ArtOFocus k l a h o m a
O k l a ho ma V i s ual A r ts C oal i t i on
Vo l u m e 2 7 N o . 6
Art OFocus k l a h o m a from the editor When faced with a creative block, artists are often advised to “go with what you know.” The implication is that familiarity with a subject will shine through in the work, giving it depth and honesty, not to mention a confidence that allows the artist to work through a block. In this issue of Art Focus Oklahoma, we introduce you to several artists who have put this concept into action, expressing “what they know” on both personal and global scales. Though he is currently residing in Tulsa, Cuban artist Jose Antonio Pantoja Hernández, known as Pantoja, (p. 10) expresses the desperation of his home country in his paintings. His experience with famine, lack of resources, and governmental infringement bleed through in the work, showing his sense of despair for his family and country. Women who veil as a religious practice are at the center of the conversation in an exhibition at Oklahoma State University’s Gardiner Art Gallery (p. 14). Rather than featuring a third person opinion on the practice, the exhibition offers the women themselves a chance to express what the tradition means to them. The result is a collection of highly personal works, with often divergent reactions to the subject. Tulsa artist Nathan Opp (p. 16) is intimately familiar with the subject of his paintings – the domestic spaces of his everyday life. While the subject is personal, he portrays it in such a way to become universal; any viewer could place themselves within the work. Finally, I hope you’ll make plans to join us at the opening reception of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s new exhibition, Concept/OK: Art in Oklahoma (p. 18). We are thrilled to partner with the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa to present the inaugural exhibition at the new Hardesty Arts Center. At the reception on December 16, 1-5 pm, you’ll see artwork from many Oklahoma artists, along with related works from artists living in the region. As we wrap up the year 2012, I hope you’ll take advantage of the many opportunities to experience art in our state, and consider how they add to or challenge “what you know.”
Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition 730 W. Wilshire Blvd., Suite 104 Oklahoma City, OK 73116 ph: 405.879.2400 • e: firstname.lastname@example.org visit our website at: www.ovac-ok.org Executive Director: Julia Kirt email@example.com Editor: Kelsey Karper firstname.lastname@example.org Art Director: Anne Richardson email@example.com
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. OVAC Board of Directors July 2012 - June 2013: R.C. Morrison, Bixby; Patrick Kamann, Margo Shultes von Schlageter, MD (Treasurer), Christian Trimble, Edmond; Eric Wright, El Reno; Traci Layton, Enid; Suzanne Mitchell (President), Norman; Jennifer Barron (Vice President), Susan Beaty (Secretary), Bob Curtis, Gina Ellis, Hillary Farrell, Michael Hoffner, Kristin Huffaker, Stephen Kovash, Carl Shortt, Oklahoma City; Joey Frisillo, Sand Springs; 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.
Kelsey Karper firstname.lastname@example.org
View the online archive at www.ArtFocusOklahoma.org.
On the cover Geoffrey Krawczyk, Norman, Psychopomp, Mixed media on canvas, 55” x 59.5”. Krawczyk is featured in the Concept/OK: Focus exhibition. See page 18.
p ro f i l e s 4
Preserving the Classics: Leslie Lienau’s Realism
Edmond artist Leslie Lienau’s appreciation and practice of classical artistic techniques led her to found the Conservatory for Classical Art.
Home Court Advantage: Robbie Kienzle
As the City of Oklahoma City’s new Arts and Cultural Affairs Liaison, Kienzle is focusing on incorporating art into downtown’s public places.
Pantoja in Tulsa: Fighting for Freedom Through Art
Cuban artist Jose Antonio Pantoja Hernández is currently living in Tulsa, creating artwork that expresses his frustrations with and hopes for his home country.
Connecting the Dots: Steve Tomlin at Tulsa Performing Arts Center
In a new exhibition, Tomlin shows his love for color and its evocative and emotional possibilities.
p re v i e w s 14
The Veil: Visible and Invisible Spaces
Nathan Opp: Recent Paintings
An exhibition at Oklahoma State University’s Gardiner Gallery gives context to the discussion around veiling as a religious practice. Quiet, everyday domestic scenes are transformed with light and color in a new series of paintings by Tulsa artist Nathan Opp.
