Art Focus Oklahoma, January/February 2012

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ArtOFocus k l a h o m a

Ok l a ho m a V i s u al A r ts C o al i t i on

Vo l u m e 2 7 N o . 1

January/February 2012

Art OFocus k l a h o m a from the editor

Drawing by Emma Ann Robertson.

As the new year begins, we at the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition are gearing up for a busy spring of events and programs. We are thrilled to begin the second round of our biennial program the Oklahoma Art Writing & Curatorial Fellowship (read more about the Fellowship on pg. 29). As we prepare to welcome the program Mentors who will be joining us from all over the country, I am struck by the far reaches of the art and ideas represented in this issue of Art Focus Oklahoma. Drawing from his Cherokee heritage, Tulsa artist Mel Cornshucker (pg. 8) recently traveled to Washington, D.C. where his pottery was featured in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian’s annual Christmas sale. Cornshucker finds inspiration for his work in the traditions of his heritage and memories of his upbringing. OVAC’s own Samantha Still recently traveled to Canada where she and several other scholars represented Oklahoma at the Native American Art Studies Association’s biennial conference (pg. 24). The Native arts of Oklahoma were well-represented at the conference, and are the subject of much scholarly research. It’s not just the geographical considerations that are far reaching, as some artists reach back in time for inspiration. Artist Chelsea Dudek (pg. 4) collects delicate discarded objects, like antique handkerchiefs, which become part of her haunting series of prints. Similarly, Caryl Morgan (pg. 16) travels interstate highways to find roadside signage reminiscent of the 1950s heyday of American travel. She transforms these signs into vividly painted transfer print constructions. While this magazine is dedicated to spotlighting the artists of Oklahoma, I often find that the border of our state is not as clear as it might seem on a map. Artistic influence and inspiration rarely consult an atlas.

Kelsey Karper publications@ovac-ok.orgb

Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition 730 W. Wilshire Blvd., Suite 104 Oklahoma City, OK 73116 ph: 405.879.2400 • e: visit our website at: Executive Director: Julia Kirt Editor: Kelsey Karper Intern: Frances Hymes 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. Art Focus Committee: Janice McCormick, Bixby; Don Emrick, Claremore; Susan Grossman, Norman; MJ Alexander, Stephen Kovash, Sue Moss Sullivan, and Christian Trimble, Oklahoma City. OVAC Board of Directors July 2011-June 2012: R.C. Morrison, Bixby; Patrick Kamann, Margo Shultes von Schlageter, MD (Treasurer), Christian Trimble, Rick Vermillion, Edmond; Eric Wright, El Reno; Traci Layton (Secretary), Enid; Suzanne Mitchell (President), Norman; Jennifer Barron (Vice President), Susan Beaty, Gina Ellis, Hillary Farrell, Michael Hoffner, Stephen Kovash, Paul Mays, Carl Shortt, Oklahoma City; Joey Frisillo, Sand Springs; Bradley Jessop, Sulphur; Beth Downing, Jean Ann Fausser, Susan Green, Janet Shipley Hawks, Kathy McRuiz, Sandy Sober, Tulsa The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition is solely responsible for the contents of Art Focus Oklahoma. However, the views expressed in articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Board or OVAC staff. Member Agency of Allied Arts and member of the Americans for the Arts. © 2012, Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. All rights reserved.

View this issue online at

Jason Cytacki, Norman, Blue Steel, Oil on panel, 48” x 36”. See page 14.



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Vintage Printing

Stillwater artist Chelsea Dudek gives delicate discarded objects new life through a series of prints and mixed media works inspired by the handiwork of women.

Mel Cornshucker: Cherokee Potter Goes to Washington, D.C.

Tulsa-based artist Mel Cornshucker was recently selected to display his pottery, which reflects his Cherokee artistic heritage, at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

re v i e w 10 No Heaven Awaits Us

A recent exhibition at the Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art showcased contemporary Chinese photography and video.

p re v i e w s 12 Modern Life’s Basic Nature: New Year’s Day Show Examines Man’s Place in the World

Opening New Year’s Day in Oklahoma City, this exhibition curated by Carol Beesley offers insight into man’s ongoing battle between the harmony of nature and the man-made artifices he helps create.

14 In the Moment: Art Now Takes a Snapshot of Current Art-making in the State

Shifting in a new direction, City Arts Center’s annual fundraiser becomes a survey of contemporary artists across the state of Oklahoma.


16 Interstate Icons: Caryl Morgan Pays Tribute to American Travel

For her exhibition at the Oklahoma State Capitol, Caryl Morgan turns mundane road signs into an electrifying homage to American travel.

18 Four Ways of Shaping the World: Oklahoma Artists at Istvan Gallery

An upcoming exhibition in the Oklahoma City gallery reveals common themes amongst four seemingly disparate artists.

20 New Genre XIX

For three weeks, some of the best performance and installation artists in the country come to Tulsa for the annual New Genre event, celebrating new forms of art.

f e a t u re s 22 On the Map: Cinema and Canvas: Creating a Full Circle of Art

The Circle Cinema in Tulsa is more than just an art house theatre - the organization also hosts art exhibitions and provides public programs to encourage tolerance and diversity.

24 Local Impact on an International Dialogue: The Native American Art Studies Association 18th Biennial Conference


The NAASA conference, held in October 2011 in Ottawa, brings together its members in an effort to share research and accelerate the dialogue surrounding Native art discourse.

business of art 26 Ask a Creativity Coach

Is procrastination the same as self-sabotage? The Creativity Coach defines the difference and tells you how to avoid shooting yourself in the foot.

At a Glance

27 Don’t Forget to Breathe

In a recent exhibition, Tulsa artist Cathy Deuschle explores issues such as the passage of time and its effect on ourselves and objects.

OVAC news

28 New and Renewing Members 29 OVAC News 30

gallery guide

(p. 4) Chelsea Dudek, Stillwater, To JS (variation), Etching (p.12) Tommy Ball, Tulsa, KC Auto Hotel Roof Facing North, Watercolor, 22” x 30” (p.14) Aaron Hauck, Ada, Temple, MDF, epoxy and enamel, 24” x 24” x 7”


Vintage Printing

Chelsea Dudek’s art is transformative,

by Allison Meier

taking the imagery of vintage fabric objects and turning them into washed out prints, the old haunting the new.


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These pieces are the collision of both her love of printmaking with her attraction to the overlooked, delicate objects made by women, which she finds in second hand stores across the state. “My main concern is not to unveil a truth about women’s work or an inequality per se, but to connect and relate to women from the past, by working with and appropriating their art,” she said. “My goal is to help this humble, yet remarkable, handiwork live on not simply by continuing the craft, but by placing the piece in mine, giving new life to these remaining handkerchiefs through the print. Each print is about a woman’s work.” Dudek graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Oklahoma State University in 2010, but prior to college her art experience was limited. She took a drawing class her sophomore year as an experiment and became hooked on art. She went on to study printmaking, and fell in love with its variations and fine detail, and also the possibilities for combining it with other techniques like drawing, collage and watercolors. She started printing images of old textiles during the end of her first semester of intaglio. “I learned how to use softground in my etchings, which is receptive to textures, and I had found this beautiful, most delicate handkerchief [used in her print I’m Still Ironing] at the Stillwater Antique Mall,”

she said. “However, I was hesitant to use the hanky in the print, because it would be stained with the brown softground. After deliberation, I was convinced that it was a most poetic end to an ephemeral object. The tradeoff for ruining the hanky was being able to print it almost endlessly, preserving its texture in copper.” She states that her fascination with handmade needlework, including doilies, quilts and embroidery along with handkerchiefs, rests with the time that went into its creation, as well as its fragile beauty. “I started collecting this lady-craft from thrift stores, and I was struck at how cheaply they were being sold,” she said. “I imagined someone, some woman, had spent an untold amount of time working intimately on the piece, and at some point, it was discarded.” When she began collecting the fabric objects, she hadn’t started to connect them to her work. Eventually she let this fixation on old, forgotten objects guide her new interest in printmaking, making for a collaboration between her and the original maker. The prints still have an antique, worn feel, even with their recent creation, due to the nature of their inspiration. On top of the prints, she adds handwriting, line drawings and embroidery to individualize each image, taking them beyond editions.

