Art Focus Oklahoma, May/June 2010

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ArtOFocus k l a h o m a

Okl 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 5 N o . 3

May/June 2010

art 365:

Grace Grothaus p. 22

Drawing by Emma Ann Robertson.

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If you haven’t already experienced the variety that exists amongst the artists and art in Oklahoma, I hope this issue will be your introduction. We’ve explored artists and exhibitions in small towns and large cities across the state, from Idabel to Sapulpa, Ardmore to Tulsa. You’ll find artists working with abstract color fields (pg 18) as well as super realistic nature scenes (pg 13). The artists included in this issue are unafraid of exploring new techniques and experimenting to find the right media for their message. Marilyn Artus (pg 4) combines photo-collages with painstakingly precise hand-embroidery and Erin Turner (pg 8) recently created a large installation using newspaper and waterfilled plastic bags.

Also in this issue, we introduce the first in a series of articles on the artists selected for the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s Art 365 exhibition. Art 365 will open in March 2011 at [ArtSpace] at Untitled in Oklahoma City, before traveling to Tulsa and other venues. Five Oklahoma artists were selected from an open call for proposals to create new projects or bodies of work for the exhibition. They will each receive a $12,000 honorarium and guidance from guest curator Shannon Fitzgerald as they work over the next year in preparation for the exhibition. Featured in this issue is Grace Grothaus from Tulsa (pg 22), who is creating a series of backlit, abstract landscape paintings showing the relationship between organic systems and industrial modifications over time. The other selected artists are Aaron Hauck (Ada), Geoffrey Hicks (Tulsa), Liz Rodda (Norman) and Frank Wick (Norman). Watch for more about these artists in coming issues. I hope that this journey through some of Oklahoma’s artistic variety will inspire you to get out and experience it first-hand. Let me know where your adventures take you.

Kelsey Karper

Art OFocus k l a h o m a 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 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: The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition supports visual artists living and working in Oklahoma and promotes public interest and understanding of the arts. 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 2009-2010: R.C. Morrison, Bixby; Richard Pearson, Rick Vermillion, Edmond; Jennifer Barron, Susan Beaty, Stephen Kovash (President), Paul Mays, Suzanne Mitchell (Vice President), Carl Shortt, Suzanne Thomas, Christian Trimble, Elia Woods (Secretary), Eric Wright, Oklahoma City; Joey Frisillo, Sand Springs; Anita Fields, Stillwater; F. Bradley Jessop, Sulphur; Cathy Deuschle, Elizabeth Downing, Jean Ann Fausser (Treasurer) 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. © 2010, Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. All rights reserved. View this issue online at

On the Cover Grace Grothaus, Tulsa, Systemic 2, Mylar, Duralar, leaves, photo, acrylic, ink, 30”x18”x8”



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Profile: Marilyn Artus

Oklahoma City artist Marilyn Artus combines a wide range of philosophies in her mixed media artworks.

6 Embracing the Organic Experience

Traci Martin of Ardmore expresses a sense of the organic in a variety of media including drawing, painting and photography.

8 Behind Bars: A Profile of Erin Turner

A young Tulsa artist finds inspiration in her experiences working with at-risk and formerly incarcerated women.


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10 Bryan Boone’s Lost Futures Shows Promise at Istvan Gallery

An exhibit at an Oklahoma City gallery displays paintings which meander through the borders between man and nature, abstract and figurative.

13 Avian Art

An Idabel exhibition shows exceptional international work exploring the individuality of the ubiquitous bird.

15 Colonial Spanish American Collections in Oklahoma

The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee features its collection of Colonial Spanish American art.

18 Art is in Her Nature: Paintings by Kim Fonder at Aberson Exhibits

An exhibition of paintings by Tulsa artist Kim Fonder evokes the calmness and airiness of the natural world.


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20 On the Map: A Co-operative Art Gallery on Water Street

A coop gallery in Sapulpa showcases local art and offers art classes, demonstrations and gatherings of artists.

22 Art 365: Grace Grothaus

In preparation for OVAC’s Art 365 exhibition, Tulsa artist Grace Grothaus is creating backlit mixedmedia paintings exploring the history of industry and agriculture in Oklahoma.

business of art

25 Ask a Creativity Coach - What Goes Down Must Come Up

The Creativity Coach gives reasons for getting motivated in a down economy.


26 a t a g l a n c e Cleft for Me

A part of Living Arts of Tulsa’s New Genre Festival, this minimalist sculptural installation sits just outside the University of Tulsa’s School of Art.

O V AC n e w s

27 Round Up 28 Honoring OVAC Volunteers 29 New & Renewing Members 30

gallery guide


(p. 6) Traci Martin, Ardmore, Susan, Charcoal on Paper, 16”x20”; (p.10) Bryan Boone, Oklahoma City, Particles, Mixed Media on Panel, 8”x8”; (p. 13) Jonathan Sainsbury, Scotland, Apples, Oil, 34”x36” ; (p.20) Fused Glass pieces by Silk Degrees.


Marilyn Artus, Oklahoma City, I Told You This One Meant Business, Giclee Printed Collage on Canvas with Embroidery, 29”x20”

Marilyn Artus by Stephen Kovash

Oklahoma is a place of challenging contrasts. Although “common wisdom” portrays the state as a prairie wasteland, Oklahoma has both stark and beautiful scenery. Notable for both an outlaw heritage and massive natural disasters, such a harsh and beautiful place makes people sturdy and resilient. It can also lead to a reliance on fundamentalist belief systems, superstition and the supernatural. Strict boundaries and harsh judgments can help people feel safe in a world of chaos. 4

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While Oklahoma has its share of fundamentalists, other faiths are present, including those that do not believe in a higher power and those that attach importance to human dignity, concerns, capabilities and rationality. Now imagine an agnostic and a humanist producing a daughter and sending her to Catholic school in Tulsa. You might end up with a serial killer. Or Marilyn Artus. Recognizable as the organizer of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School OKC and one of the founding “Girlies” of Oklahoma City’s The Girlie Show, Artus’ first one-woman show opens at the AKA Gallery in the Paseo Arts District in Oklahoma City on Friday, June 4th from 6 – 10 pm. The show is titled Our Lady of the Anti-Personnel Weapon and her Stepford Friends and explores the artist’s concept of the crossroad where religion, femininity and the mass media converge. Artus attended public schools in Norman and Tulsa. As a high school junior, her parents enrolled her in a Tulsa Catholic school hoping to provide her a new cultural experience that would also better prepare her for college. It definitely provided a new perspective and coming from the Atheist/Humanist tradition, this was Artus’ first experience with the “comfort of faith and knowing what happens to you after death.”

modern America. For Artus, it’s a combination that makes sense. “These pieces express so many of my thoughts on religion and on the complexities of being a woman.” While strong images of the female dominate her new pieces, Artus incorporates painstakingly hand-stitched embroidery into her work. “I come from 4 generations of women who created beautiful things using a needle and cloth,” stated Artus. “’They’ say ‘create what you know.’ I am trying to define what it means to be a woman, define an aspect of the female persona and show how our experiences are unique from most men’s. I find it especially meaningful that my work includes a skill that is commonly associated with women.” The AKA Gallery is located at 3001 Paseo in Oklahoma City (, 405.606.2522. For more information on Marilyn Artus, go to n Stephen Kovash owns the Istvan Gallery at Urban Art, is an OVAC Board Member and has a day job with the Environmental Protection Agency. He can be reached at

Artus explains that she “fell in love with the Catholic faith and all of the rituals and rich imagery.” As a non-Catholic, nonreligious teenaged girl, she had “a loving and positive experience with this introduction into organized religion.” Her love affair with organized religion continued through two years of Catholic college when the world of “rational thought” began to collide with the concept of accepting everything on faith. “I always have found many of the stories and beliefs to be beautiful and ridiculous at the same time,” said Artus. “I struggle with the blood that has been shed in the name of all religions and the oppression of women in both religious writing and in actual practice.” Artus transferred to the University of Oklahoma her junior year to complete a degree in printmaking. She and her husband later moved to Oklahoma City where they currently reside. For the Our Lady exhibit, Artus explained that her work takes iconic images of women – saints and sinners, Blessed Virgins and pin-up Queens – and reinterprets their place in a sometimes brutal, “hyper-masculinized”