18 Concept/OK: Focus – An Oklahoma and Kansas City exchange
OVAC’s new exhibition, Concept/OK: Art in Oklahoma, presents a broad survey of Oklahoma artists in context with artists from the region.
f e a t u re s 24 State of Art: The Central Oklahoma Artist Support Study
The Cultural Development Corporation of Central Oklahoma recently released a study examining the opportunities for individual artists living and working in central Oklahoma.
business of art 26
Ask a Creativity Coach: Set the Stage for Sucess
The Creativity Coach offers advice on how to deal with frustrations and impatience when switching gears in your art.
at a glance 27
Opening Party Welcomes New Collection and Returning Students
The James T. Bialac Collection at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman celebrates Native American culture in Oklahoma and the American Southwest.
OVAC news 28
New and Renewing Members
(p. 4) Leslie Lienau, Edmond, Thunderhead, Pastel on paper, 3” x 5” (p.16) Nathan Opp, Tulsa, Woman on Couch Resting with Cat, Oil on canvas, 24” x 36” (p.13) Steve Tomlin, Tulsa, Applause, Acrylic on Canvas, 24” x 24”
Preserving the Classics: Leslie Lienau’s Realism by Tiffany Barber
A young girl is pictured profile, wearing a red scarf that completely covers her hair. Her white blouse folds and covers her right shoulder. She looks straight ahead, her eyelids slightly heavy. She is surrounded by a blue and grey background and centered between the edges of the image. Line is defined but soft; color is rich but subtle; texture is present but refined. The work is Girl in a Red Scarf (2011) by Edmond-based artist Leslie Lienau. Rendered in pastel on paper, the simplicity of the composition registers immediately then quickly becomes more complex with closer observation. Line dissolves into a painterly quality of abstraction as layers of color are revealed through deliberate shading; the build-up of pastel on the surface of the paper creates palpable texture. In its small, intimate scale – the piece is 6 inches x 6 inches – Girl in a Red Scarf draws the viewer into a world that is at once unassuming, mysterious, and well-composed. Leslie Lienau began as a self-taught artist working primarily in watercolors. Lienau later studied briefly with painter Jacob Collins, founder of Grand Central Academy of Art in New York who encouraged her to
study with painter Ted Seth Jacobs at L’Ecole Albert Defois in Les Cerqueux, France. While working with Jacobs, Lienau learned the importance of mindful copying. Lienau was initially drawn to realism because it was a style she could understand and identify with. More importantly, she could copy it. While in France, Lienau’s approach to copying moved from mindless to mindful practice, bringing a more focused intentionality to her work. Lienau’s practice, which includes portraiture, landscape, still life, and abstraction, is best described as contemporary realism. Artists working in the US and Canada in the 1960s and ‘70s popularized contemporary realism, a movement based in figuration. Contemporary realism reinterprets classical realism, privileging natural yet highly objective representations of objects and subjects that capture and portray the real rather than the ideal. Following contemporary realism, Lienau combines the training of classical realism with an explorative and impressionistic approach to her work. Lienau counts Arizona-based representational painter Dan Robinson as a core influence in
developing her current style. Her practice has shifted away from her previous work with watercolors. Now Lienau prefers pastels, though she also works in graphite, charcoal, and oil. The practice of drawing has always been at the center of Lienau’s approach to artmaking. For Lienau, “the practice of drawing is fundamental as well as the understanding of design.” The importance of drawing and design informs Lienau’s affinity for master painters such as Da Vinci, Caravaggio, and Rembrandt. In the artist’s words, these artists “understood anatomy, light, composition, and design.” Lienau brings age-old methods established in the Italian Renaissance, Dutch Golden Age, and Beaux-Arts traditions to both her studio and teaching practices of the past thirty years. In 2011, Lienau opened The Conservatory for Classical Art (CCA) to meet the expanding needs of the teaching studio she maintained from her home. The CCA is a private fine art teaching studio that prepares students for further study at larger academies, universities, and art schools. The CCA occupies what used to be the Edmond School of Ballet, founded by Caroline Glasgow under a similar vision as the CCA: to offer basic yet serious training in classical forms of ballet. The school’s curriculum is designed to instill strong skills, knowledge, and understanding of traditional techniques and practices of canonical and present-day master painters and draftsmen. The CCA offers a range of adult and youth classes, workshops, and long courses taught by Lienau and a host of local and visiting instructors. Central to its mission is a scholarship program for qualifying low- and middle-income youth for which an online fundraiser was launched at the end of October 2012. continued on pg. 6