“In this way, there is not one interpretation of the piece, but many,” she said. “The handwriting usually comes from found grocery or to-do lists, journals or postcards. All of these sources emphasize mundane issues, like groceries and weather, perhaps similar to the thoughts of the maker as she was creating the [textile] piece. Handwriting also adds a human quality as a stand-in for the figure, and has a similar density as thread, so it works as a kind of embroidery atop the image.” The anonymous grocery lists are discovered in store parking lots, grocery carts and baskets and on the ground, while the journal excerpts are from Dudek’s greatgrandma’s daily entries. Since she only knew her great-grandma when she was very young, she doesn’t have a substantial memory of who she was, but by leafing through the journals and selecting an entry at random, she feels like she is discovering a catalogue of personal history. “In both cases, the ‘found’ writings give me an impression of the author, with which I can create a history,” she said. “I am drawn to lists because they are extremely ephemeral—their use is limited to the trip to the store, and nothing more. I like seeing what people are buying, and what they thought they couldn’t remember without writing it down.” continued to page 6

(opposite) Chelsea Dudek, Stillwater, A Borrowed Buck Ten (variation), Softground etching.

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continued from page 5

She places the aesthetics of the handwriting over its content, allowing the viewer to see it as a non-narrative pattern, a type of visual embroidery. “This isn’t to say there is no narrative in my work, but the written words aren’t telling a complete story,” she said. “The story is pretty broad, giving a sense of a familiar daily task. Visually, the handkerchief and the handwritten remnants are disparate, but in both cases, they have been discarded. Like the paper lists, the lives of the handkerchiefs are fleeting, and I am able to preserve them in my copper plates.” The handkerchiefs, doilies and quilts are all everyday objects traditionally made by women, and as a woman artist, Dudek feels a connection to that tradition of creation. Although a skill in handicrafts is not expected of modern women, she still sees her art as opening a conversation about what “women’s work” is and how it has transformed. “It seems feminism has to play a role in art that deals with women’s traditional crafts,” she said. “I try not to hit the viewer over the head with any specific ideology, but it’s hard to get around it with such ‘feminine’ work. The imagery in my prints is literally based on the crafts made by women; so naturally, my stance is aligned with feminist ideas. With the addition of mundane details such as grocery lists and journals about weather and child rearing, I am thinking about the tasks and position of women, both of the past and today.” n Allison C. Meier is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn. She works in communications at the Cooper Union and has covered visual arts in Oklahoma for several years. She can be reached at

(above) Chelsea Dudek, Stillwater, Piecemeal (variation), Etching, embroidery (below) Chelsea Dudek, Stillwater, I’m Still Ironing (variation), Softground etching and aquatint


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Save the Date for the Norman Arts Council’s ONE Event on March 31, 2012!










African Art Collection Explore the most comprehensive exhibit of African art in the region! Objects from the 1st Century BCE through the 20th Century. Newly arranged and displayed for your enjoyment. Chambers Library, 2nd & 3rd floors For information, contact: Dr. William Hommel (405) 974-5252 bhommel

*This collection features pieces on loan from the Kirkpatrick Center Affiliated fund and Perry and Angela Tennison.


Mel Cornshucker: Cherokee Potter Goes to Washington, D.C by Janice McCormick

Mel Cornshucker, Tulsa, Mom’s Flour Bowl, Stoneware

Buffaloes, horses, bears, cross-like stars, dancers with elaborate headdresses, chiefs in coffins and, of course, his signature dragonflies – all adorn the stoneware pottery of Mel Cornshucker. December 4th and 5th, the public in our nation’s capital had the opportunity to purchase his work at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, situated right on the National Mall. It is the museum’s annual Christmas sale. As this above list of motifs reveal, Cornshucker’s pottery reflects his Cherokee artistic heritage as well as his deep appreciation for nature. “The work will be a range of functional and art pieces. There was no set limit on the number of pieces I could send. In fact, they said I could send as many as I wanted,” said Cornshucker.


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As of this writing, he explains, “Although everything is in process and the designs are still in my head, there are two works that have been finished. One is a very large bowl with handles which I call Mom’s Flour Bowl. The handles remind me of ears. The chief in a coffin motif is based on a southeast Cherokee basket weave design. My mother always had flour in a large bowl and everyday she would make biscuits.” The second finished piece, a lidded jar, has the dancer/medicine man motif. He adds, “The pieces I make that are big go really fast. These show pieces get the people to stop, they catch people’s eye. They are bigger and therefore more expensive. I hope to have around 30 to 40 show pieces and as many regular pieces as I can do from now until I leave. Even my show pieces have to have a function. I want

people to enjoy looking at them and to use them. All the works are high fire stoneware, fired to a cone 10 gas reduction. They are lead free. These have wood ash glazes. The ashes come from my fireplace and make up 50% of my glazes. I mix up my own glazes so I know there is no lead in them.”

Patrons will surely appreciate Cornshucker’s well-crafted works. They feature repeated, stylized images set against subdued earthen colors of browns, yellows, greens and blues. One particularly dream-like image that has resonated with me is of the moon in a drift of clouds set against a blue-green sky.

Cornshucker goes on to say, “It’s such an honor to be chosen to be one of thirty-five artists, an honor to represent my tribal nation. The sale takes place both at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. and the George Gustav Heye Center in lower Manhattan, New York City. I had my choice and I wanted to do D.C. It is the museum for Indian art.”

The National Museum of the American Indian is the eighteenth museum of the Smithsonian Institution. It is the first national museum dedicated to the preservation, study, and exhibition of the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of Native Americans. Established by an act of Congress in 1989 (amendment in 1996), the museum works in collaboration with the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere to protect and foster their cultures by reaffirming traditions and beliefs, encouraging contemporary artistic expression, and empowering the Indian voice.

In answer to how he was chosen for such an honor, Cornshucker describes how one of his customers, Kevin Gober, introduced himself as the Director of the National Museum of the American Indian. He had been collecting his work and knew of Cornshucker’s one-man show at the Southern Plains Indian Museum in Anadarko in the spring of this year. Gober told him of the Christmas show and encouraged him to apply since he thought Cornshucker would do well there. “So I put images on a CD and sent in my application. They called back saying they loved my work. They also said that I would be featured in the museum’s magazine”.

Mel Cornshucker, Tulsa, Lidded Jar with Dancing Medicine Men, Stoneware

Visit for more information about the National Museum of the American Indian. n Janice McCormick is an art reviewer who has been writing about art in Tulsa and Oklahoma since 1990. Currently she teaches philosophy parttime at Tulsa Community College. She can be reached at

Mel Cornshucker working at his wheel.

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No Heaven Awaits Us by Sarah Hearn

Wang Gongxing & Lin Tianmiao, China, Here? Or There? (no. 1 of 15), Digitally manipulated chromogenic print, 45� x 55�

No Heaven Awaits Us: Contemporary Chinese Photography and Video was part of the inaugural exhibition of the new Stuart Wing of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, on display through December 30, 2011. I should tell you first that I have never visited China. I have only known China through news reports, popular images and general art history. I know China is the world leader in exports and is the fastest growing major economy. In fact, China is home to over 1 billion people. Despite a heightened global awareness about this massive


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country, from my perspective, China remains a distant and somewhat inaccessible place. No Heaven Awaits Us provided me voyeuristic access to a culture and life I myself know little about. The show consisted of a breadth of photographic styles by a handful of prominent Chinese artists ranging in vision and poignancy. The history of photography is turbulent in China and this role has experienced dramatic shifts over the past 30 years. In fact, it was not until 2002 the Chinese Department of Education deemed photography a viable major for students attending the Central Academy of Fine

Arts. Without the option of formal training, there were many self taught individuals already engaged with photography as either part of their creative practice, or as a tool to document performance and installation art. Although the lack of formal training is evident in a few artists featured in the exhibit, it by no means takes away from the work. Many featured images display a raw, refreshing and ingenuous perspective. This enigmatic current, although invisible, flowed throughout the exhibition. Lui Jin’s Cruel Youths presented an intimate scene of a domestic interior. This pseudodocumentary approach questions the role of the public and private in China and unmasks a collective vulnerability exposing the cycle of self-conception, self-perception and co-dependency that exists in a Communist country. The round prints by Yao Lu reference traditional Chinese landscape painting while at the same time suggesting the grimmer reality of severe ecological disasters. The viewer is seduced by the surface of the images and then, after being drawn in, what appeared to be picturesque mountains, reveals garbage mounds confined in construction netting. The landscapes are peppered with pagodas, waterfalls and industrial plants adding poetic irony to the serious problems facing an expanding nation. Through fiction, these images reveal troubling truths. There were visible aesthetic connections between Yao Lu’s work and the larger installation of manipulated photographs, Here? Or There? by the husband and wife team Wang Gongxing and Lin Tianmiao. Both defied the predictable rectangular dimensions and suggested shapes associated with specific eras of photographic history. The oval shape of the images created by Gongxing and Tianmiao suggests the border of a portrait style of photography popular in the 1860s while Yao Lu’s round prints appear to reference the early round photos made by Eastman Kodak beginning in 1886.