(above) Marilyn Artus (below) Marilyn Artus, Oklahoma City, Warning, This Could Be You, Giclee Printed Collage on Canvas with Embroidery, 21”x8.5”

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Traci Martin, Ardmore, It Is Well With My Soul, Oil on Canvas 18”x24”

Embracing the Organic Experience With a passion to change the way Oklahoma views artistic expression, Ardmore resident Traci Martin is gaining substantial recognition for her own work. Her first major solo exhibit entitled A Meditation On/ Through Colour was displayed in the Oklahoma State Capitol’s North Gallery last year. Two of her photographs were accepted into the 2010 Momentum show, hosted by the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. While her artistic background is steeped in drawing and pastels, Martin’s artistic expression is not limited to one primary medium. She also frequently finds herself working with photography, charcoal and paints, depending on the kinds of pieces she is creating. “It just evolves. I don’t know where I’ll be in a couple of years artistically,” Martin said. It is not a medium or a single creative process that unites Martin’s body of artistic work. Rather, it is a strong sense of the organic that forms the common thread. From her photographs of nature such as trees and


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by Karen Paul

jellyfish to the curved lines in her charcoal portraits and reflections in her paintings of water, Martin’s work universally illustrates a part of life that is natural and unstaged. “I like the idea of things that are organic. You’re feeling and experiencing something that has grown naturally and was meant to be,” Martin said. The idea of a natural and unstaged experience is one that extends to Martin’s other artistic endeavor, Studio 107, an Ardmore art gallery she co-owns with internationally-recognized vocal artist Susan Pfau Yeager. Martin and Yeager originally met each other in an attempt to start a support network of local artists in town. When they decided to open a gallery two years ago, they were met with an unimaginable level of support. “We had a great personal support system. Our families helped us get the gallery open. Even our landlord helped us out. He let

us have building materials from the neighboring space, which was undergoing renovation. As a result, we have all of this great reclaimed wood that we couldn’t afford otherwise. We didn’t buy a single 2’ x 4’,” Yeager said. When the gallery opened in May of 2008, the owners were greeted with an outpouring of interest from their community. “We were still getting the building ready for our grand opening when our local newspaper, ran a front page story. On opening night, we had about 400 people in attendance,” Yeager said. Studio 107 showcases the contemporary work of regional artists, but has a mission to get people in the local community engaged either physically or emotionally in the creative process. The gallery offers local hands-on workshops and a public lecture series called Art Appreciation 107. “For a lot of people, our lectures are their first exposure to understanding art, what artists do and what their pieces mean. It is interesting to see how people’s perception toward art changes over time as they begin to understand,” Yeager said.

Studio 107 also just completed its first juried show. Many of the artists whose work was accepted came from the region. “People were so excited about being accepted for our show. It was great to be able to provide a venue for other artists to express themselves,” Martin said. For Martin, the journey to full-time artist and gallery owner has been surreal and unexpected. “A few years ago, I was working full-time. I feel blessed to have the time to be an artist. It’s just amazing to feel how things have changed,” Martin said. “I am lucky for the experiences that I have had and I’m fortunate to have Susan as my partner. We have great chemistry.” n Karen Paul is a freelance writer based in Norman. She is currently working on her Master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.

(left) Traci Martin, Ardmore, Self-Portrait, Charcoal on Paper, 16”x20” (right) Studio 107 Gallery

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Erin Turner, Tulsa, Crying Women, Newspaper, chicken wire, plastic bags, and water

Behind Bars: A Profile of Erin Turner by Carolyn Deuschle

Erin Turner, a twenty-five-year old Tulsa artist, spent the past several years developing, in conjunction with Resonance Center for Women, the arts rehabilitation program Las Pajaritas for at-risk and formerly incarcerated women. Having parted ways with Resonance in 2009, she’s now working in her studio full-time and using the lessons she learned from her female friends as fodder for her own artwork. 8

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How did you get involved working with female ex-inmates and at-risk women? I never thought about prisons before, and I was talking with someone the first week I moved to Argentina in 2007 and learned about this program, La Estampa, that brought artists into prisons. I immediately contacted the guy who started the program, Fernando Bedoya, and began working for him. The whole process was really interesting, and all of the stories and poems that the women had written were really beautiful. It occurred to me that it was important work because these women were getting back the identity and self-esteem they were totally stripped of when they went into prison. It gave them a creative outlet and helped them prove to themselves that they were actually worth something. Also, La Estampa created a subcommunity that helped reframe social interactions in the prison system. Witnessing the transformative properties that art holds, I became hooked on working with this population. While working in

Argentina, I knew it was necessary to bring a similar program back to Oklahoma—the community where I am from. So after working in Argentina for eight months, I came back to Oklahoma, and was offered a position at Resonance to create a similar program as the one I worked with in Argentina. I called the program Las Pajaritas, which means “little lady birds.” How did Las Pajaritas evolve from 2007 to when you stopped working there in 2009? At Resonance I was working with at-risk women. Some of them had been in prison, and some of them hadn’t. For most women, they had experienced trauma or had addictions. It was sort of a constantly evolving program based on who showed up at the classes. What is an example of an art project or an assignment that was given to your students? The workshops were built to prompt the ladies to produce art, but they always had an underlying theme of freedom, selfexpression or meditation. One project that really resonated with a lot of the ladies was to draw a metamorphosis between a female and a bird. The wings were associated with freedom, and it became a powerful image for them to experience. Some of the ladies drew themselves cracking out of an egg or flying. It was interesting to see where they were in their life in terms of what image they were producing. It wasn’t therapy, but it could have been therapeutic. What kind of effect do you think arts rehabilitation had on the women you worked with? I learned how important it is when working with rehabilitated addicts to replace the addiction and the time that is associated with that with something that’s healthy. I think Las Pajaritas really helped the women learn to have a new interaction with adult life, and a different way to spend their time. I’ve kept in contact with a handful of the ladies who I used to work with. One woman in particular will come to my studio sometimes to paint with me. I saw such a dramatic change in her self-esteem. Las Pajaritas gave her a new way of looking at the world, as well as a different outlet for communication. Because she had always been in the drug world, her way of communicating had always been centered around drugs. How has working with these women influenced your art? Recently, I started a series of paintings that depict crying women. The paintings are graphic examples that explain why women are often incarcerated. A lot of the time their incarceration has to do with sexual abuse or domestic violence. Oklahoma is the state with the highest incarceration rate for women per capita in the world. I think it’s really important to

Erin Turner, Tulsa, Dirge, Oil on canvas, 30”x40”

rehabilitate women and to learn how the prison system has affected the women so that the problems are not perpetuated. The paintings accompany a large newspaper sculpture of a head and tears—made of plastic bags carrying water—that hang suspended in the North Corner Installation Space at Living Arts for the New Genre Festival 2010 in Tulsa. While working on your series of crying women, how did you find yourself relating to the subject matter? I constantly think of the women from Las Pajaritas, as well as from La Estampa. I want to pay homage to all of the struggles they have withstood in their lives, and for those that have their lives back, I want to celebrate their new freedom. n Carolyn Deuschle is an associate editor at Princeton Architectural Press in New York. She grew up in Tulsa.

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Bryan Boone’s Lost Futures Shows Promise at Istvan Gallery by Lisa Prior

Bryan Boone, Oklahoma City, Particles, Mixed Media on Panel, 8”x8”;


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Bryan Boone, Oklahoma City, Radius Five (Radius Series), Mixed Media on Panel, 30”x30”

Go to iTunes. Type in Franz Ferdinand (yeah, the Scottish indie band) and click on “You Could Have It So Much Better” and check out the cover art. You should see this:

This is a seismic aftershock of the Bolshevik Revolution. All of it, from the band naming itself after Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria who was assassinated in 1914, to the title of the album. I’ll swing back to this later. What you’re seeing is high-concept contemporary art, in the broadest sense of the word. These guys know how art is shaped by history and history is shaped by art and how to surf the long reaching tidal surge resulting from revolution. So, if you’re reading this article in your office cubicle in a Herman Miller chair you can trace this present moment from your ass backwards to the 22nd of January,

1905 and the first shot fired at the gates of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.

communism vs. democracy, benefited from this clean-slate aesthetic.