(opposite page) Leslie Lienau, Edmond, Patty, Oil on linen, 8” x 10” (left) Leslie Lienau, Edmond, The Girl With The Red Scarf, Pastel on paper, 6” x 6”
p ro f i l e
continued from pg. 5
Leslie Lienau, Edmond, Strawberries In A Bowl, Pastel on paper, 12” x 9”
The CCA functions as one of the region’s only ateliers devoted to classical, academic visual art instruction for youth and adults. The CCA recently offered workshops in “Sculpting the Portrait” with Alicia Ponzio and “Classical Figure Drawing” and “Poster Study” with Nicholas Enevoldsen; both Ponzio and Enevoldsen trained at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. Of special note is the youth atelier, a four-year studio program of intensive study in drawing, color theory, painting, sculpture, and art history. With a growing enrollment of 72 students, Lienau hopes to add
p ro f i l e
a fully developed sculpture program and to eventually move the school to Oklahoma City. Leslie Lienau is a recurring participating artist in OVAC’s 12x12 Art Fundraiser. Her work has been exhibited at the Governor’s Gallery in the Oklahoma State Capitol building and at the American Art in Miniature Show at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK. Her work is held in a number of private and public collections. She lives and works in Edmond. For more information, please visit www.leslielienau.com or www.classicalart.org. n
Tiffany Barber is a freelance visual arts writer and organizer. Her curatorial projects have featured work by artists responding aesthetically to the conditions of urbanization in the contemporary moment. Tiffany is a PhD student in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester. Her writings on contemporary art have been published in Beautiful/Decay, THE Magazine Los Angeles, Public Art Review, Art Focus Oklahoma and online publications ForYourArt, Americans for the Arts, LatinArt, and Evil Monito Magazine.
U N I V E R S I T Y
C O L L E G E
C E N T R A L O F
F I N E
O K L A H O M A
A R T S
A N D
D E S I G N
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 @uco.edu
*This collection features pieces on loan from the Kirkpatrick Center Affiliated fund and Perry and Angela Tennison.
Home Court Advantage: Robbie Kienzle by Romy Owens
One of the locations Robbie Kienzle imagines rotating public art is along the concrete portion of this parking garage at sheridan and walker where artists could install panels of large scale 2D works.
Imagine downtown Oklahoma City after the Thunder wins a big game: thousands of people in the midst of a street party, chanting, cheering. Certainly, it’s not too difficult to visualize as in May 2012, the Thunder garnered national media for Oklahoma City, and the day after the Thunder’s game two win over the Miami Heat during the playoffs, videos of the previous night’s riotous celebration showed hundreds of people crammed into the underpass at Sheridan and EK Gaylord. (Search “OKC riot after thunder game” on YouTube.)
p ro f i l e
“How cool would it have been to have some amazing mural or mosaic art or a light display in that tunnel?” asks Robbie Kienzle, Arts and Cultural Affairs Liaison for the Oklahoma City Planning Department. “That would have shown the world that OKC is really cool.”
Kienzle’s number one goal in her first year as the city’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Liaison is to develop a comprehensive master plan for public art which will integrate public art into the city’s current, and future, initiatives like Core to Shore, Project 180, and MAPS 3.
In 2009, the Oklahoma City Council approved a plan that requires one percent of construction expenses spent on city-owned property to be spent on public art. Artwork installed in the tunnel entrances to Bricktown is just one of the possibilities of how to integrate art in public places in downtown Oklahoma City.
“You know, when we have this amazing convention center and a 70 acre park that connects our convention center to all the things going on at the river: an Olympic trial ground, a white water kayaking facility… combined with the American Indian Cultural Center that represents 39 tribes… this is huge!