Gongzing and Tianmiao’s work is multi media and their backgrounds are diverse- he is a painter and pioneer of Chinese video art and she is a textile designer turned installation artist. Their pieces juxtapose abandoned landscapes (photographed by Gongzing) with models in monochrome surrealist costumes (designed by Tianmiao). These works grapple with the sometimes unharmonious reality of living in the world’s largest country with the fastest growing economy. On the one hand, these works offer a romanticized notion of a photographic past. On the other hand they reveal the vulnerability of such quick expansion and the inability to erase relics of a difficult past. The artist Adou also seems to welcome notions of photographic nostalgia in his work. The artist uses outdated film and chemistry and believes the colors produced from this imprecise process imbue his work with an “aura of historic authenticity.”

Xie Hailong, China, I Want School, Gelatin silver print, 19.5” x 13”

Many of the other works displayed could be considered documentary and exude strong social missions. The image I Want School by Xie Hailong documents life in rural China and reveals the challenges of educating China’s poor. There is also a single photograph by Beijing’s wellknown artist Rong Rong. It depicts a repurposed, dilapidated facade of the East Village of China’s Beijing and has the gritty feel of a W. Eugene Smith photo. These images illuminate the cracks in a larger Chinese infrastructure. A historical residue is evident in many of the works featured. The series of photographs titled The Assembly Hall by Shao Yinong and Mu Chen is one example. These images directly connect the past and the present as the artists explore the history and impact of the Red Army’s 8,000mile Long March. The halls featured in the photographs have in some cases been repurposed and in other cases left to decompose. In conclusion, the most powerful photographs in the exhibition were not necessarily the ones that quickly delivered the truth, but rather, the images that resonate with ambiguity residing somewhere between memory, truth and fiction. n Sarah Hearn is an artist living in Oklahoma City.

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Modern Life’s Basic Nature: New Year’s Day Show Examines Man’s Place in the World by Karen Paul

Man’s fundamental struggle between nature and the modern world forms the conceptual basis for 2012’s first exhibition of the year. Curated by Norman artist Carol Beesley, this show features eight artists whose innovative use of media and subject matter collectively examine conflicts between the two worlds. They offer valuable insight into man’s ongoing battle between the harmony of nature and the man-made artifices he helps create. Tommy Lee Ball With obvious Impressionistic influences, Oklahoma artist Tommy Lee Ball examines modern urban scenes through the use of his traditional watercolor techniques. Ball focuses on late-night urban scenes where conventional architecture takes on a new appearance. Traditional buildings develop new forms as they become bathed in dim natural light and are accentuated with colorful neon lights. The result is Ball’s work of vibrant paintings that make a statement about the life existing outside of a traditional vantage point. Ginna Dowling Printmaker Ginna Dowling’s work places modern and biological elements in situations conflicting with their basic nature. Her work often includes such incongruent elements as modes of transportation placed in nature settings and animals placed against modern backdrops. Her large 50” woodcuts push the boundaries of the printmaking medium and create inviting images saturated with intense washes of blended soft colors. Douglas Shaw Elder Sculptor Douglas Shaw Elder plays with the perceptions of natural shapes. His three-dimensional works present a series of curved, organic shapes that have been deconstructed to their most basic lines. Sculpted in traditional materials, Elder’s minimalist forms invite viewers to perceive their own details and through the process, help invent their own experience. Grace Grothaus The three-dimensional work of Grace Grothaus explores man’s conflicting relationship between the natural world he was born into and the fabricated world of artificial elements he has created. Through her juxtaposition of industrial materials including Plexiglas, intermittent lighting, organic shapes and biological colors, Grothaus’ light boxes create an entirely personal experience that reflects each viewer’s perceptions and physical limitations. Trent Lawson A marriage of high-art and kitsch elements, painter Trent Lawson’s work forces viewers to participate in the creative experience and to discuss the lines that exist between art and modern consumerism. Lawson’s paintings on velvet integrate pop culture imagery. They also openly play with pre-conceived ideas of what serious art should look like. (top) Ginna Dowling, Norman, They Travel in Twos, woodcut and monotype, 36” x 40” (bottom) Tommy Ball, Tulsa, Central Bus Station, Watercolor, 22” x 30”


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Ruth Borum Loveland Ruth Loveland’s paintings offer a series of contrasts in color and texture. Her work integrates backgrounds of solid colors with exposed areas of deep imagery. She also presents organic shapes that have been fractured in an almost deliberate and mechanical way. Loveland’s work brings

together artificially created surfaces that replicate natural textures like feathers and leaves, inviting viewers to witness a wide range of wonderful beauty found in the natural world, beauty that may be overshadowed by elements of modern life. Bob Nunn Landscape artist Bob Nunn’s “aerial landscapes” offer a wide range of perspectives commenting on man’s conflicting relationship with the natural world. With subtle, bright colors, Nunn focuses on imagery related to the man-made artifices of highways and topography, showing these elements in damaged, fractured or altered states. His work shows how man’s involvements with the world have permanently changed the natural landscape, both for better and for worse. Marty Ray Marty Ray’s ceramics put a contemporary spin on pottery’s traditional techniques and vessel shapes. Utilizing familiar bottle and gourd-like forms, her ceramics focus on deeply etched silhouettes of individuals living out scenes of modern life. The positive and negative elements of these scenes are washed in large glazes of intense color that often completely obscure the fundamental elements of the clay itself, leaving the natural quality of the piece to serve as an unseen, yet essential foundation. By embracing a spirit of experimentation, these eight artists fully explore one of the central dilemmas of man’s existence. By calling into question traditional art forms and subjects, their work examines how man’s encouragement of an industrial world directly impacts nature. The exhibition will run from January 1-29, 2012 at JRB Art at the Elms, 2810 North Walker, Oklahoma City. Visit for more information. n Karen Paul is a freelance writer based in Norman, Okla. Paul, who specializes in arts-based articles, received her Master’s degree from the Gaylord College at the University of Oklahoma. You can contact her at

(above) Marty Ray, Dallas, TX, Neighborhood, stoneware slip and glaze, (below) Bob Nunn, Dallas, TX, Homeland Refracted, oil on canvas, 60” x 48”

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In the Moment: Art Now Takes a Snapshot of Current Art-making in the State by Jennifer Barron

Tara Ahmadi, Norman, Which One Becomes Disappointed Faster, Video still

Oklahoma City’s City Arts Center is welcoming the new year with a brand new art event: Art Now, opening January 20. While City Arts Center has produced Cafe City Arts for the past several years at this same time of year, the organization’s staff saw a chance to do something new, and the idea for Art Now was born. “[Cafe City Arts] has been a great success,” Executive Director Mary Ann Prior describes. “It’s been known as a big party, with lots of fun and lots of artists, but we noticed it was becoming a bit formulaic.” In some ways, this new exhibition will be an extension of some of the best parts of Cafe City Arts. There will be a festive opening reception to debut the show. In other ways, Art Now will represent a shift in philosophy that echoes the ongoing evolution of City Arts Center. These changes come at a time when the organization’s programs, services, and identity are undergoing a thorough evaluation. Prior and staff are hard at work confirming this organization’s place as a vibrant, dynamic center for visual arts in the state, and Art Now is a confident step in this direction.


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With Art Now, City Arts plans to debut an event that will serve as an annual survey of the best in Oklahoma art. Each year, City Arts Center staff plans to work with a different curator and select 25 of the state’s best and most relevant contemporary artists. Curator Romy Owens approached the task with a clear vision. “I really tried to make the show as conceptual as possible,” she commented. “I wanted a true survey with lots of diversity, and little repetition.” A quick scan of the list of invited artists shows diversity in the geography, media, and content on offer. Invited artists hail from every corner of the state, from Skiatook to Weatherford, and they work in diverse media including painting, photography, mixed media, printmaking, sculpture, fiber, and film. Reflected in this artist pool are some of the difficult choices Owens made along the way. “I started with a list of 100 artists, and just narrowed and narrowed,” she said, adding frankly, “Some of the decisions were very hard.”