Constructivism is the name given to the artistic movement birthed by the frantic restructuring of Imperialist Russia to Soviet Collective. This revolutionary philosophy offered the promise of a noble Utopian future - something along the lines of “You Could Have It So Much Better” - in a world where art, architecture, film, music and designed objects were in direct constructive service to man. Sound familiar, kind of like form follows function? Stalin’s menacing imposition of Social Realism sent the movement west to Germany where the emerging democratic Weimar Republic (not long after Archduke Franz’s demise) gave eager refuge to some of Constructivist’s hall of famers including Aleksander Rodchenko, Wassily Kandinsky and El Lissitzky all of whom would end up teaching at The Bauhaus. In a cruel stroke of fate, as the Iron Curtain dropped, The Bauhaus scooped up all the accolades. Still, what is interesting is how two such diverse visions of post-imperialism,

Bryan Boone is a self-taught artist with an interest in “systems” including “mechanics, gears, architecture and everyday practical design, interesting shaped numbers and fonts,” all of which he sites as inspiration for his Radius series. While this series has all the earmarks of Constructivism (not to mention Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematism - the guy who came up with the system of painting monochromatic (mostly) circles in square canvasses) Radius fails to deliver much beyond interesting surfaces. While the scale of the work might invite the viewer in, the cool ennui of almost-slick design for design’s sake fails to allure. When I pushed through that, I was delighted to find a reward worthy of the effort: resplendent layers, veils of textures, tender subtleties of color. Boone is a fantastic painter; however, I feel the work suffers from its lack of critical relevance within a century-long aesthetic that finds it’s most popular expression in mid-century modern design and all of its lesser facsimiles. On the continued on page 12


continued from page 11 other hand, Franz’s album cover, featuring an iconic Rodchenko image with Constructivist graphic style and a title that reads like a page out of the movement’s manifesto works. The band, while not gallery artists as such, display a canny self-awareness of their place within art, art history, history, modernism, post-modernism and whatever-the-hellwe’re-going-through-right-now, that functions as high-concept art/artband along the lines of artist Guy Richard Smit’s Maxi Geil & Playcolt. Okay, I’m done being mean. The good news is, like I said before, Boone is an exceptional painter. Lost Futures fulfills the delicious promise offered by the masterstrokes of Radius. Formally and conceptually this series meanders with purpose in through the porous borders between man and nature, abstract and figurative. Boone’s use of color and texture is achingly precise in hue, opacity and application. The hard edge of road-stripe yellow on bitumen black ends abruptly at loose brush strokes of moody graygreen landscape-like forms: trees and hills lost in a thick cold mist. These small paintings dropped me right into the indecisive space of the subjective and this precision is the great strength of this series. In his statement on Lost Futures Boone writes: “Nostalgia can be a powerful emotion, but sometimes it is the beginning of something more. A logical and emotional exercise beyond the ‘what was’ and into the ‘what might have been.’” This series definitely delivers that “something more.” There is a fresh sense of authorship in Lost Futures that puts the best elements of Radius to very good use. n Lisa Prior is available for lunch.



May 13th – 16th, 2010val Tulsa’s Premiere Arts

Bryan Boone, Oklahoma City, Down the Road, Mixed Media on Panel, 20”x10”


Great Art! Great Music! Great Food!




Thursday, May 13th Friday, May 14th Saturday, May 15th Sunday, May 16th

11am – 11pm 11am – 11pm 11am – 11pm 11am – 6pm


Downtown Tulsa between Third and Sixth on Main

Admission: Free!

Mayfest is an outdoor tribute to the arts and to music. It was created to promote a broader knowledge of and appreciation for arts and humanities among serious, as well as casual, art lovers.

May 15, Saturday night: Cherry Poppin’ Daddies


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Debby Kaspari, Norman, 19th Century Quarry/Hermit Thrush, pastel, graphite, paper, 15”x22”

Avian Art by Allison Meier Noticed or not, birds are everywhere. They cling in hordes to telephone wires and make solitary morning visits to backyard feeders. Even in the middle of the ocean with no view of land, albatrosses soar over the waves. Birds in Art, currently showing at the Museum of the Red River in Idabel, explores the individuality of these ubiquitous creatures. “When you have land animals they’re just sitting or running, but birds flock and make these great shapes, they’re so animated,” said Henry Moy, director of the museum. “An artist who really captures some of that animation is just amazing.” The 60 pieces showing were selected from the 34th annual Birds in Art juried exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wasau, Wisconsin. Before working at

the Museum of the Red River, Moy was the director of museums and chair of the Museum Studies program at Beloit College in Wisconsin. He was selected to be one of the jurors for the current Birds in Art, along with Gwen Pier, executive director of the National Sculpture Society and Joshua Rose, editor of American Art Collector and Western Art Collector magazines. While the Museum of the Red River is known for its ethnographic collections, it is in the center of a popular birding area and fills an artistic void in Southeastern Oklahoma. “We are the largest exhibition art facility in any direction,” Moy said. “We have a responsibility to introduce our audiences to a broad range of art, so we commit to doing a modern and contemporary show each year.”

Birds in Art visited the museum three years ago and was one of its more popular exhibits due to its accessible subject matter and high quality of art. This year’s exhibition includes oil paintings, etchings, watercolors, pastels and graphite works and sculptures in metal, wood and mixed media. Some birds are painted painstakingly to life, others just suggest wings and beaks or are reminiscent of birds through a single feather or unhatched egg. “We feel that birds are an international language,” said Marcia Theel, associate director and public relations coordinator at the Woodson Art Museum. “Birds are one of the most common species that we all interact with.” continued on page 14

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continued from page 13 Originally, the exhibit focused on realistic scenes with game birds, but the increasing participation of international artists brought ornithological diversity, as well as more whimsical art. “More and more artists from other countries are submitting works and introducing species from their countries or sometimes basing their artwork on a trip to Yellowstone or a trip to the Everglades,” Theel said. “They are introducing not only new birds, but also new ways of looking at and interpreting our own birds in America.” A pastel and graphite piece by Oklahoma artist Deborah Kaspari depicts a Massachusetts quarry where warblers and thrushes fly. Texas artists Jim Eppler and Beckie Bass sculpted two steel ravens perched on bronze in Totem VIII, while British artist Jonathan Sainsbury painted a starling stabbing at fallen fruit in Apples. Australian artist Pete Marshall contributed a portrait of an Australian Magpie in Magpie Menace. Each year, the exhibit gives a Master Wildlife Artist Award, and the 2009 recipient was John Busby. The wildlife artist from Scotland works with plein-air drawings from his real-life bird sightings, such as his Crane Gathering oil painting where numerous cranes move through air and water in impressionistic brush strokes. “A reason I think people like birds is what I call avian envy,” Theel said. “You see that little robin or cardinal on the tippy top of a tree, and you wonder what it’s like to see the world from that vantage point, what it’s like to fly. There are so many things that birds can do that we can’t and they can go places we can’t go.” Birds in Art shows through May 16 at the Museum of the Red River, 812 East Lincoln Road in Idabel. The museum is free and open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 to 5, and Sunday, 1 to 5. For more information visit or call 580-286-3616. n Allison Meier is a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She can be reached at (top right) Jeremy Paul, England, Reflections in a Green Jar, Acrylic, 16.5”x12” (bottom right) Jim Eppler and Beckie Bass, Lubbock, TX, Totem VIII, Steel and Bronze, 43”x24”x24 (bottom left) Pete Marshall, Australia, Magpie Menace, Oil, 23.5”x47.5”


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Miguel Cabrera, St Joseph and Christ Child, Eighteenth-Century, Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

Colonial Spanish American Collections in Oklahoma by Dr. Cristina Cruz Gonazález

Think of notable colonial Latin Americana in the United States and the state of Oklahoma is not likely to come to mind. Yet a handful of museums make primary research possible in the region, from the visual and bibliographic collections at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa to the art collection at the often over-looked Mabee Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee. From April through June, the Mabee-Gerrer will highlight its collection in an exhibition entitled Spanish Colonial Religious Art: 1650-1950. Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art Located in Pottawatomie County, Shawnee is home to Saint Gregory’s University, a Benedictine institution that also encompasses an historic abbey and the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art. Established in 1914 and named after its founder, the monk Gregory Gerrer, the museum houses objects from Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Indeed, it is the only location in the state where you can admire an Egyptian mummy,