“There’s an expectation for the art piece,” she proclaimed. “We need to have guidance on some of these world class [art] pieces to help us complete that thought of having these world class facilities.” Prior to accepting her new liaison position, which oversees Oklahoma City’s Arts Commission, Kienzle was the Urban Redevelopment Division Director of the Oklahoma City Planning Department. Kienzle also worked as the director for the Festival of the Arts. “What I learned at the Arts Council [of Oklahoma City] is that people support what they help to create,” she explained. Previously, she was the city of Shawnee’s Oklahoma Main Street manager and the executive director of the American Institute of Architects. As a visual art consultant for the Will Rogers World Airport expansion, the Skydance Pedestrian Bridge, and previous MAPS projects, including the ballpark, downtown library and canal, Kienzle has experienced the subtleties involved in selecting the right art for the right location. Among her personal all time favorite artworks are Claes Oldenburg’s large outdoor sculptures. “I guess I have an obsession with art as everyday objects.” Philadelphia, Kansas City, Seattle, Albuquerque and Tulsa all sustain successful public art programs. According to the National League of Cities, “Communities of ‘cookie-cutter’ developments are ill-prepared for long-term sustainability because they lack defining characteristics that distinguish them from any other community.” Public art is a substantial way to establish the uniqueness of a city. Kienzle believes that cities establish positions for arts and cultural affairs when they’re confident that they’re on the right track and making big things happen. “They see the economic value in both attracting people to their cities as well as job creation benefits from artists of all disciplines being employed.” Looking ahead, Kienzle sees continued development in the Oklahoma City art community. “Good things take time,” she
Robbie Kienzle at the entrance to Bricktown at EK Gaylord and Sheridan where she envisions the possibilities of a large-scale site-specific public artwork.
explained. “I see more artistic enclaves, more temporary public art, more collecting from local artists, more art in schools, more cross-disciplinary work, and a real opportunity to grow our local music and performance venues.” In 2011, the Oklahoma state legislature voted to suspend the state art in public places act for three years. However, Kienzle doesn’t believe the city will follow suit. “I think the two governmental bodies think differently about this because they have different roles and responsibilities and different experience with regard to community and economic development.”
critical city in a good way,” Kienzle explained. “We’re always seeking excellence. Even some of the biggest critics at the time of the negotiations for bringing the Thunder to OKC have been won over now because they understand the value of it. I bet they have a Thunder t-shirt and go to games.” (To see a video of the proposed Core to Shore development from 2010 to 2035 go to http://blog.newsok.com/okccentral/video.) n Romy Owens spends most of her time taking photos and sewing them together. She can be reached via mental telepathy or at romyowens.com.
“The one thing we can count on in [Oklahoma] City is that we’re a highly
p ro f i l e
Pantoja in Tulsa: Fighting for Freedom Through Art by Britt Greenwood
Jose Antonio Pantoja Hernández, Tulsa, The Catfish, Oil on canvas, 47” x 26”
Most Cubans never leave their country. “You see the airplanes coming and going and you think, maybe someday I will be on one.” The day Jose Antonio Pantoja Hernández boarded his first airplane was his first flight towards freedom, landing in Mexico and then northern bound. From June through mid-August the artist, known as Pantoja, took occupancy at a temporary gallery space in Tulsa’s Brady Arts District with his exhibit, The Deterioration of Nostalgia. I was privileged to meet with the artist on several occasions before he closed his exhibit. Pantoja’s oil paintings bleed desperation
p ro f i l e
and the color usage is reminiscent of a desert - a barren world empty of hope. Pantoja’s color palette typically remains somber with grays, dull blues and tans balanced by corals and sky blues. Although some of his paintings lack the colorful addition and remain dark with dim illumination reflecting some of the darkest periods in Cuban history. Remaining consistent in his painterly style, Pantoja also creates 3-dimensional wooden artworks, including carvings and assembled pieces. The artist commented on the antique tools gifted to him, “These chisels I received from one old master [carpenter] before he died, so I couldn’t leave them behind and brought them with me. I know that here you can
find special tools but nothing like my chisels.” Pantoja worked under the master during Cuba’s Special Period -- a period of widespread famine, lack of basic resources and governmental infringement during the 1990s. Within every artwork, emaciated figures, ruined villages and grotesquely characterized subjects devour the canvas and imagination. Yet, his work is still beautiful. The works are beautiful not necessarily in appearance but beautiful because they are a raw glimpse into the Cuban soul. Pantoja’s art uses many layers of symbolism, from the larger spectrum of symbolizing
(left to right) Jose Antonio Pantoja Hernández, Tulsa, Dictatorship, Oil on canvas, 48” x 48”; My Town, Oil on canvas, 48” x 48”; the artist Jose Antonio Pantoja Hernández, known as Pantoja, in his studio.
