artwork can be seen internationally - and locally at Joseph Gierek Fine Art gallery in Tulsa OK (www.gierek.com) or at Downtown Art & Frame in Norman OK. She checks her email artist@telepath. com occasionally, too. Nathan Lee is the founder of Inclusion in Art, and a regular contributor to Art Focus. He is also a mixed media artist known for his sculptural work. Romney Nesbitt is a creativity coach, artist, teacher and writer living in Tulsa. She welcomes your coaching questions for future columns. Contact her at RomneyN@cox.net.

Thank you to our New and Renewing Members from September and October 2007 Drew Ackerman Sam Gresham and Lyn Adams Jennifer Adkisson Ron Allen Phyllis Baker Kimberly Baker Lynn Barnett Sparks Joy Reed Belt DiAnn Berry Doris J. Bewley Julie Marks Blackstone Carly Bodley Jennifer Bohn B. Queti Bondy Marjorie Bontemps Jane C. Booher E. A. Brantley Stephanie Brudzinski Milissa Burkart Jeanene S. Carver Linda Cavanaugh Carolyn Chandler Lisa Chronister Dian Church Ann Clark Neil T. Cluck Gael Collar Cameron Creed Ryan Cunningham

Jacqueline Zanoni and Tomas de los Santos Jeff Dodd Elizabeth Downing Kellie Eastham Angela Evans Beverly K. Fentress Ron Fleming Gus Friedrich and Erena Rae Melinda Glasgow Diane Glenn Lisa Goldsmith David Goodrich Mary H. Grabow Almira Grammer Brenda Kennedy Grummer Lou Moore Hale Kirkland and Julia Hall Christina Harmon Aaron Hauck Shelly Henry Jonathan Hils Matt Jarvis E. K. Jeong Michelle Johnson Paula Jones Kelsey Karper Jacquelyn Knapp Nicholas Kyle and Rose Allison

Paul Lacy Judy Laine Sharyl Landis Debbie Langston Rod Limke Monika Linehan Patta LT Dru Marseilles Janice Mathews-Gordon Kenny McCage Cheryl McCanlies Janice McCormick and Ed Main Margaret McDonald Rudy Miller Melynda Mitchell Matt Moffett Romney Oualline Nesbitt Noteworthy Crafts Molly O’Connor David Oliveira George Oswalt Bob E. Palmer Megan Pargeter Sarah Iselin and Frank Parman Suzanne Peck June and Lee Pierce Tammy Roberts John A. Robinson Diane Salamon

Ann Saxton Barbara S. Scott Linda Scudder Luci Seem Melanie Seward and Bryan Lettenmaier Randel and Dana Shadid Julie Strauss Gwen Suthers Cindy Swanson Glen Thomas Layne Thrift and JC Casey Ginger Tomshany Diana Tunnell Becky Way Lori Weatherholtz Tom Wester Janie Wester B. J. White Andrea Wijkowski Cindy Williams Nancy Windsor Stephanie Ruggles Winter Paula Davidson Wood Mark Wyatt Dean Wyatt

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OVAC news

Round Up

January/February 2008

We want to thank our fabulous Fall 2007 interns: Shannon Crider and Stephanie Brudzinski.  Shannon, a senior at Oklahoma City University, has been invaluable generating ideas for Momentum, helping with membership communications, and more.  Stephanie, www. earthmamastudio.com, has been unfaltering help with the ASK program, database, and gallery listings.  We simply would not have got this much done without you. Thanks! Do you have an upcoming conference you are attending or exhibition opportunity? Fostering an idea?  A project you are planning?  A need for good images of your artwork or a website? We have money to give away for artists’ projects!  New OVAC Grants brochures are available.  Just email director@ovac-ok.org or call 405-232-6991.  You can also check the Grants page on our wesbite under “For Artists.” Don’t be scared of the computer. The computer is your friend as an aritst… the OVAC Gallery website receives more than 20,000 visitors a month.  If your artwork is not on the site, you are missing many great opportunities.  Submit up to 20 images as slides or digital files and a brief bio.  Even having just a few images gets you the exposure.  For any more detailed instructions call Stephanie Ruggles Winter at 405-232-6991 or, if you aren’t afraid, visit our website for details: www.ovac-ok.org. Upcoming Artist Survival Kit Workshops: February 9: Writing Your Artistic Identity, The Goddard Center, Ardmore March 22: No Stress Press, Multi-Arts Center, Stillwater April 19: Getting it “Wright”: The Gallery Approach, Price Tower Arts Center, Bartlesville More info at www.ArtistSurvivalKit.org. Plan now to attend the Art 365 opening on March 21 at Untitled [ArtSpace] in Oklahoma City. The exhibition will travel to Tulsa, Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Houston, Texas! OVAC would like to thank the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and Allied Arts for making the new OVAC website possible. Please visit www.ovac-ok.org to view OVAC’s new look online!