As one of a group of painters chosen to perform a close inspection of the Guadalupe icon in 1751 and 1752, he subsequently published a book on the subject (Maravilla Americana, 1756) and produced three copies of the image. One version was sent to Pope Benedict XIV who remarked on the beauty of Cabrera’s work. See The Arts in Latin America, 1492-1820, edited by Joseph Rishel with Suzanne Stratton (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2006): 528-529. His series of caste paintings were collected in both the New World and in Spain. See


Roman glass, Aztec basalt sculpture, a Hudson River School landscape, terra cotta tomb sculpture from the Han Dynasty, African sculpture, medieval icons, and a Tintoretto in one visit. The colonial Spanish American collection includes small retablos (religious paintings usually executed on tin), larger portraits of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a wooden sculpture of Saint Francis of Assisi, an exquisite version of Saint Joseph and the Christ Child by famed Mexican painter Miguel Cabrera, and a notable painting of a miraculous crucifix known as the Christ of Ixmiquilpan. These last two—the Cabrera painting and the anonymous portrait of the numinous crucifix—not only reflect the variegated nature of the museum’s holdings, but also underscore the breadth of religious visual culture in colonial Spanish America. Conveying both elite artistic patronage and popular piety, these two nodal points of religious art merit further examination.

Ilona Katzew, Casta Paintings (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004): 93-95. 2 The object’s provenance is not known. It is also not known whether Gerrer knew of the work’s authorship at the time of purchase, as the signature was discovered in the 1990s following cleaning.

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at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Cabrera approached the same theme, but with quite different results, in a composition currently held at the Museo Nacional de Historia in Mexico City. This painting is reproduced in Catálogo comentado del acervo del Museo Nacional de Arte, Vol. 2, eds. Rogelio Ruiz Gomar, Nelly Sigaut, and Jaime Cuadriello (Mexico: Museo Nacional de Arte, 2004): 147.

In 1994 it was shown as part of the exhibition “Latin American Colonial Art from the Mabee-Gerrer Museum”


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Anonymous, Portrait of a Crucifix, Early NineteenthCentury, Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

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Miguel Cabrera (1695-1768) was one of the most popular artists in late colonial Mexico. Known for his portraits of the Virgin of Guadalupe, his paintings and designs for the Jesuit college in Tepotzotlan, Mexico, his portrait of the nun-poetess Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, and his series of caste paintings, he was lauded on both sides of the Atlantic1. Gerrer collected Cabrera’s portrait of Saint Joseph and the Christ Child in 19422. It has never been published and, outside of its current location, it has been exhibited only once3. European devotion to Saint Joseph can be traced to the medieval period. The twelfth-century Bernard of Clairvaux established the saint’s role in exegesis and confirmed his standing in grace as Mary’s foreordained Davidic spouse. Future commentators, in the fourteenth century, established his position as protector of the Church4. Religious loyalty to Saint Joseph was especially intense in the period following the Council of Trent (1545-1563), particularly in the Iberian world5. In 1555, roughly three decades after the conquest of Mexico, Saint Joseph was proclaimed patron of the Viceroyalty of New Spain (a territory that encompassed modern Mexico plus much of Central America and the Spanish borderlands that are now part of the United States). Not surprisingly, images of Saint Joseph holding the Christ Child were ubiquitous in colonial Spanish America, yet the example at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art is especially coveted for its high level of execution and distinguished authorship. The Cabrera painting reminds us that devotion to the saint was not only extensive among the masses of colonial society but within exclusive religious communities as well. The iconic image was appropriate to a cult context, indicating that the work by the famous artist likely occupied an elite religious space such as a particularly wealthy altar or a private devotional chapel. The portrait of the miraculous crucifix presents another facet of colonial religiosity. While scholarly interest in miraculous objects from Spanish America has traditionally focused on Marian icons, recent research suggests that the majority of shrines were likely devoted to images of Christ6. Of these, most were dedicated to

For a brief history of the medieval cult of Saint Joseph, and for its status and representation during the Italian Renaissance, see Carolyn C. Wilson St. Joseph in Italian Renaissance Society and Art: New Directions and Interpretations (Philadelphia: St. Joseph University Press, 2001).



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The history of the crucifix is rich and dramatic, conveying the importance of the thaumaturgic object as well as the many painted copies that were made in association with the religious devotion. According to the earliest seventeenth-century chronicle, the nearly life-sized crucifix was first introduced to a small mining community in the modern Mexican state of Hidalgo in 1545 and housed in a modest chapel. Eventually, the crucifix became so dilapidated that the archbishop ordered that it be broken into pieces and buried with the next resident to die. No one died for the next six years; instead, the image began to open its eyes, twitch on the cross, perspire, and bleed. Devotees were granted miracles, and devotion rapidly grew. Due to the chapel’s state of disrepair, the archbishop ordered that it be moved

Spanish American Colonial Images of St. Joseph (Philadelphia: St. Joseph University Press, 1992) and Charlene Villaseñor Black, Creating the Cult of Saint Joseph: Art and Gender in the Spanish Empire (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2006). William B. Taylor’s “Two Shrines of the Cristo Renovado: Religion and Peasant Politics in Late Colonial Mexico,” The American Historical Review, vol. 110, Issue 4 (October 2005): 945-974.


During the early modern period, devotion may have been most extensive in Spanish America. See Joseph Chorpenning and Santiago López, Patron Saint of the New World:


crucifixes. The Mabee-Gerrer painting of the crucifixion is in fact a portrait of a miraculous crucifix—the Christ of Ixmiquilpan—that was venerated and kept by the nunnery of Discalced Carmelites in Mexico City.

Dr. Alfonso Alberto Velasco wrote the official biography for the object in 1688 (Mexico City). An earlier reference to this numinous object appears in Gil González Dávila’s survey of the history of the Archdiocese of Mexico (Madrid, 1649).


to Mexico City for safekeeping; here, it came into the possession of the Carmelite nuns in 1623 and continued to serve the needs of the city’s faithful7. Located in the convent’s Chapel of Saint Teresa, the object was variously known as the Lord of Saint Teresa, the Christ of Ixmiquilpan (a reference to its original location in Hidalgo), or the Renovated Christ (due to its miraculous ability to restore itself). With related publications, pictorial reproductions, and significant encouragement from the archdiocese, devotion to the crucifix in Mexico City was cemented by the end of the seventeenth century. In 1697, the Italian visitor Juan Gemelli Carreri called the chapel housing the miraculous object one of the three great shrines of the Valley of Mexico. Throughout the eighteenth century, engravings were issued and painted copies were commissioned from some of Mexico’s most elite artists. One celebrated artist, José de Ibarra, produced at least three portraits of the celebrated crucifix during the first half of the eighteenth century8. One, housed in the Denver Museum of Art, positions the crucifix on a devotional altar where it is flanked by costly urns made of precious metals. The foot of the text reads: “True portrait of the holy Christ of Ixmiquilpan, installed by the illustrious Archbishop Don Juan de la Serna in the old convent of Discalced Carmelites of Saint Joseph in Mexico. Said image restored itself in the year 1621 and this copy is from 17319.” Artists who produced copies of miraculous objects strove to be as faithful to the original as possible, often times representing the sanctuary setting of the prototype. In the Mabee-Gerrer example, Christ’s tortured body hangs heavy on the cross; the torso is minimally covered with an elaborate lateral knot tied at the waist. Included in the composition are accessories such as rich crimson drapes, gold candelabra, highly ornamental vases, and a black background curtain detailed with both Marian and Christological insignia. The desired aim for the artist was not only to recreate a miracle-producing object, but to also create the aura of sacred space. Paintings such as this one helped propagate a devotional cult, both locally and as far north as New Mexico.

Ibarra (1685-1756) was from Guadalajara but moved to Mexico City at a young age and apprenticed himself to Juan Correa. He occupies a transitional phase in Mexican baroque painting, a link between the painting practices of the late seventeenth century and the pictorial style of the late eighteenth century.