governmental control and an impoverished nation to smaller references such as specific villages, people and events.
society with little natural resources. What resources do remain are not rooted, fruitful or permanent.
Addressing governmental control in his oil painting The Catfish, Pantoja uses this character to symbolize the Special Period, in which the government imported Chinese hybrid catfish to help feed its starving nation. Cuban citizens believe this has negatively impacted the natural ecosystem. In the painting, the fish’s head is likely that of Fidel Castro with a decaying Cuba riding on the back. Legs and claws protrude from the fish’s belly; they are ugly and unnatural much like the dictatorship reigning in Cuba against freedom and decent humanity. Beneath the creature, other symbolic references are lying on the ocean floor -- the sunken boat and inner-tube with paddles reflect the Cubans’ lives lost who were seeking freedom in the U.S.
Available on Amazon.com, Pantoja’s book, The Deterioration of Nostalgia: The Art of Jose Antonio Pantoja Hernández, depicts images of his artwork accompanying the article, “The Bottomless Ache of the Revolution,” written by journalist and founder of This Land Press, Michael Mason. The article covers Mason’s experience in meeting and developing a friendship with Pantoja and becoming one of the life altering connections in the artist’s escape. In order to highlight the paramount art of Pantoja, Mason explains: “The significance of Pantoja’s work is that it is singular -- there is no other Cuban artist that serves as a reference point. He painted dissident art, under duress, during Cuba’s darkest periods -- and he may be the only artist to have done so successfully.”
In My Town, Pantoja references his hometown, Bejucal, desecrated by government sanctioned poverty. The building protruding from the skull, symbolizing Bejucal, leans unstably on an empty wasteland with a singular living palm tree and a dying tree rooting over the skull, conveying the death of a healthy
Pantoja’s journey to Tulsa was an artist’s fight, a stand against dictatorship. His art is a message, more than a political battle cry for freedom; every stroke of paint Pantoja applies to canvas is a beckoning to humanity, craving the understanding of viewers. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the message,” he repeated several times in our
conversations. When the word “freedom” is spoken out from Pantoja’s Spanish accent, it escapes from his breath with longing and lingering disparity in his eyes. When the idea of freedom is painted, it escapes from Pantoja through the pigment he manifests. Like My Town, the gallery space Pantoja once filled with his artwork now stands empty and baron. The future of Pantoja is unknown. Homesick for loved ones in Cuba, he has contemplated returning, risking imprisonment and the likelihood he will never return to the U.S. Pantoja’s artwork can be seen and purchased online at www.artmajeur.com/pantojaart. n Britt Greenwood is a freelance writer, founder of Tulsa Art Spot, www.tulsaartspot.com and Arts Advocacy Captain for Oklahomans for the Arts.
