Art Focus Oklahoma, March/April 2011

Page 10

Momentum Spotlight 2011 by Sasha Spielman

Garlic, buffalos, and a parachute: all three are key elements in the artists’ projects which are part of the upcoming Momentum Spotlight. Every year, the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC) selects three artists, 30 years of age or younger, to showcase original work for Momentum Spotlight, a part of the annual Momentum: Art Doesn’t Stand Still exhibition. The exhibition and event will be March 4-5, 2011 from 8-midnight each night in Oklahoma City. Each Momentum Spotlight artist receives a $1,750 honorarium and the opportunity to work with distinct curators as mentors. This year, the Momentum Spotlight artists are Sarah Engel, JP Morrison and Alexandra Knox. Erinn Gavaghan, Director of Norman Art Council and Momentum Emerging Curator, said about the three artists, “I love them! All three are producing vastly different work from each other and yet they share a common maturity that isn’t always seen in young artists.” Sarah Engel, an art student at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, is working to wow the public with her project called Ghosts of Buffaltopia Past, Present, and Future. Through her exhibit, Engel, an Oklahoma native, reflects on the abrupt changes in technology and environment leaving devastating damages to the buffalo population. “The pieces for the Momentum show will culminate in an exhibit somewhere between art and natural history museum display,” Engel said. “It will feature the buffalo’s great artwork, maps, historical photographs and artifacts.”

Collaging images, from the first buffalo on the moon to the homeless buffalo living on the streets, Engel’s exhibit tells the story of what the world would look like if humans lived as refugees, as they nearly go extinct, while another species ruled our planet. Clint Stone, Director of IAO Gallery and lead Momentum Curator, said, “I look forward to observing how she will use her problemsolving skills as she combines a physiological understanding, her own imagination and a bit of whimsy to create a pseudo-natural history exhibition.” JP Morrison’s exhibit bares the title Mono-no-aware, the Japanese term for the “ahh-ness” of things. In her project, Morrison will create an environment for the viewer by mounting a parachute symbolizing the Heavens, light bulbs as the clouds, and a reliquary containing two self-portrait paintings. Morrison said the showcase is deeply personal and she is using her personal life experiences as an inspiration. “It’s about my own internalizing and externalizing of the world,” she said. “I have no desire to create a piece that seems self-indulgent, but I do want to explore the way I deal with life.” Morrison, who works primarily in two-dimensional media, received her BFA from the Kansas City Arts Institute. However, after graduation she moved back to Oklahoma and decided to experiment and create three-dimensional environments which incorporate her two-dimensional work.

(left) JP Morrison, Bixby, Through the Looking Glass, Colored pencil and acrylic on board, 24” x 18”. (right) JP Morrison in her Bixby studio, working with pieces of glass that will create portals within her self-portrait works for Momentum Spotlight.


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