Unless the artist was of significant renown, most colonial paintings of miraculous objects were not signed. The anonymous Oklahoma example is, therefore, not unusual in this regard. What makes the painting atypical is the eighteenth-century style in which it is executed considering its supposed late nineteenth-century date. Although it is listed as being from 1864 (based on a partially legible date at the foot of the painting), I would argue that it is actually a composition from 1804—a time when the sculpture was linked to a wealthy confraternity and the shrine’s treasury boasted bequests and chaplaincies that produced significant funds in annual interest. After the 1820s, following Mexican Independence, the image lost its baroque trappings as artists preferred to invoke a modern, neoclassical setting. Furthermore, a catastrophic earthquake in 1845, accompanied by the equally damaging religious reforms of the 1850s, dealt a severe blow to the devotional cult from which it would never fully recover10. Consequently, “true copies” of the icon were less likely to be produced by the late nineteenth century. Although colonial Spanish American artworks in Oklahoma are few compared to some of the most prominent collections in this country, the corpus is various and variegated, providing remarkable insights into a visual piety that thrived for over three hundred years. The exhibition at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art will be sure to prompt further study by scholars and students interested in colonial Latin American visual culture. n Dr. Cristina Cruz González, an art historian at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, specializes in the study of religious images from colonial Mexico.

For a reproduction and description of this painting, see Painting a New World, Mexican Art and Life: 15211821, eds Donna Pierce, Rogelio Ruiz Gomar, Clara Bargellini (Denver: Denver Art Museum, 2004): 200202. The other two paintings by Ibarra are in the Museo de Churubusco (Mexico City) and the Museo Nacional del Virreinato (Tepotzotlan, Mexico).


The chapel collapsed in the 1845 earthquake and the crucifix was shattered. Money was collected and the image was remade soon after. Today, the miraculous crucifix is kept by the Carmelites in San Angel, on the southern edge of modern Mexico City.


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(top) Kim Fonder, Tulsa, Oh…the possibilities, Oil medium, Venetian plaster, pigment on hemp, 48”x32”

Art is in Her Nature: Paintings by Kim Fonder at Aberson Exhibits by Elizabeth Downing


Kim Fonder is no stranger to movement, to nature and to creative pursuits. Being a painter has been a “way of life” for her for the last decade, but she has also worked on the other side of the canvas – in galleries. This gives her a perfect storm of talents to marry artistfriendly shows with patron-friendly artwork in the delightfully minimal Aberson Exhibits gallery on Brookside in Tulsa. Since its doors have opened, the gallery has played host to such artists as Joe Andoe, Jefferson Hayman, and Lavada Nicholls. Kim says that each of the artists, whether they hail from Tulsa or not, are invariably “so impressed by Tulsa and Tulsans.”

Her love of the outdoors intersects nicely with a theory on the artist’s role in modern culture: “to call out what is sacred to them, and paint it, hoping to emote that in their viewers.” Her paintings convey the peace, tranquility and awareness of our natural environment that comes from equal parts technical grace and raw passion. She believes that artists work best when they paint “from their deepest place…out of the unconscious…and they STAY there, comfortable or not comfortable, until that feeling has passed.” This dedication to the work helps her connect more deeply with the subtleties of her medium and her subject.

When a scheduling kerfuffle opened some exhibition time in June, Kim put on her creative hat and headed to the studio to paint. She spends four to five hour stretches in the morning (her favorite time, when she “hasn’t had the experiences of the day yet – the world is fresh”) using combinations of hemp, silk, linen, organic pigments and Venetian plaster to evoke the calmness and airiness of the natural world. As she says, “Mother Nature makes color better than man ever can…and our eyes instinctively know it.”

Kim’s paintings will be on display at Aberson Exhibits during June. Stop by on your next trip to Tulsa or your next cruise down Brookside. For more information, visit n

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Elizabeth Downing is not an art critic, but a photographer of the urban landscape and a technical writer who lives in Tulsa. She can be reached at







^ Andre Dunoyer de Ségonzac “La Gare de Campagne”

Thomas Moran “Venice at Sunset”

Melton Art Gallery, UCO Art & Design Building, open 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri. View more than 500 years of European and American art, including the collection’s centerpiece, Thomas Moran’s “Venice at Sunset.” This collection is on permanent display at the gallery. Reservations needed for groups of 25 or more. For more information: (405) 974-2432 •

Georges Rouault “Revendication (Zone Rouge)”

André Lhote “Paysage”


five | fiv | cardinal number equivalent to the sum of two and three, one more than four and half of ten, 5 : “Five paintings have sold!”

5x5 | fiv bi fiv | event Tulsa Artists’ Coalition’s only fundraiser. Local and regional artists create works of art that are limited in size to 5”x5” and can be purchased for $55. Over 250 mini-masterpieces are expected for this year’s show. The proceeds from the event allow the TAC to continue to provide a space for emerging and established artists to display quality, contemporary art that may not otherwise have a home in Tulsa : “The annual 5x5 event is almost here!” When: Wednesday, May 5th | 5:55 pm | Show runs from May 5th-22nd Where: Tulsa Artists’ Coalition Gallery | 9 East Brady | Tulsa, Oklahoma Each piece of original art sells for $55 | $5 admission at the door For more information, please visit



A Co-Operative Art Gallery on Water Street, SAPULPA, Oklahoma by Kristin Gentry

Traveling from town to town across Oklahoma one can find an array of locally owned fine art galleries. Just a few minutes from Tulsa, and right off Historic Route 66, we find the Water Street Art Gallery in the heart of Sapulpa, OK. The Water Street Art Gallery has fine art paintings, jewelry, and ceramics for sale throughout its three viewing rooms. An open eighty foot brick wall goes throughout the entire gallery and into art classroom spaces. The gallery spaces have a very comfortable atmosphere which gives patrons a relaxed gallery experience to compliment the town of Sapulpa. The Water Street Art Gallery opened their


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doors and joined the art circuit one year ago. The gallery celebrated its very first year in business in April of 2010. Water Street Art Gallery is a very unique type of art gallery that is different than most other galleries in Oklahoma. A group of artist entrepreneurs who run Water Street Art Gallery as a cooperative. A co-op is a private business organization that is owned and controlled by the people who have art in the gallery and or teach at the Water Street Art Gallery. The co-op benefits the artists working as a unit rather than working as individual artists. With a group, they can purchase supplies for bulk discounts; share studio spaces if they

want, share other artist expenses, and share equipment. The co-op members are the ones working when customers are in the gallery or artists are in the classes. Their exhibition for June of 2009 was their first annual Six by Six Art Show. This show coincided with the annual Route 66 Art Show. Artists were able to pick up a 6-inch-by-6inch canvas to return completed to the Water Street Art Gallery. The theme for the art went right along with all that is associated with Historic Route 66. The canvases were sold for $66 each. The artist received fifty percent of the sales, the gallery received twenty-five percent and the other twenty-five percent

Fused Glass pieces by Silk Degrees Silk Degrees are: Jan Thomas & Nancy Cowden

went to charity. The two art shows focusing on Route 66 give local Oklahoman artists a chance to create artwork about one of the historical aspects of Oklahoma. Water Street Art Gallery is more than just an art gallery. Through their co-op they offer ongoing art classes and demonstrations. Behind the gallery viewing rooms is a large area lined with numerous tables to allow for large class sizes . They offer classes in painting, portraiture, drawing, photography, jewelry, mixed media, and demonstrations for adults and children. On Mondays, Betty Dalsing teaches an oil painting class called Landscape with Palette Knife and Brush. On the first Wednesday of each month, the gallery offers a program called Coffee and Conversation. Artists and art supporters gather together to discuss local art happenings right inside the gallery. They watch and participate in artist demonstrations by local artists like

Kathleen Curran. Curran is a photographer, and is currently working on a series about “beach scenes involving over-saturation of unlikely hues.” It has been rumored though, that so much conversation is going on, there is not much coffee drinking. The Water Street Art Gallery blog is updated very frequently with gallery events, class information, artist information and artist tips from a group who call themselves “the gallery girls.” They use their blog as a very important tool to their gallery to keep members and supporters up to date with all the current information about the gallery. They have created a strong social network through their blog. In addition to the gallery blog, the gallery hosts the Oklahoma Daily Painters Blog. This blog could be very inspiring to any visual artist since the bloggers actually paint every single day. The members of the Oklahoma Daily Painters Blog must reside in Oklahoma, paint daily, and update on the

Oklahoma Daily Painters blog. The Water Street Art Gallery has such a strong community support because it is run by multiple people who work hard at promoting the space. It is a very unique experience to find a gallery like Water Street, and we are lucky to have it in the state of Oklahoma. Water Street Art Gallery 16 South Water Street Sapulpa, OK 74066 Gallery hours are 10am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday. n Kristin Gentry received her BFA from Oklahoma State University, is a multi media artist, guest blogger for OVAC, and serves as the Children’s Programmer for the Stillwater Multi Arts Center.