p ro f i l e
Connecting the Dots: Steve Tomlin at Tulsa Performing Arts Center by Scott Hurst
Steve Tomlin, Tulsa, Youthful Spirit, Acrylic on Canvas, 20” x 20”
Steve Tomlin paints in acrylic, usually on canvas, sometimes on wood. He loves color, with its evocative and emotional possibilities. And he is, to use an expression my dad used to say, a “people person.” “People are more important than art,” Tomlin said in a recent conversation. “Having a dual career as an artist and a teacher gives me that philosophy.” Currently he teaches art at Edison Preparatory High School in Tulsa, though for years he taught kids at the elementary school level. There’s no reason to make a choice between people and art. This artist spends his days passing along his experience and
p re v i e w
knowledge to budding young would-be artists, while nights and weekends allow time to pursue his own ideas and passions. In November, Tomlin will be displaying some of the results of the last few years in downtown Tulsa at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. During a studio visit, I immediately found myself jotting down observations I made of some of his most recent pieces. He continues to undergo change, as I think any healthy and wide-awake artist does, and I noticed a shift away from the more geometrical and grid-related preoccupations he had been wrestling with in 2003 – 2009. The newer
work tends toward a renewed spontaneity (I say “renewed” because the paintings he made during the 1980s and ‘90s were full of play and the spontaneous, in terms of both gesture and imagery). “In the last four months I’ve been unconsciously improvising,” Tomlin said. I saw this as a sign that somehow he had managed to overcome or at least get beyond the issues/ concerns that had been dominating his earlier work. However, when I visited again two weeks later, some of the older motifs had begun to creep back in. “I’ve discovered in the last couple of weeks, during which I’ve been
working steadily, that I’m readdressing pattern by adding dots, graphic dots, and thereby going back to the more geometric stuff.” Maybe he hasn’t worked through the geometric issues to his own satisfaction. “I don’t know whether it’s good or bad,” he added. Either way, he seems to be forging his path on foot, pacing it out honestly and without shortcuts. When asked how he thought people might see his more recent work, he said “I would hope they see that I’m cautiously evolving.” In Youthful Spirit I read a central shape as a sort of abstracted nutcracker, which serves to connect several other asymmetrically and organically-inclined forms. The dark central core in this rather small canvas spirals out unpredictably into yellow, red and green patches and spaces. Another work, Sunset, features forms reminiscent of multicolored tree trunks that are related to each other by a horizontal band of yellow close to the center of the square field, and brings to mind Fauvist paintings by Andre Derain. Odd shapes of summertime green jut out here and there, answering to leaves. Good the Next Morning made me think of Kandinsky’s earlier, organic abstract period (ca. 1910), not because it imitated the former, but as a source that had been digested and understood, and then brought to bear in the working out of a different idea. This rectangular painting shows a cluster of energized smaller forms battling it out just to the right of center. There are two pieces in particular that represent where Tomlin has been artistically during the last few years. One is a triptych from 2007, each panel being 48” x 36”. The colors are a golden yellow, with hints of orange, red, and darker outlines here and there. It is quiet, introspective even, with repeating circles within a gridded square format. It does not wave, offer to shake hands, or come out to greet you. It seems to be waiting, perhaps for a viewer who has experienced something of the same emotional pitch or intellectual turmoil. By contrast, a 48” x 48” acrylic on panel from 2009, nicely framed in wood painted to look like metal, allows you to breathe and get your bearings. Where the triptych takes up space without really occupying it, this one seems more alive, with big gestures and rich, vibrant color. You can feel Tomlin’s love for the art of Henri Matisse here, even though it doesn’t
Steve Tomlin, Tulsa, Color Stratum, Acrylic on Canvas, 16” x 16”
look like a Matisse. In terms of the abstracted imagery it resembles a vortex of some kind, but a friendly vortex, welcoming you into the inner life of a working painter, with all the contradictions that implies. Steve Tomlin: Inspirations runs from November 1 – 28 at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, 110 E. 2nd St., Tulsa, OK. n Scott Hurst, a Tulsa-based painter and writer, lives in the woods with his dogs Myrtle and Otis, a turtle, and lots of books. You can reach him at email@example.com.