Owens will work closely with the 25 selected artists leading up to the event. She will conduct at least one studio visit with each artist, and more as appropriate. For Owens, Art Now is “the first opportunity I’ve had to really flex my curatorial muscle: to pick all of the artists, work with them, and create a show that is a full experience.” She gives credit to Heather Ahtone for much of her curatorial philosophy and practice: the two worked together to curate Momentum OKC in 2010, with Owens as emerging curator and Ahtone as lead curator. Discussing the decision to make Art Now a statewide survey of contemporary Oklahoma art rather than an Oklahoma City metrobased show, both Owens and Prior feel that this move is beneficial to the new exhibition. “We felt that there were regular opportunities for Oklahoma City artists, but not as many for rural artists,” says Prior. Owens agrees, noting a shift at City Arts Center towards bringing national and international artists to the space: “This event will be an annual chance for Oklahoma artists to show [at City Arts Center].” Mixed media sculptor Don Longcrier uses painting, assemblage, and found objects to create sculptures that pleasantly overwhelm. The materials through which these pieces take shape are often industrial, weathered, or weighty, and the resulting works have a bold presence that radiates both serenity and heaviness. Longcrier is somewhat humble about his invitation to participate: “I was kind of shocked when they called. I thought, ‘Really? Are you sure?’” Surprise aside, he looks forward to participating as a chance to support a valuable community resource. “I am a contemporary arts guy, and City Arts is a great space,” he said. “I support that and I believe in their mission. I like the new direction they are moving. It’s a little risky, but I think it’s a great time for that.” May Yang describes herself as a “mixed-media artist primarily working in printmaking.” She uses vivid, saturated color and her subject matter is often tied to her exploration of family issues and her struggle to

define her identity “between two cultures, as a first generation Asian American.” Her work takes a playful approach to printmaking, often working without registering her paper so that each print is unique. “It’s okay if people don’t know that the work is about family,” she stated, enjoying “the fact that people can experience something different” when looking at her work. At a recent show in El Reno, a viewer who is colorblind approached Yang to tell her how much he enjoyed her works. The conversation resonated with Yang, another reminder that everyone comes to view artwork with their own perspective. Photographer and filmmaker Shane Brown says he was “honored by [the] invitation.” Brown’s work explores mythology of the American West, and includes both photographs and screen grabs from recent video taken on travels west of his Skiatook home to California. In addition to his own photography, he has assisted in the production of several films, including 2009’s Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo. Completing the work required for his MFA has refreshed Brown’s perspective on his art form. “I’m starting to rediscover what I first loved about photography,” he said, adding with a laugh, “In grad school, they kind of beat that out of you.” These three disparate artists hint at the variety that will be on exhibit this January. Owens says that hopes for the show involve the success of the selected artists. “I want all of the 25 artists to shine equally brightly,” she states. She is confident in the artists and proud of her curatorial choices. All involved- curator, artists and City Arts staffare diligently in the process of making Art Now into a unique art experience for the state. As Owens said: “I want [Art Now] to have the feeling that everywhere you look, you are awed.” n Jennifer Barron is an Oklahoma City based artist and arts administrator who believes firmly in the power of art to enhance lives, build communities and push us forward from our comfort zones.

(left) Donald G. Longcrier, Norman, Untitled (Line Drier) foreground and Untitled (Fid) background (above) May Yang, Tulsa, Nameless Faces, Mixed Media, 20” x 27”

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Interstate Icons: Caryl Morgan Pays Tribute to American Travel by Sasha Spielman

Travel signs, motel greetings, vintage postcards - all eternal parts of how a society expresses itself. Most of them rusted out on the side of the road, neglected for years, until Caryl Morgan, a watermedia artist, decided to turn the mundane and somewhat forgettable signs into electrifying homage to American travel. In her exhibition, titled Interstate Icons and Other Road Side Attractions, Morgan explores the dynamic use of color, words and images, illustrated on signs. “Vintage signs have always caught my interest as painting subjects,” Morgan said. “I see the signs as historical records of American life.” For the exhibition, Morgan selected over 30 original pieces all representing a different aspect of the “heyday” of the American automobile industry and the family vacations of the ‘50s. Morgan traveled extensively to research and prepare for the exhibition. By stopping at antique gift shops, taking photos, and using family photographs, the watermedia artist was able to compile a photo collage, which she later transferred as monoprints to watercolor paper and then painted them.

Caryl Morgan, Newkirk, Bringing Home the Bacon, Painted transfer print, 14” x 11”

Engineered watercolor monoprints, developed by Morgan, are in essence watercolor prints but designed and presented in a sculptural format. Morgan uses Yupo watercolor paper, a 100 percent polypropylene synthetic paper, coated with gum Arabic. When dry, she paints on top of it and when that dries, she transfers the image to damp BFK paper with her press. After that she begins cutting up the painted designs on the Yupo and rearranges the pieces to engineer a completely new composition. “Some are painted exactly as I see them while others I have taken creative license to make a social statement, established visual clichés or created my own road side attraction,” said Morgan while discussing her original pieces. Sunny with Clouds from the Far East illustrates perfectly the artist’s ability to incorporate reality by integrating fragments of personal experiences. Morgan said she planned to use color complements for the shadows and paint regular sunny day clouds in the background,


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Caryl Morgan, Newkirk, Sunny with Clouds from the Far East, Painted transfer print, 28” x 39”

Caryl Morgan, Newkirk, Fresh Donuts II, Joplin, Painted transfer print, 28” x 39”

but a trip to Japan changed her mind. When Morgan came back, still overwhelmed with her overseas experience, she painted a few pieces based on Japanese images. Later she returned to the painting, only this time she painted Japanese brocade clouds floating in from the east.

Today, however, watermedia exists as an art painting category on its own merit. Morgan fell in love with the genre because she realized the importance of interpreting subject matter into fragments of color and light.

“I love the feeling I get when an ordinary thing I encounter all of the sudden reveals itself in an ‘extraordinary’ way,” Morgan said. “Seeing things in a different perspective, seeing an unusual angle, in a different color, changes in light…that to me is the moment art begins.”

“Understanding the way our eyes and brain perceives and averages images and color is also part of the equation of a successful watercolor painter,” Morgan said.

As Morgan worked on her exhibition she wondered about the name of the signs. “Buckaroo Motel” or “Palomino Motel” imply that you have stopped to rest along a certain trail. During her research, Morgan noticed social clichés illustrated on many of the signs, and yet the messages they carried were visible and clear to all who used them.

Her deep knowledge of color has allowed Morgan to use photographs to make compositional decisions while framing her subjects through a camera lens. By doing so Morgan can adjust color based on color theory groups such as analogous colors and complementary colors. In her painting Chicago Art Institute Countryside the artist changed the colors to analogous colors creating a “realistic” image.

“Many of these signs are in disrepair but still generate interest,” Morgan said.

“I find people tend to fill in the detail or see the color as they expect the color to be regardless of what is in from of them,” Morgan said.

Through her career as an artist, Morgan has worked in a variety of mediums, such as fiber, spinning and dying wool, printmaking, and computer graphics, but it was painting in watercolor she saw as an artistic and professional challenge. The watercolor genre, today called “watermedia,” presented a number of obstacles. Pigments are suspended in water and a binder such as gum Arabic, using the white of the paper to determine values. Historically, watercolor was used as a color-sketching medium in preparation for an oil painting. Sketches were rendered in color and then the artist returned to the studio to paint an oil painting from the watercolor sketches.

After spending a decade as an art teacher, Morgan recently retired to the rural plains of Oklahoma, where she works in her commercial studio preparing for national and international exhibitions. Interstate Icons and Other Road Side Attractions continues through February in the North Gallery of the Oklahoma State Capitol. Visit for more details. n

Sasha Spielman is a freelance writer, who has covered a variety of stories from entertainment to hard news. She currently hosts an online travel show and in her spare time writes for magazines.

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Four Ways of Shaping the World: Oklahoma Artists at Istvan Gallery by Daria Prokhorova

Bryan Boone, Oklahoma City, 12 Loops, Mixed media, 12” x 12”

On February 10, 2012, Istvan Gallery in Oklahoma City will present an exhibition of four Oklahoma artists: Lori Oden, Virginia Coleman, Asia Scudder and Bryan Boone. The artists represent different media and different approaches to art-making: Scudder is primarily a sculptor, Oden is an art historian-turned-photographer, Boone works in mixed media, and Coleman’s art includes painting, photography, sculpture, and welding. According to Istvan Gallery director Stephen Kovash, the show will feature Oden’s photography, Scudder’s wire sculpture, Coleman’s mixed media sculptures, and Boone’s paintings. Lori Oden specializes in nineteenth-century photographic processes and traditional black and white photography. According to Oden, love of art history is what initially drew her to the exploration of