At a Glance by Janice McCormick Mixed greens sprouted and okra and cucumber flowers blossomed on the walls of the Tulsa Artists’ Coalition gallery in Elia Woods’ Food for Thought this past October. Her artistic media melds the old (old-fashioned quilts and curtains) with the new (photography). The results reflect an understanding of how the past ways are still pertinent to the present, rather than a nostalgic look back. A gentle atmosphere pervades this exhibit due to soft, natural colors in all their subtle gradations. A profound appreciation of the garden’s bounty runs throughout these works. In Kindred the opaque image of the dark veins of a large leaf merges with the open upright human palm, thus bringing home the point that it is plant life that sustains mankind’s life. This is a point we all ought to take to heart – literally: eat your veggies, your heart needs them.  About the Author: Janice McCormick is an art reviewer who has been writing about art in Tulsa and Oklahoma since 1990. Currently she teaches philosophy part-time at Tulsa Community College. She can be reached at artreview@olp.net.

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Gallery Listings Ada

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Artists from Bozeman, Montana January 14 – February 8 Curtis Jones, Prints February 15 – March 14 University Gallery East Central University 1100 E. 14th (580) 559-5353 ecok.edu

Closed for Winter – Reopens March 1 Metcalfe Museum Rt. 1 Box 25 (580) 655-4467 metcalfemuseum.org

Contemporary Oklahoma Artists Opening Reception, January 4, 6-10 Office Art Opening Reception, February 1, 6-10 JRB Art at the Elms 2810 North Walker (405) 528-6336 jrbartgallery.com

Starving Collector’s Exhibit January 4 – January 26 Opening Reception, January 4, 6-10 Donna Ros February 1 – February 27 Opening Reception, February 1, 6-10 Paseo Art Space 3022 Paseo (405) 525-2688 thepaseo.com

Capture the Moment: The Pulitzer Prize Photographs Through March 30 International Photography Hall of Fame 2100 NE 52nd Street (405) 424-4055 iphf.org

Dinner in the Deuce January 11 – February 23 Untitled [ArtSpace] 1 NE 3rd St. (405) 815-9995 1ne3.org

Ardmore

Southern Oklahoma Quilters Guild Through January 21 Ardmore Art Guild Exhibit January 28 – February 16 Charles Rushton Photography Exhibit February 20 – March 29 The Goddard Center 401 First Avenue SW (580) 226-0909 goddardcenter.org

Bartlesville Oklahoma Moderne: The Art and Design of Olinka Hrdy Through January 13 Hollyhock House and Olive Hill: Frank Lloyd Wright and Edmund Teske February 8 – March 30 Price Tower Arts Center 6th and Dewey (918) 336-4949 pricetower.org

Chickasha Paul Medina January 13 – February 8 Carolyn Cornwell Faseler and Vicki Maenza February 17 – March 14 University of Sciences and Arts of Oklahoma Gallery-Davis Hall 1806 17th Street (405) 574-1344 usao.edu/gallery/

Durant Grayson Connection: Donna Adams & Steve Black January 21 – February 15 Great Plains Juried Art Exhibition February 25 – March 20 Southeastern OK State University 1405 N. 4th PMB 4231 sosu.edu

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Exhibition Schedule

Edmond Serving You: Edmond’s Family Owned Businesses January 2 – February 16 Edmond Historical Society 431 S. Boulevard (405) 340-0078 edmondhistory.org Bruce Cody Opening Reception, February 22 Shadid Fine Art 19 N. Broadway (405) 341-9023 shadidfineart.com