p re v i e w
The Veil: Visible and Invisible Spaces by Jennifer Barron
Veiling as a religious practice transcends culture, language, and geography. While today the act of veiling is most often associated with devout Muslim women, veils are a part of cultural and religious practices from Hinduism and Amish tradition to Judaism and Catholicism, as well as Islam. In some countries, veiling for women is strictly enforced by law. In others, it is banned. In recent years, volumes have been written, spoken, and debated about the practice of veiling in Islam. Yet, with all of this attention, the voices of women who choose to wear it have largely been absent, leaving veiled women shrouded in misunderstanding and cliché. Against this backdrop, curator Jennifer Heath aims to shift our focus, restoring context to the decision to veil and placing women who veil at the center of this discussion. Heath’s exhibition, The Veil: Visible and Invisible Spaces, comes to Oklahoma State University this fall, bringing 29 artists with often highly personal, often divergent reactions to this subject. “The veil’s meaning can only be defined by those who choose it,” Heath offers, reiterating the focus of her show. “I was less interested in whether artists ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ the veil. That is not really the point. I wanted to give people historical and cultural context, to understand more.” This exhibition began for Heath as a collection of essays. The writers she contacted - all women - explored the practice in the context of extremely diverse religious traditions, from medieval saints to contemporary Muslim activists. Despite differences in geography, creed, and culture, religious veiling across the world remains “primarily a female practice,” Heath told me, “so I wanted to hear from women.” After publishing the anthology, Heath became curious to see the reactions of visual artists to this topic. “I was trying to find artists who could fully contextualize the veil, and at the same time, I recognized that veiling was such a visual thing. I thought, there must be different points of view on veiling among visual artists, and I want to know what they are.” Heath speaks with great affection about the works in this show. She describes Iranian-born
Yassi Golshani’s The Women as “beautiful, a wonderful commentary.” The piece features a series of dozens of small sculptures of veiled women, created from papier-mâché Iranian newspapers. The sculptures lie in neat rows, carefully placed. They are at once delicate and powerful, reminiscent of dolls, totems, or cocoons, brimming with symbolism and burgeoning potential. Christine Breslin’s video work Beyond the Veil: Interview with Young Muslim Women explores veiling from an outsider’s perspective. Heath explains that Breslin’s project began shortly after September 11, 2001, when Breslin, who was living in New York, was struggling to process her own fear, uncertainty, and personal reactions to the terrorist attacks. “She also happened to go to a Ramadan dinner around the same time,” Heath explained, “and she became very curious about Islam, and about people who practice it.” Interviewees include adolescents, teens, and young adults, each speaking frankly about her faith and her decision to veil. Although this work was created by a nonMuslim, it still places the experiences of Muslim women at its center, presenting her subjects’ words without intervening interpretation, and allowing them to stand in their own context. This work was initially presented as one part of a much larger installation. The Veil has travelled to venues throughout the country since 2008. Heath sees this exhibition as an extension of her academic work, even commenting, “I’m not all that interested in the ‘art world.’ I am primarily interested in ways of thinking and expressing, and in social justice movements in general.” To her, the exploration made by the artists and the interaction available through a visual art show lends the work visibility and accessibility that she finds valuable. Heath writes in her exhibit materials: “The veil is visible, yet it is also a means of concealment.” This contrast between the easily recognizable veil and the hidden women underneath naturally leads to curiosity, interest and even stereotyping among people who are unfamiliar with the tradition. These varied reactions are what Heath describes as the heart of the show’s
(above) Yassi Golshani, The Women (detail), 2006, Papier-mâché from Iranian newspapers. (opposite page) Christine Breslin, Beyond the Veil: Interview with Young Muslim Women, 2006, Video Still.
unpredicted popularity. “This show captures a lot, both lore and politics around the veil... I think that people are curious-- they want to know more. They want to know what it is.” The artists of The Veil offer diverse responses, but no dominant definition. For Heath, this is the point. Each artist approaches veiling with her own memory, ideology, cultural reference, and history, laying bare the deeply personal while covering the issue from all sides. The Veil: Visible and Invisible Spaces is on display at the Oklahoma State University’s Gardiner Gallery through November 2. 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.
p re v i e w
Nathan Opp: Recent Paintings by Krystle Brewer
Nathan Opp, Tulsa, Woman on Couch with Man in Hall, Oil on linen, 24â€? x 24â€?
Paintings of the interiors of homes with unidentified human subjects is not a contemporary concept. Genre paintings from the sixteenth century Flemish Baroque period and the seventeenth century Dutch Golden Age were the first to classify this concept of painting everyday common folk. These paintings are important to history as they document the lives of those depicted
p re v i e w
and because a wide group of people could see themselves in the paintings, they were very popular in their time. This idea was as relevant then as it is today. Following in this same vein with a contemporary lens, Nathan Opp takes everyday domestic spaces with anonymous figures and then begins to play with light and
color. His work is pure and honest without a fabricated narrative or underlying intent. Oppâ€™s snapshots from within his own home capture the light, space, and figures but leave out identifiable details so the spaces and people can be easily relatable to his audience. Viewers can experience his paintings simply for the skill, light, and familiarity of the subject matter or project their own
commentary on to the composition. He chooses to document spaces within his home as they are naturally the ones he is most familiar with. In choosing spaces so close to him, he can return to them often to broaden his understanding of how the changing angle of the sun transforms the space throughout the day with natural lighting. He is fascinated with this light as well as artificial lighting and how their interaction with one another can alter the overall feeling and mood of a room. Intensity, shadows cast, and warmth of the light are all aspects he analyzes in his work.