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ART 365: Grace Grothaus by Holly Wall Grace Grothaus, Tulsa, Node, Mylar, Duralar, acrylic, spray paint, 24”x36”x6”

The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s exhibition Art 365 will open at [ArtSpace] at Untitled in Oklahoma City in March 2011. Five artists each receive a $12,000 honorarium and one year of interaction with curator Shannon Fitzgerald. Visit for more information.

Grace Grothaus’s work is easily recognizable to many Tulsans, not only because she’s made fans of most of us, but also because her paintings directly reflect the city in which she lives. Her backlit, large-scale paintings depict the landscape of the Midwest, namely Tulsa, by combining their industrial façade with organic materials. For a number of years, Grothaus has been photographing Tulsa’s land and cityscape and then using those photographs as a framework for her art. With her Art 365 project, Grothaus plans to expand her sphere of inspiration to the entire state, exploring the history of industry and agriculture in Oklahoma. Grothaus’s project is titled OK Landscape: from cornfields to oilfields and will culminate in March of 2011 with 10 2-foot-by-4-foot paintings, backlit with LED lights. “Beginning with westward expansionism and continuing through the oil boom to today, the landscape of Oklahoma has been redefined and sculpted by industry,” Grothaus wrote in her Art 365 proposal. Grothaus is interested in how Oklahoma’s agriculture and energy industries have shifted over time. Whereas the state used to produce an abundance of corn, it now produces mostly wheat


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ART 365: Grace Grothaus

and cotton. Likewise, even though the state is known for its oil production, that production has been in decline since the 1920s. The state now leads in natural gas production. “These industrial landscape paintings represent the modification of the Oklahoma landscape over time. The materials and the composition will work together to illustrate the complex relationship between the natural world and industry inherent in the world today,” she writes in her proposal. With her project, Grothaus plans to explore the similarities and differences between the state’s organic and industrial systems. She was first inspired by this juxtaposition when, flying over the Midwest, she looked down and noticed how the city lights resembled circuit boards. “Clearly we’re making circuit boards for a functional purpose, and clearly we’re making cities for a functional purpose,” Grothaus explained. “And we’re not at all making either one for visual reasons, so why would they have any similarity at all? “And the more I looked at the things we make, these linear systems we’re so interested in building, are just apparent everywhere.” She compared that industrialized system to the way things form organically in nature – the way the branch of a river resembles the branch of a tree or the rivulets down a mountain. Or the way a cloud’s formation matches that of a snowflake. Her work explores the formations of both mechanic and organic things, illustrating them in half-abstract, half-representational paintings that utilize both industrial (mylar) and organic (leaves) materials.

Grace Grothaus, Tulsa, Haze, Mylar, Duralar, acrylic, leaves, ink, 24”x36”x6”

Grothaus begins each project with an aerial photograph, blown up to about 2-feet-by-4-feet, upon which she layers sheets of mylar and begins to freely sketch her ideas, using the photograph as inspiration. “I feel like this loose, free energy of the drawing is kind of an immediate gesture, more in tune and in keeping with the organic structure, as well as the leaves, with the fractal formations in the veining of the leaves,” Grothaus said. “Each piece is a different journey,” she said. Her pieces may have between two and seven layers of mylar each. “I don’t totally know why I’m so interested in working in layers,

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continued from page 23 but I think it’s the sculptural background,” Grothaus said. “I used to work in 3-D all the time; I actually wasn’t a painter. It was a gradual transition. I started making sculptures that hung on the wall, and they got flatter and flatter. But they’re still really sculptural.” In most of her paintings, the viewer can easily observe that he or she is looking at a city, an industrial system, and make the connection between that and the abstract, organic elements Grothaus incorporates. With her Art 365 project, Grothaus hopes to dissolve more fully into abstraction, “allowing color and gestural line to convey more feeling than representation alone allows.” “I think that the works about Tulsa are a little bit more direct,” Grothaus said. “I do want to make that direct reference to the location. But with these pieces, I don’t want to be so representational. “Immediately what happens when something’s representational is your mind kind of overrides and thinks that there’s nothing left to solve,” she said. “So when there’s a lot of abstraction, it leaves the viewer more open-ended and they’re left asking more questions, which really is the goal.” In the past, Grothaus has used two fluorescent bulbs to backlight her paintings. With this project, she plans to switch to LED lights, which will give her more control over how and when the painting is lit.


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“You write a program, link it up to the computer and tell it what you want it to do based on the data input from the sensor,” Grothaus explained. “And then my painting becomes kind of robotic in a way. So you approach it, and sensing your presence, it might light up in a totally new way. Or you might move your hand across it and cause lights to come on and come off. “Adding sensors to the LED lights will open up a world of possibilities compositionally,” she said. “It will allow me to move beyond the static image as well as surprise and more fully engage the interested viewer with the paintings.” n Holly Wall has been covering the arts in Tulsa for three years. She writes weekly art columns for Urban Tulsa Weekly and monthly for the Tulsa Performing Arts Center’s Intermission magazine.

Ask a Creativity Coach

by Romney Nesbitt

WHAT GOES DOWN MUST COME UP Dear Romney, I’m struggling with my motivation to create when everyone I talk to is experiencing a decrease in art sales. Why paint when nobody is buying? What do you suggest? -Sluggish Artist Dear Sluggish, What goes up, must come down, and must come up again. Current economic challenges may have negatively impacted your thinking and your creative output. Life is a series of highs and lows, good times and bad. Imagine a straight line running from left to right. Overlap a wavy line on top of that horizontal. The wave line above the line represents times of consolation—things are going well in your life. The wave line below the line represents times of desolation—things are not going well. This “wave” of life is constantly in motion. Things will turn around. Your mood will shift. Circumstances will change. The economy will improve. Art will sell. You may be in one of those low times, a slump, a time of artistic desolation, fueled by what you hear others say about sales, but that’s only half of the problem--the other half is your thinking. Are you unwilling to risk your time and energy to make art with no guarantee of sales? If so, then you’ve forgotten your creativity and your creative output are not tied to economics! Remember when you first started painting. The technical challenges, lessons, new materials, workshops and teachers were exhilarating! Art was play. If in your mind art is work and if there is no potential for income, you may guard your heart and restrict your output. When you begin every painting with the question: “Will this sell?” you’ve limited your creativity from the get-go. If your art play has turned into art work then you’ve forgotten the reason why you started creating in the first place. Artists create because we are creative people bursting with ideas to explore and share with the world. Creative is what you are and creating is what you do.

Change your thinking. An economic slump is a gift--not a curse. This slow sales time will pass. In the meantime you’re free from the pressure of deadlines and the creativity-killing “Will this sell?” question. Open yourself to the gift of creative freedom! Now is the perfect time to experiment with new techniques and ideas. Worried about spending money on new supplies? Use up what you’ve got on hand. If your regular materials are pricey, explore a technique that requires less expensive materials. Think ahead to better times and your next exhibit. Paint or draw in standard sizes and minimize custom framing costs in the future. There’s always a solution. This “slump” could be your most productive time! Amass great quantities of new pieces. When the economy recovers you’ll have something to show for this slow time. What appears to be a down time to many is an artistic blessing in disguise. n Romney Nesbitt is a Creativity Coach, artist and writer living in Tulsa. She is the author of Secrets From a Creativity Coach, available on Romney welcomes your ideas or questions for future columns. Contact her at, or at

business of art


Aaron Lee Benson, Jackson, TN, Cleft for Me, Wood

At a Glance: Cleft for Me By Janice McCormick

Aaron Lee Benson’s Cleft for Me, located at the Outside Gallery of the University of Tulsa’s School of Art, explores the contrasts between openness and enclosure as well as between natural and man-made. This minimalist sculpture sits nestled in this sunken outdoor gallery space. Flanking the central path leading from the stairs down and across to the Alexandre Hogue Gallery entrance are two complex structures. Each structure consists of two different geometric shapes – one triangular, the other quadrilateral – partially separated by a gap although they remain connected at the back. The chief difference between these two similar structures is the size of the gap between their triangular and quadrilateral shapes. The structure on the northern side of the path has a much narrower gap than the one on the southern side. Rather than solid wooden walls, these enclosures’ walls are open fretwork patterns created by alternating horizontal 2”x4”x96” boards. This allows the viewer to peek between the boards into the enclosed, unoccupied space. The spatial relationship between the building’s sandstone walls and each of these two structures differs significantly. The northern structure fits quite snuggly into its side of the gallery floor, with the work almost touching the back wall of the building. This prevents the viewer from walking around it and conveys a sense of being trapped. In contrast, the southern structure fits more comfortably in the gallery space. This


