Page 5

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 (www.akagallery.net), 405.606.2522. For more information on Marilyn Artus, go to marilynartus.blogspot.com. 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 urbanartokc@gmail.com.

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”

p ro f i l e

5

Art Focus Oklahoma, May/June 2010  

2010 May/June Art Focus Oklahoma is a bimonthly publication of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition dedicated to stimulating insight into and...

Art Focus Oklahoma, May/June 2010  

2010 May/June Art Focus Oklahoma is a bimonthly publication of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition dedicated to stimulating insight into and...