El Reno 2007 Gordon Parks Photography Competition Finalists January 14 – March 19 Redlands Community College (405) 262-2552 redlandscc.edu

Lawton Seven State Biennial Opening Reception, January 12, 7-9 The Leslie Powell Foundation and Gallery 620 D Avenue (580) 357-9526 lpgallery.org

Norman Out of Oklahoma: Contemporary Artists from Ruscha to Andoe Through January 6 Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art 555 Elm Ave. (405) 325-4938 ou.edu/fjjma Emergent Exhibition Through January 25 Michelle Martin Coyne & Skip Hill February 1 – March 28 Mainsite Contemporary Art Gallery 122 East Main (405) 292-8095 mainsite-art.com

Samuel Colt: Arms, Art and Invention Through January 6 Real Western Wear: Beaded Gauntlers from the William Healey Collection The Rodeo Photography of Louise Serpa February 9 – May 4 National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum 1700 NE 63rd (405) 478-2250 cowboyhalloffame.org Cathy Rowten Through January 4 MJ Alexander Through January 6 Oklahoma State Capital Galleries 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd (405) 521-2931 state.ok.us/~arts Paris 1900 Through March 2 Oklahoma City Museum of Art 415 Couch Drive (405) 236-3100 okcmoa.com Paintings by Olivia Lopez, Abe Lopez, Marty Bernich January 13 – February 29 Opening Reception, January 13, 2-5 Nona Hulsey Gallery, Norick Art Center Oklahoma City University 1600 NW 26th (405) 208-5226 okcu.edu

Park Hill Oklahoma State Centennial, A Cherokee Perspective February 1 – April 19 Cherokee National Historical Society, Inc. 21192 S. Keeler Drive (918) 456-6007 cherokeeheritage.org

Shawnee Pentimento Through February 3 Reception and Gallery Talk, January 18, 7 Draughtsmen: Selected Prints of James McNeill Whistler and Sir Francis Seymour Haden February 22 – April 6 Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art 1900 West Macarthur (405) 878-5300 mgmoa.org

Tulsa Matt Jarvis January 10 – February 7 Greg Gray February 21 – March 20 Apertures Gallery 1936 South Harvard (918) 742-0500 aperturesphoto.com


galler y gu ide Louise Serpa, Matt Martin, High School Rodeo Finals, Douglas, AZ 1974, Photograph, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, February 9 – May 4.

Charles Banks Wilson: An Oklahoma Life in Art Through March 9 1776-1876: A Century of American History in Art Through May 25 Gilcrease Museum 1400 Gilcrease Road (918) 596-2700 gilcrease.org New Paintings by Daniel Hurst January 3 – 24 The Art of Love February 7 – 28 Liggett Studio 314 S. Kenosha (918) 694-5719 liggettstudio.com Atrocities: Man’s Inhumanities January 3 – 24 We Live In A World Configured February 7 - 28 Living Arts 308 S. Kenosha (918) 585-1234 livingarts.org

Frank Lloyd Wright and The House Beautiful Through January 20 The Philbrook Museum of Art 2727 South Rockford Road (918) 749-7941 Philbrook.org Photographs by Don Thompson February 1 - 24 Tulsa Performing Arts Center Gallery Third and Cincinnati (918) 596-7122 tulsapac.com The Art of the Trade: A Collection of Prints Through January 18 Richard Herzog January 24 – February 15 Opening Reception, January 24, 5-7 Master’s Thesis Exhibition February 21 – March 7 Opening Reception, February 21, 5-7 Alexandre Hogue Gallery Phillips Hall, The University of Tulsa 2930 E. 5th St. (918) 631-2739 cas.utulsa.edu/art

Jules Chéret (French, 1836-1932). Jardin de Paris, ca. 1895. Color lithograph, 48 x 34 1/8 in. Lent by The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Gift of Bruce B. Dayton. Part of the Paris 1900 exhibit at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art through March 2.

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Art Focus Oklahoma, January/February 2008  

2008 January/February Art Focus Oklahoma is a bimonthly publication of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition dedicated to stimulating insight i...

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