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openness encourages the viewer to walk freely around the entire work. The height of these enclosures proves equally telling. Approximately five feet tall, these structures are on a human scale rather than looming over the viewer. The knots and wood grain of the unweathered lumber echo the natural colors and rough-hewn surface of the building’s sandstone walls. Besides sharing these natural attributes, both materials reflect the hand of man in their regular, geometric layers. Both stone and wood have had an artificial regularity imposed upon them: the wood processed to standardized lumber, the stone shaped into building blocks. All in all, Cleft for Me echoes the gallery’s spatial duality: its opento-the sky feel on one hand, and its sense of intimate space on the other; a duality enhanced by the tension between the natural and the artificial in material of both the wooden installation and stone place. Even though this site-specific installation is part of Living Arts New Genre Festival XVII that ended March 7, it will remain up through August 8, 2010. 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

Round Up

may | june 2010

Please save the date of June 12, 11 am-12:30 pm for the OVAC Annual Members Meeting (and lunch). We elect new board members and officers, review the accomplishments of the year, and discuss the strategic direction of OVAC at this meeting. Plus, we always have good food and company. Expect invitations in May.

OVAC is hosting its first ever Leadership Institute for active volunteers and committee members on July 10. If you are serving OVAC as a volunteer or want to get more involved, this afternoon event will be for you. Contact Sarah McElroy for more information: 405.879.2400 or We rely on the energy, ideas, and (hard) labor of

Thanks to the great artists and committee for Tulsa Art Studio Tour in April, led by Cathy Deuschle and Jan Hawks. We also appreciate the Circle Cinema for hosting a preview exhibition in March. See more at Besides being fun, the community interest keeps growing. Thank you!

We had a handful of enthusiastic interns during the spring semester. Lynn Smith is a Photography student at OU focused on event production and excelled at organizing her time between many hours of Momentum installation and school. Liz Drew also worked as an Event Intern and as an artist brought her knowledge of exhibition prep work to the Momentum site. Robyn Janloo, Fine Arts student at OU, spent many hours loading images y to help expand Virtual Gallery and bring visibility to local artists. Jackie Porter, Art History student at UCO, worked keeping our database up to date and was essential administration support. Emily Kern, fine arts student at OSU assisted with Art Focus distribution and wrote for the OVAC blog. Thank you to everyone for your hard work and commitment to helping us serve Oklahoma artists.

More than 450 artists have example work on www.OVACGallery. com. Looking for artists? Please look there first. Are you an artist that wants to be found? Thousands of visitors a month browse the site. We want to show the great diversity of talent in our state. Be sure your artwork is there!


(left) Brooke Darrow touching up walls for 12x12 2009. (middle) Paul Mays, Momentum Committee Co-Chair, hanging art before the 2010 event. (right) Volunteers working the door at Momentum Tulsa 2009.

Honoring OVAC Volunteers by Sarah McElroy

Volunteers are vital to the success of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s many programs and events. As the Volunteer Coordinator of Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition for almost two years now, I have been privileged to work with hundreds of volunteers who daily make a difference within our organization. The number of volunteers and hours that give to this organization always astounds me. Just to recap, the last year we have had the honor of working with 182 volunteers. These volunteers facilitate events, work the festival snow cone booth, assist in the office, deliver Art Focus all over the state and many other tasks that keep OVAC thriving. We have had the pleasure to work with 21 interns that have donated a minimum of six hours weekly and a majority of them have continued to volunteer after their initial internship expires. Over the past year, 147 committee members have worked to plan, develop, fundraise and facilitate OVAC events and programs. OVAC is governed by 21 volunteer board members that use their expertise to continue to sustain and expand OVAC programming. The end result of all of these volunteers investing time in OVAC has resulted in an estimated 1,500 donated hours of service. These hours are very close to being equivalent to a full-time position.


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The volunteer structure is stronger than ever and we truly appreciate everyone’s effort to continue to volunteer and inspire others to do the same. I have seen many instances of others inviting friends and family members to volunteer which creates a ripple effect that feeds into the larger cause of the OVAC mission of supporting visual artists living and working in Oklahoma and promoting public interest and understanding of the arts. The following are just a few of the ways to get involved as an OVAC volunteer. Exhibitions and Event Volunteers • Maintaining temporary gallery hours during exhibition • Installation of exhibition • Photographing the event • Acting as support staff during event Office Volunteers • Deliver Art Focus magazines to distribution sites • Office assistance • Ongoing research projects • Hands-on experience with arts and non-profit administration Event and Program Committees • Experienced OVAC volunteers are often placed on specific planning committees. • Plan, organize, publicize and recruit volunteers for annual events, exhibits and programs.

• Goals: raise funds, encouraging and involving young artists, recruiting new art audiences, reward excellent art in Oklahoma, raise visibility for the art and artists in the community. Please contact Sarah McElroy at 405-8792400 or for current projects and more information about volunteering. n Sarah McElroy is Volunteer & Office Coordinator for the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition.

Volunteers welcoming guests at one of the studios on the Tulsa Art Studio Tour 2009.

N ew & R enewing M embers

Thank you to our New and Renewing Members from January and February 2010 Andrew Akufo Bert Allen Kerry Azzarello Tommy Ball Joy Baresel Duff Bassett Linda Bayard Nick Bayer Susan Beaty Judy Beauchamp Diann Berry Jessica Beverage Tracy Bidwell Julie Marks Blackstone Mikylee Blackwell Meloyde Blancett Jeannie Boling Becky Bowles Bridgett Bullock Martha Burger Chris Cameris Kuwantu Cammon Sarah Capshaw Eli Casiano Sarah Castor Wendy Chambers Beverly Clark Alesa Clymer Candace Coker Heidi Contreras Hal & Rosalind Cook John L. Cox Mikey Coy Jessica Craddock Christine and Tom Crowe Kathleen Curran Debbie Curtis Janet Damron Sarah Day-Short Robert and Caroline Dennis Cathy Deuschle Fred and Candace Dove Brandi Downham Claudia Doyle Lori Duckworth Chelsea Dudek Amanda Dyer Sarah Engel Ann and Randy Eslick Vonda Evans Carmen Farnbach

Hillary Farrell Carolyn Faseler Leslie Fast Yatika Fields Natalie Friedman Peter Fulmer Joe Brandon Garcia Barney Gibbs John and Stephany Gooden Asia Gormley Eric Graham Jerold Graham Karen Greenawalt Brittney Chantel Guest Sheila Hallett Martin and Kathleen Hallren Shawn, Missy, Gabriel and Tessa Hancock Tracey Harris Linda Hiller Erica and Jared Holeman Eric Hollingsworth Abi Hopkins Kendall Howerton Kathy Hoyt Geneva Hudson Jennifer Cocoma Hustis Judith F. Ide Bob James J. Jann Jeffrey Sarah A. Jimboy Martin Scott Johnson Kreg Kallenberger Patrick Kamann Jason Kempf Bob Kenworthy Clayton Keyes Emily Kirk Julia J. Kirt Erin Kozakiewicz Paul Lacy Chip and Linda Land Nicole Landers Vanessa Larwig Erin Latham Lisa Lee Vincent B. Leitch Amber Lewallen Patta Lt Angela Mabray Brooke Madden