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the early photographic processes. As she learned them, she came to appreciate and enjoy the intense involvement they require and unique images they produce. Mixing her own chemistry, making her own film, and coating her own paper enabled her to develop a unique perspective and appreciation for photographic history, as well as a profound connection to it. Turning to the early photographic practices helps her create a nostalgic sensibility, a connection to memory capable of moving each one of us on a deeply personal level. Oden says that she is inspired by reading, antiques, music, poetry, and her daughter. She honors her gift to see the world differently by paying attention to details and her thought process, and translating those into visual images. The work Oden is creating for the February show at Istvan is a new series called A Cautionary Tale. The themes of

the series include decay and the passage of time. According to Oden, there will also be cautionary tales of love, life and everyday challenges. The artist is trying some new framing and hanging techniques for the show, as well as some different processes. Asia Scudder had been illustrating wildlife for many years when she ran across a piece of copper wire while out on a walk. She shaped it into a horse, and so her fascination with wire began. Twenty years later she still finds it a perfect medium for her. Inspired to connect with nature through her work, she gained wisdom about natural processes and started to consider her artwork as a process as well. For the show Music Builds a Life at City Arts Center, Scudder drew on music from her childhood and felt a kinship with musicians she liked. In 2001 she had the honor of participating in the Venice Biennale with the poet Skip Largent where she presented a wire piece that reflected his poem. The work Scudder will exhibit at Istvan Gallery in February is inspired by Mayan culture. According to Scudder, she became interested in Mayan culture partly as a response to the preoccupation with the Mayan calendar and fears spread through the media about the end of the world on 12-21-12. The pieces she has made for the show will reveal individual Mayan personalities. Virginia Coleman’s multifaceted art explores architecture, built environments, as well as the nature of the human condition. The main tool of her visual vocabulary is steel, which she uses as a canvas in many of her works. After getting her BA in environmental design and MA in architecture and fine arts, she has recently studied welding in Tulsa. Kovash said that Coleman’s combination of architectural lines and abstract sensibilities will be an excellent bridge between Oden’s haunting black and white photography and the flowing lines of Scudder’s sculptures. Bryan Boone works in mixed media exploring structure and shape. He is inspired by architecture, infrastructure, and design. Boone says he is also moved by music and art. For his mixed media works he usually uses drawing pencils, India ink pens, and acrylic paints. He creates multiple layers that remind the artist of cell animation and images in action movies. The series Boone will present for the February show is called Loops and is inspired by music, music videos, and live music performances.

Lori Oden, Edmond, Careful Approach Series 1, Traditional black and white photography, 4” x 5”

Daria Prokhorova is a graduate student at the School of Art and Art History, University of Oklahoma. Her interests include contemporary art, Native American art and the art of American Southwest. She can be reached at

Although seemingly different, the work of the artists selected for the exhibition shares several common themes. Both Coleman and Boone are interested in structures and are rooted in architecture; Scudder and Coleman are fascinated with artistic qualities of metal; Boone, Oden and Scudder are all inspired by music. The artists participating in this exhibition successfully combine their artistic work and other career pursuits: Boone works for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce where he is in charge of the web site and social media efforts; Oden is an art historian and currently works for the Oklahoma Historical Society; Scudder owns a landscape design and installation company. Kovash said that each of these artists shows great energy and superb craftsmanship while shaping the world as they see it. This precise and personal way in which the artists deconstruct the world and put it back together is perhaps the upcoming exhibition’s main theme. n

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New Genre XIX by Sheri Ishmael-Waldrop

tEEth (Angelle Hebert and Phillip Kraft), Portland, OR, Home Made, Performance

Living Arts of Tulsa presents nationally recognized collaborative performances in New Genre XIX. “New Genre is about new forms of art,” said Living Arts Director Steve Liggett, “and to turn people on to what is going on around the country.” The “cream of the crop” installations and performances come to Tulsa for three weeks, February 17 through March 3, allowing the audiences to view several events. Liggett said the expanded schedule will permit audience members to come to Tulsa for a series of weekend experiences. The 19th year promises to be the largest to date. The Living Arts annual event is unique, he said, and it is “quite nice” to bring such an important opportunity to this part of the country and he is proud to have the opportunity to encourage local artists to expand and explore. It has evolved into a multi-event festival from a smaller one weekend event. The first year featured talented artists and performers from the Oklahoma area, but since that time Liggett has worked to bring in nationally and internationally recognized individuals and groups.


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Performers are invited to participate following the review by several selections committees. Those interested submit proposals and Liggett travels to several prominent festivals around the United States where he invites some of the best artists to submit proposals. By seeing their work and the work being produced nationwide he is able to assemble an exciting variety. The benefit to the community and local artists is to stimulate new thinking and ways of seeing art. Liggett’s goal is to bring new types of art to Tulsa, to expose the audience to new ideas, and bring awareness to what is being produced outside of Oklahoma. Area visual artists will have opportunities to attend workshops, lectures and assist with the set-up of installations while learning from these internationally recognized artists of many disciplines. It is expensive for artists to travel the nation to attend master’s workshops. Liggett said Living Arts and the event sponsors are bringing them here. “My hope is for artists from our community to take these workshops and gain from the experience and then use it in their own work,” Liggett said.

The goal is to create an atmosphere of collaboration and development of cross disciplinary art work. This is what Living Arts LAB is about, Liggett said. It is a place for research and development. This year’s performances include: tEEth’s Home Made, an exploration in music, dance and live video on the joys and difficulties of relationships between a man and a woman spanning a 14 year relationship. They will feature two dancers, two musicians and an original score. This performance does contain nudity and parental guidance is strongly suggested. Visit www. to catch a glimpse of their brilliant performance about the struggle of a relationship. Video sAVant combines music, video and movement to produce a “Spontaneous Cinema” performance. The sound, dancers and video images take cues from each other in an improvisational format to create a oneof-a-kind experience. Charles Woodman will work with four dancers and four classically trained musicians at the Living Arts LAB to create this new contemporary artwork. To see examples of their unique style visit www.

A performance installation by Erica Mott, Revised and Revisited, will utilize puppetry, chalkboards and chalk cloth costumes to bring awareness and trace memories of a fragmented past history of immigration, adoptions or a lost contact with a family member. This performance can be previewed at Kathy Rose has a long history of multimedia work. Liggett said in her new work, The Cathedral of Emptiness, she combines costumes masks and video arts. Through the projection of video and elaborate costumes she creates a surreal environment. She describes it as “floating hands and figures, eerily surrounding” her as she emerges from a rich landscape of light. Excerpt from her previous performances can be viewed at Lindsey Allgood is a performance artist studying at the University of Oklahoma.

Her latest work is titled Palpitations. She has performed at MAINSITE Gallery in Norman and is part of the Living Arts statewide committee for performance art. Sponsors of New Genre include The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, National Performance Network, Mid America Arts Alliance, mediaThe Foundation, Jean Ann and Tom Fausser, Tulsa Performing Arts Center Trust, Walsh Branding and Wallace Engineering. Things will evolve and change with everything that is Living so, as always, check the website for details: n

Sheri Ishmael Waldrop is a freelance writer and photographer from Sapulpa, and the director for Sapulpa Arts. Kathy Rose, Philadelphia, PA, The Cathedral of Emptiness, Performance

On Stage Feb 17 & 18 - tEEth’s Home Made. 8 p.m., Williams Theater in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $15 for members, students and seniors and may be purchased through the PAC ticket office. Feb 24 & 25 - Video sAVant, 8 p.m., Doenges Theater of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for members and seniors. Tickets may be purchased by calling the PAC ticket office. Feb 24 & 25 - Erica Mott, Revised and Revisited, 8 p.m , Liggett Studio, 314 S. Kenosha. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $8 for members and seniors. March 2 & 3 - alternating in the Nightingale Theater at 8 and 10 p.m. Kathy Rose, The Cathedral of Emptiness Lindsey Allgood, Palpitations Workshops and Demonstrations Pre-registration is suggested by February 13 for all demonstrations and workshops, space is limited. Additional information can be found online at

Feb 14 - tEEth - a workshop with area youth and ArtCore Studio students. Feb 18 – tEEth - 1 to 5 p.m. at Liggett Studio, will work with the Oklahoma community in Creating Collaborative Work Feb 22 & 23 - Video sAVant, Charles Woodman will hold a collaborative workshop with musicians and dancers. Feb 23 – Erica Mott will hold a public Master Class with ArtCore students in “object transformation and producing new dance with objects”. Feb 26 – Erica Mott will hold a second workshop from 1 to 4 p.m. focusing on constructing new works based on personal experiences of cultural erasure. Feb 28 - Benjamin Entner’s will hold a demonstration on the building of inflatable sculptural environments from Tyvek, 5 to 7 p.m. Participants will also be invited to help build his graphite rubbed inflatable environment. Feb 28 - Laura Tanner will present a public talk on “Creating Installation Artwork” from 5 to 7 p.m.

