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An emergent artist is someone at an early stage of their career that may or may not have had many exhibitions. The annual selection process is open to anyone at any age. “We are always looking for people who want to make their resume of exhibitions more substantial and have a current dynamic drive to be a professional artist,” said Christian Pitt, MAINSITE gallerist. “Some of our past emergent artists have gone on to win major grants and fellowships, enter into master’s degree programs at elite art schools, and exhibit in galleries across the country.” This year’s artists all have ties to the University of Oklahoma. Pitt said the selection committee was interested in artists who represent current trends and three of this year’s artists are sculptors. “This exhibit happens to be heavy on sculpture, with work by Alejandro Bagajewicz, Alexandra Knox and Mike Hill,” Pitt said. “We think that happened because the sculpture department at the University of Oklahoma has been active in the Oklahoma arts community.” Also included are stop motion animation artist Tara Najd Ahmadi, painter Geoff Krawzcyk and photographer Sherwin Tibayan. Tara Najd Ahmadi Tara Najd Ahmadi is an Iranian artist who moved to the United States in 2009 to work towards her MFA at the University of Oklahoma. She received her MA in Animation Directing at Tarbiat Modares University in Tehran, Iran and a BA in Graphic Design from the University of Tehran. Ahmadi’s current work is in stop motion animation, using handmade characters and sets to create the scenes of her films. “I use stop motion animation because it stands right on the border of fantasy and reality,” said Ahmadi. “The crudeness of the movements and the detailed puppets make an image that is funny and bitter at the same time. My pieces might be the nightmares of the individuals who wake up every day and hope for making another world.” Ahmadi is an active member of the women’s rights movement in Iran and has made several pieces related to women’s basic rights.

“As an Iranian activist, I like to reflect the sound of the protest against the big systems of control,” said Ahmadi. “I feel my pieces reflect the people’s challenge to gain what they want.” Alejandro Bagajewicz Argentinean-born sculptor Alejandro Bagajewicz has studied at universities around the world. As a multilingual world traveler, he is fascinated by what travel and culture bring to the arts. In 2000 he attended the art program at the Catholic University of Lima Peru and at the end of his study he was chosen to leave his sculpture as part of the university’s permanent public art exhibit. Bagajewicz continued his studies in sculpture at the Academia di Belle Arte di Bologna and at the University of Bologna in Italy where he learned stone sculpting. He earned his degree from the University of Oklahoma (OU) in 2006 where he refined his work in metal sculpting. “Art has demonstrated to me that there is an enigma to be deciphered, that there exists something mysterious about the relation between me and artistic creation,” Bagajewicz said in his artist statement. “The turmoil created while confronting different materials fascinates me because I have a need to excel during that act. This consistency surrounds all artists.” Alexandra Knox A Ukrainian heritage has played an important role in shaping the beliefs of Alexandra Knox, including tradition and superstition. “As I have reached my mid-20’s these elements have influenced my daily life more and more, raising questions and curiosities that I confront through my art,” she said. “I am drawn to using materials that echo my grandparents’ lives, such as the use of steel and fabrics, as well as everyday objects with which I have a spiritual connection. It is also through sensory experience that this spiritual connection grows stronger. The smell of steel, for example, reminds me of my grandfather’s shop while certain foods resurrect memories of my grandmother.”

Alexandra Knox, Norman, To Lead a Simple Life, Steel and bronze, 5” x 1” x 14”

Knox considers the creative process as a contemplative study of her heritage. The repetitive tasks can be compared to such Ukrainian crafts as embroidery. “The influence of these traditions can be seen throughout my work, but is translated in materials that prove to be a fervent link to my Ukrainian forbearers,” Knox said. “As a result, this body of work becomes a medium for self-discovery as well as a record of sensorial memory.” contnued on pg. 16

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Profile for Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition

Art Focus Oklahoma, January/February 2011  

2011 January/February Art Focus Oklahoma is a bimonthly publication of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition dedicated to stimulating insight i...

Art Focus Oklahoma, January/February 2011  

2011 January/February Art Focus Oklahoma is a bimonthly publication of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition dedicated to stimulating insight i...

Profile for ovac