Rebecca Mannschreck Sharon Mantor Aristotle Maragas Tara Mason Tanya Mattek Madeline Miller Stacey Miller Francis Moran Caryl Morgan Lindsey Morris John Mowen Josh and Keela Mullennex Kurt Nagy Rita Newman Tam Nguyen Deryck O’Daniel Lori Oden Scott Oglesby Loren O’Laughlin D. Oswald Romy Owens Suzanne Owens Ryan Pack Sarah Iselin and Frank Parman Anna Parsons Ben Pendleton Pete Peterson Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum Paul Pfrehm Victoria Phelps Christina Pickard Stephanie Pierce Keelia Postlethwaite Jacob Potter Benny Potter Ann Powell Justin Powers Zachary Presley Suzanne King Randall Benjapron Rattana Betty Refour Jonathan Ribera Kim Rice Kate Roddy Deborah Rose Roger Runge Lisa Rutherford Erin Schalk Sheridan Scott Luci Seem

Alex Sefcik Candace Shanholtzer Erin Shaw Janet and Michael Sherry Hillary Shipley Natalie Shirley Brandon Shoals Lisa Simms Lynn Ashley Smith Amber Rae Smithers Josh Speer Laurie Spencer Eric Spiegel Amanda Sterba Jeff and Mary Lou Stokes Jordan Strickland Robert J. Stuart Doris Swanson Julia Swearingen Patrick Synar Marion McKenzie Thompson Trisha Thompson Layne Thrift and JC Casey Jack Titus Brooks Tower Christian and Alesha Trimble Tom Tucker Erin Turner Sean Vali Ghassempour Lori Valley Cindy Van Kley Burneta Venosvel James Walden Jennifer Waldrop Blair Waltman Jeanne Ward Sam Wargin Carla Waugh Jesse Whittle Charles and Renate Wiggin Bill Williams Holly Wilson Chris Wollard Craig Wood Chad Woolbright Ashley Young Kristi Youngblood Rachael Zebrowski

O V AC n e w s



Gallery Listings Ada


Senior Exhibits May 1-14 Ron Clark July 12 – September 20 The Pogue Gallery Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center 900 Centennial Plaza (580) 559-5353

Fellowship: 75 Years of Taliesin Box Projects May 28- September 2010 Price Tower Arts Center 510 Dewey Ave. (918) 336-4949


Shane and Sara Scribner Through May 29 3D Group Exhibit June 2- July 17 Studio 107 Gallery 107 East Main (580) 224-1143 Charles B. Goddard Center Permanent Collection May 2010 The Goddard Center 401 First Avenue SW (580) 226-0909

Marvin Lee, Bog, Photograph, on display at Istvan Gallery in Oklahoma City through July 31.

Durham Barbara Hawkins: My Flowers, My Frogs, My Yard…My Passion Through May 31 Artist Alley: Norma Williams, Pleasant Nest Potter, Laurie Johnson, Rockin’ T Photography Studio June 1- August 31 Metcalfe Museum Rt. 1 Box 25 (580) 655-4467

Exhibition Schedule

El Reno

24 Works on Paper: Contemporary Art Traveling Exhibition Through May 14 Redlands Community College 5th Annual Fine Arts Faculty and Staff Show May 24- July 30 Redlands Community College (405) 262-2552

Idabel Birds in Art Through May 16 Arts of the Amazon May 25- July 18 Lifewell Gallery Museum of the Red River 812 East Lincoln Road (580) 286-3616



A Dose of History: The History of Edmond’s Medicine Through June 10 Edmond Historical Society & Museum 431 S. Boulevard (405) 340-0078

Maggie Adare Drew, Jill Rouke, Silvia White and Dianalee Jones Opening May 8, 7-9 The Leslie Powell Foundation and Gallery 620 D Avenue (580) 357-9526

Norman 24 Works on Paper: A collaborative project from Individual Artists of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition May 21- June 28 Opening May 21, 7-9 Firehouse Art Center Gallery 444 S Flood Ave (405) 329-4523 The Creative Eye: Selections from the Carol Beesley Collection of Photographs, in honor of Michael Hennagin Through May 9 Revisiting the New Deal: Government Patronage and the Fine Arts, 1933- 1943 Through May 11 Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art 555 Elm Ave. (405) 325-4938


gallery guide

Tom Toperzer and Paul Medina May 14 – July 9 Opening May 14, 7-9 Mainsite Contemporary Art Gallery 122 East Main (405) 292-8095

Oklahoma City Sarah Atlee May 7-31 Opening May 7, 6-10 Marilyn Artus June 4-30 Opening June 4, 6-10 aka gallery 3001 Paseo (405) 606-2522 William Christenberry: Beginnings Through June 26 [ArtSpace] at Untitled 1 NE 3rd St. (405) 815-9995 Jason Hackenwerth Through May 22 Edith Head Fashion June 1- August 28 City Arts Center 3000 General Pershing Blvd. (405) 951-0000 The Passionate Lenses of Yousef Khanfar Through July 31 Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum 1400 Classen Dr. (405) 235-4458 Fiberworks June 19- July 17 Individual Artists of Oklahoma 706 W Sheridan (405) 232-6060 Suzanne King Randall, Claudia Carroll Phelps and Marvin Lee Through July 31 Istvan Gallery at Urban Art 1218 N. Western Ave. (405) 831-2874

Mary Ann Strandell May 7-31 Opening May 7, 6-10 Billy Schenck, Quong Ho, Karl Brenner June 4-30 Opening June 4, 6-10 JRB Art at the Elms 2810 North Walker (405) 528-6336 Bonita Wa Wa Calachaw Nuñez: Selected Works Through May 9 The Guitar: Art, Artists and Artisans Through May 9 The Power of Music: Photographic Portraits of Musical Instruments 18601915 Through May 9 When Animals Attack? Humorous Hunting Tableaux Through July 11 National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum 1700 NE 63rd (405) 478-2250 Romy Owens: The Reconstructionist Effort North Gallery Through May 16 Dean Wyatt Governor’s Gallery Through June 6 Jennifer Barron May 31- August 1 Oklahoma State Capitol Galleries 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd (405) 521-2931 Tour de Quartz 2010 Through May 9 Alfonso Ossorio: Gifts from the Ossorio Foundation Through July 11 Sketch to Screen: The Art of Hollywood Costume Design May 6- August 15 Oklahoma City Museum of Art 415 Couch Drive (405) 236-3100

Harding and Edgemere Elementary Students May 7-31 Opening May 7, 6-10 Steve Surbeck and Ruth Miano June 4-26 Opening June 4, 6-10 Paseo Art Space 3022 Paseo (405) 525-2688

Park Hill Generations: Cherokee: Language Through Art May 22- August 16 Cherokee National Historical Society, Inc. 21192 S. Keeler Drive (918) 456-6007

Sapulpa Route 66 Six by Six Art Show and Sale June 3- July 3 Opening June 3, 6-9 Water Street Art Gallery 16 South Water Street (918) 408-9671

Shawnee Spanish Colonial Religious Art, 1650- 1950 Through June 13 Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art 1900 West Macarthur (405) 878-5300

Tulsa America’s Western Storyteller Through May 2 The West of Olaf Seltzer Through August 29 Rendezvous Artists’ Retrospective Exhibition and Art Sale Through July 11 Gilcrease Museum 1400 Gilcrease Road (918) 596-2700 Tulsa ArtCar Weekend May 13-16 One Heart in Rhythm May 14-16 Living Artspace 307 E. Brady (918) 585-1234

To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum June 6-September 12 The Philbrook Museum of Art 2727 South Rockford Road (918) 749-7941 5x5 Annual Fundraiser May 5, 5:55 pm The Greenwood Project: Paintings by Eric Humphries June 4-26 Tulsa Artists Coalition Gallery 9 East Brady (918) 592-0041 The Art of Dian Church Through May 30 Tulsa Performing Arts Center Gallery Third and Cincinnati (918) 596-2368

California Sunshine, guitar sculpture with mixed media and Swarovski crystals by Amanda Dunbar. This guitar is one of twelve hanging on a rotating chandelier on display at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum through May 9.

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.


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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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Membership forms and benefits can be found at or by phone (405) 879-2400. Student Membership: $20 Individual Membership: $35 Family/Household Membership: $55 Patron Membership: $100 Sustaining Membership: $250

May MARY ANN STRANDELL Opening Reception: FRIDAY, MAY 7 6 - 10 P.M.


2810 North Walker Oklahoma City, OK 73103 Phone: 405.528.6336