March 2 – Kathy Rose will hold a discussion about her work and the use of film, video, sound and costumes in her performances. March 3 - Kathy Rose will meet with ArtCore students and the general public from 5 to 7 p.m. In the Gallery at Living Arts Space Closing Feb 24 Hack Art Group in the South Gallery, with their site specific installation You Complete Me. Eye 4 Eye in the North Gallery, an exhibit examining how artists feel about capital punishment. Living Arts partners with the Tulsa Opera for the new production Dead Man Walking. Opening March 2 Benjamin Entner, Untitled in the South Gallery. Entner describes his work as driven by ideas and curiosities, and he tries to utilize the best tools to address his curiosity. Laura Tanner, Darned Delicates in the North Gallery. Tanner creates what she calls “quilts” from mixed media. Her installation will combine paper, inks, cotton thread, vellum papers, etc. They will continue through March 24.

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Cinema and Canvas: Creating a Full Circle of Art


by Barbara L. Eikner

Many years ago, Clark and Michelle Wiens had an idea to bring select top of the line films to Tulsa theatres. The idea was sparked during Michelle’s work for the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation of the University of Southern California, where she realized the true power of film while video recording the testimonies of holocaust survivors. Michelle conducted the interviews while Clark served as videographer assistant. During their work on this project, the Wiens’ developed a relationship with the Jewish Federation, later partnering with the Federation to bring films to Tulsa. Their vision was to ensure that the core message of the films was tolerance and diversity and to involve youth. Understanding the power and impact film can have on people to change the world for the better, the couple moved forward on developing a proposal to make their vision a reality. Their proposal was presented to a number of individuals and groups including the Tulsa Public Schools and the Tulsa Junior League. When the Circle Cinema building at 12 S. Lewis in the Kendall Whittier District of Tulsa, Oklahoma became available, the original idea expanded to a full time, 7 day a week movie theater. In October 2004, after securing financing, hard work, community support, volunteer sweat and muscle it became the official home of the Circle Cinema Foundation. CCF is a non-profit and independent movie theatre with historic preservation. Michelle’s favorite program is the Red Balloon Project with the 1st graders of Kendall Whittier Elementary School. This program is held annually with each new first grade class. The classes walk to the Circle Cinema to watch the movie, The Red Balloon, 1956. The students also learn movie theater etiquette, concepts of film, view the projector and a 35 mm reel of film. In addition, the special gift at the end of the program for all the students is a red balloon. Christo and Jeanne-Claude visit the Circle Cinema in Tulsa.


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Clark and Michelle have attended film festivals including the Sundance and Toronto International Film Festivals and have met such filmmakers as Michael Moore and Albert Maysles. Michelle, a filmmaker in her own right, created In Their Own Words, featuring five Holocaust survivors with ghetto and camp experiences who later settled in Oklahoma. This film is currentlv showing at the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Arts in Tulsa. Clark received the 2009 Tilghman Award from the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle, “For outstanding support of independent, foreign and art films in Oklahoma and for raising film consciousness in the state.” The award is given annually to the Oklahoman who OFCC members decide has produced work constituting a significant contribution to the film industry and raising awareness of Oklahoma as a state with a large number of talented men and women working in all aspects of film and film-related media. The Circle Cinema also hosts art exhibits in the lobby gallery, collaborating with artists, local arts organizations and foundations and as a community partner with Tulsa Public Schools. Their goal is simply to combine art and film whenever there is a chance to inspire people. Michelle, who serves as Art Gallery Director, said, “The Circle Cinema gallery was created to make art accessible to all who come to the Circle Cinema because we believe art enhances and expands our world. It is our goal to support new and local artists. We seek opportunities to combine film and art. We look for but do not limit ourselves to exhibits relating to movies, the city of Tulsa, state of Oklahoma, Route 66, as well as community consciousness, diversity, tolerance and human rights.”

Artists present talks, host opening receptions and mingle with patrons and moviegoers. Whether you’re a film enthusiast, art lover or both, everyone will have an opportunity to be educated, enlightened or entertained. The film and art community have embraced the vision of CCF. Its Reach Across Program collaborates with over thirty organizations to include Alliance Francaise De Tulsa, Tulsa Global Alliance, Philbrook Museum and others. The CCF has expanded their cultural film offering to include books, opera, ballet and science. Michelle is proud of the services and programs that CCF has offered to others and believes as long as they continue to do the right thing, people will see, learn and be inspired. Upcoming art exhibitions at the Circle Gallery include paintings by Matt Moffett, on display now through January 15; collages by Jack Willis, January 19-February 26; and OVAC’s Tulsa Art Studio Tour Exhibit, March 1-April 1. More information about the Circle Cinema can be found on their website at n

Barbara L. Eikner is owner of Trabar & Associates, author of Dirt and Hardwood Floors and can be reached at or 918-645-4508. Photos by Chuck Foxen.

Since the gallery opening, over twenty-five artists have exhibited in the Circle Gallery. Some of them include Andy Zaller, Sarah Diggdon, Erich Minton and Zak Helmerich. Ongoing annual exhibits include Tulsa Girls Art School and OVAC’s Tulsa Art Studio Tour Exhibit.

The art gallery at Circle Cinema.

The Circle Cinema at 10 S. Lewis Ave. in Tulsa.

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Local Impact on an International Dialogue: The Native American Art Studies Association 18th Biennial Conference by Samantha Still

The Grand Hall of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, host of the Native American Art Studies Association Conference receptions and award ceremonies.

In October, I was honored to present my research on artist George Morrison at the 18th Biennial Native American Art Studies Association (NAASA) conference in Ottawa, ON, Canada. nAASA exists to encourage the study of Native North American art. Members of the group include artists, art historians, curators, art critics, anthropologists, and others who are actively involved in the study of Native American art. The biennial conference, which was held in Norman, OK in 2009, is an opportunity for members to congregate in an effort to share research and perhaps accelerate the dialogue surrounding Native art discourse. Some of the “super stars” in attendance include Comanche curator, author, and essayist, Paul Chaat Smith, Duskegee/Dine photographer Hulleah


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Tsinhnahjinnie, art historian Bill Anthes, and the University of Oklahoma’s very own W. Jackson Rushing III. Anyone who’s ever been to an academic conference, or any conference for that matter, knows that not every presentation, or even every session, can be a slam dunk. But, at this year’s NAASA conference I had the opportunity to attend several very stimulating sessions. Barbara Brotherton, Curator of Native American Art at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), presented a paper titled “Curating Contemporary Responses: Quileute and Twilight” in which she asked, “What role might museums play in creating opportunities for indigenous communities to respond to current events?” In her paper, Brotherton showed how the SAM and

the Quileute Nation of Washington State partnered to squash misrepresentations of the Quileute in the Twilight saga through the exhibition “Behind the Scenes: The Real Story of the Quileute Wolves.” Sam Watson, Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan presented a paper titled “Outing the Tupilak: A Case for Queering the Discourse” which was a welcome breath of fresh air in the middle of a very long day. Tupilaks are carved beings believed to hold supernatural powers made by the Inuit of East Greenland. In his paper, Watson combined his own biography with the critical analysis of a group of objects to present how methodological practices commonly associated with Queer theory led him to a unique understanding of tupilaks.

Perhaps one of the most stimulating sessions was one dedicated to artist presentations, during which I learned of the work of experimental media artist Bear Witness, and his work with the Canada based DJ collective, A Tribe Called Red. Witness combines dubstep beats with video mash ups of scenes from Hollywood Westerns and other pop culture sources. not long after his artist talk I had the opportunity to see his multimedia work, Electric Pow Wow Drum, in a gallery setting, an experience that was both entrancing and deeply stimulating. In Electric Pow Wow Drum, layered electronic sounds and traditional drum circle chants are played against a video collage of scenes from the film Dead Man and more traditional Westerns to respond to the painful history of Colonialism in North America. In a word, this work is voltaic. One doesn’t often consider the impact of local art and scholarship on the national or international scenes, but I can assure you that Oklahoma is well represented within the relatively niche group of artists and scholars who attend NAASA conferences. Many contemporary Native American artists whose work has greatly influenced the discourse have, at one point or another, called Oklahoma home. These artists include Allan Houser, T.C. Cannon, Horace Poolaw and the Kiowa Five. At this year’s conference, the University of Oklahoma had no less than 5 representative scholars in attendance. Reflecting upon this year’s NAASA conference, I suppose I’ve come away reaffirmed of the importance of the professional relationship between artist and scholar. Furthermore, it is my conviction that this relationship is mutually beneficial. Artists supply intellectual fodder to art historians, critics and curators, and, in turn, these scholars hold the potential to advance artistic careers through publications, critical analysis, and exhibitions. Admittedly, this relationship can often be complicated, but in many cases, the benefit outweighs the cost. After all, isn’t all publicity good publicity? In graduate school, while working on my MA in art history, I was always surprised by the lack of camaraderie between the art historians and the studio artists. I was often jealous that the studio kids held regular critiques, but was never confident enough to assume that my own critiques were helpful.

(above) Wolf headdress, late 19th century. Featured in the exhibition Behind the Scenes: The Real Story of the Quileute Wolves at the Seattle Art Museum (below) Installation of Electric Pow Wow Drum by Bear Witness at the Native American Art Studies Association Conference in Ottawa, ON, Canada

Ideally, I would have welcomed a critique session open to all studio artists and art historians. It has been my experience that burgeoning art historians are often intimidated to talk to living artists about their work, and that many young artists rarely have the chance for critique outside of the classroom. Forming these relationships early holds the potential to positively impact both careers and further both local and international dialogues. n

Samantha Still received her MA in Art History from the University of Oklahoma. She currently works as the Volunteer and Office Coordinator at OVAC.

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Ask a Creativity Coach:

by Romney Nesbitt

Don’t Shoot Yourself In The Foot Dear Romney, I’ve heard the term “self-sabotage,” is that the same as procrastination?

Signed, Curious

Dear Curious, Procrastination is simply delaying an action until “later.” A procrastinator says, “I know I should be working, but I’m just not in the mood right now.” The procrastinator is aware of the consequences of inaction. Self-sabotage is sneakier. You may not realize you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Self-sabotage is when you unconsciously place obstacles in your path that delay or undermine the completion of your goal. Your “obstacle” may be negative (food or alcohol), positive (exercise or household chores) or entertaining (Facebook, YouTube etc.). Procrastination delays positive action, but self-sabotage delays action and when taken to the extreme, creates new problems. For example, you’re in your studio and you feel hungry, but you’re not really hungry. That buzzy feeling in your stomach isn’t hunger--it’s anxiety, self-doubt or fear related to your art career, and a cookie won’t make it go away. Snacking to quell anxiety can morph into compulsive comfort eating resulting in additional problems such as body dissatisfaction, health problems, etc. We engage in self-sabotaging behaviors because we’re trying to replace a bad feeling with a good feeling. During the day we experience emotional highs and lows in the same way we feel energetic or sluggish at different times of the day. When we experience a low feeling (triggered by an event or memory) we want to make it go away. To distract yourself from the thought you may reach for a glass of wine or an Oreo.


business of art

Remember a negative feeling is not Truth with a capital “T”—it’s just a temporary emotional dip that will pass in a few minutes. Wait it out. Your work is too important to be derailed by a passing thought. 6 Steps to Stop Self-Sabotage: Pay attention to what you do when you feel anxious. Ask, “Is this action helping me reach my goals?” Recognize that feelings are temporary. Wait it out. Act in a new way. Adopt a mantra such as “My career goals are worth my best effort in this moment.” Reward your efforts. Pay yourself every time you don’t revert to your old self-sabotaging behavior. Use the money to pay for an art workshop. Give yourself time to change your behavioral patterns. n Romney Nesbitt is a Creativity Coach and author of Secrets from a Creativity Coach. She welcomes your comments and questions at romneynesbitt@ Book her to speak to your group through OVAC’s ARTiculate Speakers Bureau.

At a Glance

Don’t Forget to Breathe

(left) Jennifer Libby Fay, Fayetteville, AR, Cast Your Fate to the Wind, Dye on cloth, 32” x 32” (right) Tumbling Vine No. 1, Dye on cloth, 15” x 15”

by Janice McCormick

“A Great Calm” is how one viewer sums up the emotional atmosphere in Jennifer Libby Fay’s exhibit Don’t Forget to Breathe at the Tulsa Artists’ Coalition gallery during the month of November 2011. Indeed, that is precisely the artist’s intent. As her artist statement says, “… I am interested in exploring the relationship between art, nature and spirituality. Despite the complexity of my subject matter, my goal is to find peace in a confusing and precarious world; to project a calm, contemplative atmosphere in my work.” She succeeds admirably through her dyed textile pieces. Fay distills nature’s fragile and yet powerful life-force down to simple, organic leaf forms – be that of tree branches, twining vines, or fern fronds. The pastel

shades of blues, pinks, greens, yellows and oranges seep into the fabric creating soft atmospheric backdrops for the leaves and evoke the passage of time through the seasons of the year. In Tumbling Vine #2, for example, a light green leafy branch floating against the baby blue sky calls to mind spring. In contrast, slightly burnt oranges and browns of Don’t Forget to Breathe, and Leaf Dance convey an autumnal feel. Call of the Leaves embodies the transition from autumn to winter. The left side consists of two fern fronds ranging from yellow-orange to orange to dark reddish orange. There are touches of blue as well as patches of light and dark greens. The right side contains two ghost-like fronds in pale

gray set against an even paler gray. In the center, a solid strip of gray overlaps both sides, subduing the bright colors on the left and amplifying the somber grays on the right. A leafless vine winds up the far right side, hemming in the gray fronds as if in death. All in all, Fay creates a sanctuary in which the viewer can contemplate the flow of nature and find solace in the intimate space of the Tulsa Artists’ Coalition’s gallery. n

Janice McCormick is an art reviewer who has been writing about art in Tulsa and Oklahoma since 1990. Currently she teaches philosophy part-time at Tulsa Community College. She can be reached at

at a glance



Thank you to our New and Renewing Members from September and October 2011 Robert Adams Lori Bacigalupi and James Young Phyllis and Darrell Baker Tommy Ball Mark Bishop Sarah Black Jason Blankenship Elyse Bogart Amanda Borchardt Betty C. Bowen Chandra and Steve Boyd Greg Brown Myers Campbell Carla Chew Myra Cleveland Karen L. Collier and John Calabro Erin Cooper Bryan Dahlvang Dorothy Dinsmoor Ronnie Dollar Clara Edmon Michael Elizondo Jr Beverly K. Fentress Joey and Al Frisillo JoAnna Garza Glen Gentele and Shannon Fitzgerald 28

ovac news

JoAnn and Helen Giddens Janet Goertz Ashley Griffith Dawn Grooms Curtis R. Gruel Debbie Haggard Burt Harbison Sarah Harless Mark Hatley Alllyson Hedgpath Edwin Helm Heather Clark Hilliard Michael Hoffner John Hill and David Holland Kenneth Hoving Cybele Hsu Kaylee Huerta Pamela Husky Stephanie Jackson F. Bradley Jessop Kathy Jones Kalee Jones Michael Jones Barbara and Keith Keel Debbie Langston Leann Leach Bobby Lee Mark Lewis Monika Linehan

Ruby Loftin Jean Longo Kristina Makowicz Tyson Manning Cynthia Marcoux Donna Matles Paul Mays Jan Meng Dominique Midgett Aaron Miller Carla Miller Ashlea Mobly Suzanne and Ken Morris Gregory Motto Debbie Musick Don C. narcomey Traami Nguyen Oklahoma City Museum of Art Christie Owen Ronna Pernell Carly Perry Eric Piper Mary Jane Porter Tyler Prahl Gretchen Rehfeld Donna Robillard Nancy Roper Deborah Ross Mary Ruggles

Diane Salamon Matt Seikel and Denise Duong Byron Shen Chris and Abigail Shofner Frank Simons Sandy and Bob Sober Leigh Victoria Standingbear Joyce and Earl Statton Anita Tackett Brittni Trimble Margo Tuck Diana Tunnell University of Oklahoma School of Art and Art History Jason Wallace Paul Walsh Crystal Walters Sharon Webster Brittany Weemes Raymond Weilacher Nancy Werneke Patricia White Kelsey Willis Kimberly Wood May Yang Amy Young Harrison Zahn


January | February 2012

OVAC Interns Krystle Brewer, Sarah Day-Short and Frances Hymes volunteering at the 12x12 Art Fundraiser. Photo by Candace Coker.

OVAC announces a new exhibition Concept/ OK: Art in Oklahoma. Featuring all media of visual art and open to practicing Oklahoma artists, Concept/OK will debut in December 2012 at the new Tulsa Arts and Humanities Council’s Hardesty Arts Center. OVAC released the call for artists with two artist deadlines: January 20, 2012 for Residency proposals and August 1, 2012 for the Survey & Focus entries. Information can be found online at or call our offices for a hard copy. In all the hullabaloo about OVAC Program Assistant Stephanie Ruggles Winter’s 10th anniversary at OVAC, we neglected to tout our Associate Director Kelsey Karper’s 5th anniversary. As you read Art Focus Oklahoma or look at our website, know that we could not offer the services we do without Karper’s leadership. Besides stewarding our public profile and excellent publications, Karper serves artists in all ways possible as a resourceful and clever advocate. Thanks Kelsey for a great five years! The Oklahoma Art Writing and Curatorial Fellowship activates again in January with the second cohort of 12 Fellows. The first public event, Impacting Contemporary Culture Through Curatorial Practice: Three Perspectives, will be February 18, 1-3 pm at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. The panel includes Elizabeth Dunbar, Dana Turkovic, and Hamza Walker

Award-winning artists with curators Brian Hearn and Waylon Summers at Momentum Tulsa 2011.

and is moderated by Shannon Fitzgerald. The Oklahoma Art Writing & Curatorial Fellowship aims to train promising writers and curators by expanding their professional education and experience through this distinctive, yearlong program. See www. for more on the program, Fellows and Mentors. Please join us. Momentum Tulsa flourished in October. The exhibition featured 66 artists and the opening was overflowing with 500 attendees. Thank you to our gallery partner Living Arts of Tulsa, curator Brian Hearn and emerging curator Waylon Summers, and our outstanding committee led by Tommy Ball and Emily Kern. We have been so lucky to have four budding artists on our team the last four months. Thank you Frances, Katelyn, Krystle and Sarah for interning with OVAC this Fall. Frances Hymes is completing a degree in studio art with an emphasis in entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. Frances served as the publication intern and we loved having her help in all aspects of Art Focus. Katelyn Roberts is completing her fine arts degree at Oklahoma Baptist University. Katelyn has been great help in creating artist profiles for our blog, where you can read posts by both Frances and Katelyn. Krystle Brewer is an artist living and working in Oklahoma City. She was

great help in researching and compiling our granting history. Krystle is currently setting her sights towards graduate school and we wish her the best of luck. It has also been a pleasure working with local artist Sarah DayShort. Sarah’s work was featured in 24 Works on Paper, and can be seen in venues across Oklahoma City. Thank you all for your hard work and creativity! Art People Last issue we bid farewell to retiring Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Suzanne Tate. This issue we get to welcome the new director, Kim Baker. Baker has served on the Council staff or 18 years. The Oklahoma Arts Council is a state agency that that supports and leads in the development of the state’s arts and cultural industry. We are pleased to work with Baker in this new position. Emily Kern has been named Executive Director of the Brady Craft Alliance. The first director, Kern brings experience as an artist, entrepreneur and curator. Preparing for a new gallery space, the Brady Craft Alliance works to make Tulsa a premier destination for fine craft. We are proud that Kern is a past OVAC intern and Momentum Spotlight Artist and thrilled to have her as a colleague.

ovac news


Gallery Listings & Exhibition Schedule


El Reno

24 Works on Paper January 1-31 John Cox February 17 - March 16 The Pogue Gallery Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center 900 Centennial Plaza (580) 559-5353

The Art of Michelle HimesMcCroy Through January 28 2011 Gordon Parks Photography Competition Finalist Exhibition February 7 – March 4 Redlands Community College (405) 262-2552

Rob Vander Zee February 1 – March 9 The Goddard Center 401 First Avenue SW (580) 226-0909



Bartlesville Greta Magnusson Grossman: A Car and Some Shorts January 20 – May 6 Price Tower Arts Center 510 Dewey Ave. (918) 336-4949

Edmond Farm Life: A Century of Change for Farm Families and their Neighbors January 26 – March 16 Edmond Historical Society & Museum 431 S. Boulevard (405) 340-0078

Keith Murray Reception January 7, 7–9 The Leslie Powell Foundation and Gallery 620 D Avenue (580) 357-9526

Norman Chocolate Festival January 28 Firehouse Art Center 444 South Flood (405) 329-4523 98th Annual School of Art & Art History Student Exhibition January 20 – February 12 Highlights from the Permanent Collection of Photography, Part 1 January 27 – April 29

Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art 555 Elm Ave. (405) 325-4938 Student Painting Exhibition January 16 – 27 Reception January 20 Invitational Artist Joe Delappe Show February 3 – 17 Reception February 3 2nd Annual Art from the Heart February 14 Competitive Student Exhibition February 22 – 29 Reception February 24 Lightwell Gallery, University of Oklahoma 520 Parrington Oval (405) 325-2691

Oklahoma City Art Now January 20, 7-11 City Arts Center 3000 General Pershing Blvd. (405) 951-0000 Juror’s Choice January 1-29 Opening January 6, 6-10 Contemporary Realism Opening February 3, 6-10

JRB Art at the Elms 2810 North Walker (405) 528-6336 Brent Learned East Gallery, Through February 12 Carol Beesley East Gallery, February 20-April 22 Caryl Morgan North Gallery, Through February 5 MJ Alexander North Gallery, February 13-April 15 Dan Garrett Governor’s Gallery, Through February 19 Oklahoma State Capitol Galleries 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd (405) 521-2931 Princely Treasures: European Masterpieces February 16 – May 13 Oklahoma City Museum of Art 415 Couch Drive (405) 236-3100

Park Hill Brother V. Brother, Sesquincentennial of the Civil War Through April 15

Ted Ramsay, Ann Arbor, MI, Day Dream, Acrylic on canvas, 36” x 48” on display at the Gardiner Art Gallery at Oklahoma State University January 9-February 3.


gallery guide

Cherokee National Historical Society, Inc. 21192 S. Keeler Drive (918) 456-6007

Shawnee The Nativity: Etchings from the 16th and 17th Century Through January 22 Pictorial Rugs of the Orient February 3 – March 25 Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art 1900 West Macarthur (405) 878-5300

Stillwater Ted Ramsay: New Paintings January 9 - February 3 Reception December 12, 5-6 Artist Lecture, 6-7 pm Lubna Agha’s Points of Reference: Paintings Cite Islamic Visual Legacy February 8 – March 2 Reception, February 9th, 5-6 Artist Lecture, 6-7 Gardiner Art Gallery Oklahoma State University 108 Bartlett University (405) 744-6016

Lubna Agha, Brookline, MA, Two Bowls, Acrylic on wood, 19” x 35” on display at the Gardiner Art Gallery of Oklahoma State University February 8-March 2.

Tulsa Marty Coleman January 6 – 26 Living Artspace 307 E. Brady (918) 585-1234 Black on Black & White: The Southwest of Laura Gilpin and Maria Martinez February 5 – April 15 The Philbrook Museum of Art 2727 South Rockford Road (918) 749-7941

Yiren Gallagher January Mazen Abufadil February Tulsa Artists Coalition Gallery 9 East Brady (918) 592-0041 Karen Kunc: Prints January 12 – February 15 Artist Lecture and Reception, January 19, 4 pm Alexandre Hogue Gallery Phillips Hall, The University of Tulsa 2930 E. 5th St. (918) 631-2739

Become a member of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition! Join today to begin enjoying the benefits of membership, including a subscription to Art Focus Oklahoma. Sustaining $250 -Listing on signage at events -Invitation to private reception with visiting curators -All of below Patron $100 -Acknowledgement in the Resource Guide and Art Focus Oklahoma -Copy of each OVAC exhibition catalog -All of below Family $55 -Same benefits as Individual for two people in household Individual $35 -Subscription to Art Focus Oklahoma -Inclusion in online Virtual Gallery -Monthly e-newsletter of visual art events statewide -Monthly e-newsletter of opportunities for artists -Receive all mailed OVAC call for entries and invitations -Artist entry fees waived for OVAC sponsored exhibitions -Listing in Annual Resource Guide and Member Directory -Copy of Annual Resource Guide and Member Directory -Access to “Members Only” area on OVAC website -Up to 50% discount on Artist Survival Kit workshops -Invitation to Annual Meeting Student $20 -Valid student ID required. Same benefits as Individual level.


MEMBER FORM ¨ Sustaining

¨ Patron

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Name Street Address City, State, Zip Email Website Credit card (MC or Visa Only) Credit card #

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

ArtOFocus k l a h o m a Annual Subscriptions to Art Focus Oklahoma are free with membership to the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition.

730 W. Wilshire Blvd, Suite 104 Oklahoma City, OK 73116

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The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition supports Oklahoma’s visual arts and artists and their power to enrich communities. Visit to learn more. U pcoming Events Jan 4: Concept/OK Artist Info Session, Tulsa Jan 7: Concept/OK Artist Info Session, OKC Jan 15: OVAC Grants for Artists Deadline Jan 20: Concept/OK Residency Proposal Deadline Jan 31: Momentum OKC Artist Entry Deadline Feb 25: ASK Workshop: Making Your Art Presentation Ready

January Juror’s Choice Tommy Lee Ball, Ginna Dowling, Doug Elder, Grace Grothaus, Trent Lawson, Ruth Borum Loveland, Bob Nunn, Marty Ray

Opening Reception: FRIDAY, JANUARY 6 6 - 10 PM


Contemporary Realism Jason Cytacki, Tracey Harris, Sara Scribner, Mike Wimmer

Opening Reception: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3 6 - 10 PM Gallery Hours: Mon - Sat 10 am - 6 pm Sun 1 pm - 5 pm

2810 North Walker Phone: 405.528.6336




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