Nathan Opp, Tulsa, Man in Hallway with Cat, Oil on canvas, 30” x 20”
He does not just look at how the light transforms the space but also how it interacts with his human subjects. In his piece Man in Hallway with Cat, an unseen light source illuminates the room with a warm glow. The composition draws the viewer’s eye into the doorway of the lit space and to rest on the figure between his head and shoulder where the light is refracting off his hair and clothing. The man, as well as the cat, who is looking back at the viewer, breaks up the light of the composition with his presence and sends soft shadows down the canvas. The light sources become elements as important as the figure and spaces depicted. These spaces portray the typical, contemporary, middle-class American in their living environments. Influenced by master Jan Vermeer and Modernist Edward Hopper, Opp documents the homes and their inhabitants of his time. Majority of viewers can then identify with the spaces as being similar to their own homes and lives. The idea of a home is universal and personal. For it is within these walls that people live out some of life’s highlights thus making it an intimate and important space. The most inviting aspect of these paintings is their peaceful nature. They are quiet and calm spaces of a home where normal people live and go about their daily domestic activities while the viewer silently watches as an invisible bystander. Their serenity draws memories of a lazy Sunday afternoon of relaxing on the couch, reading through the week’s mail, or aimlessly wandering through the home. He specifically chooses these near action-less moments as opposed to depicting
something such as a family celebration, because these are the contemplative still moments that do not require a narrative. The figures in his paintings are of his family members and close friends (quite similar subjects as our Flemish and Dutch schools of painting mentioned previously) and although he captures an aspect of them displayed in their posture and position, they are not characters playing a role or historical documents of actual people. This ambiguity is intentional for the purpose of making them timeless. They capture not a specific man, woman, and child but every man, woman, and child of his era. To support this effort of vagueness, he gives them dry, academic titles only defining the gender and a unique characteristic for the purpose of identifying the painting against his whole body of work. His paintings are academic, full of light, and feel familiar to his audiences though they have never visited the places depicted. They remind the viewers of their own safe havens they return to every evening while creating a calming warm feeling in the concept of “home.” In today’s context, they are stills from the artist’s life that are relatable to his viewers. In the future, they will be esteemed paintings viewed as documenting the time they were created and serve as windows into past American lives. This exhibit is small and intimate, allowing viewers to reflect on them and their importance as Opp documents our history just as his predecessors had done. This exhibit will be on display at the Ponca City Art Center from November 16th to December 23rd. More information can be found on the Ponca City Art Center website, www.poncacityartcenter.com. n Krystle Brewer received her BFA from Oklahoma City University and is currently pursuing her MA in Art History at Oklahoma State University while working as a Research Assistant at the OSU Museum of Art. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
p re v i e w
Concept/OK: Focus An Oklahoma and Kansas City Exchange by Kirsten Olds and Blair Schulman
Grace Grothaus’ project, Re(view) in Situ, will take viewers on a walking tour to visit the locations that inspired her paintings. Using her smartphone application, they can use their phone as a looking glass to view an imaginary world based on that exact location.
Concept/OK: Art in Oklahoma, a new exhibition from the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC), will open at the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa’s Hardesty Arts Center (AHHA) on December 16, 2012, with a reception from 1-5 pm. Inviting audiences to investigate current art making in Oklahoma, the exhibition presents a broad survey of Oklahoma artists in context with artists from the region. Liza Statton, an independent curator based in Australia, curated the Concept/OK: Focus portion of the exhibition. Statton selected four Focus artists from both Oklahoma and Kansas City. Each of these artists will present new work at the December exhibition in Tulsa before developing an exhibition in Kansas City, at the Charlotte Street Foundation’s La Esquina gallery. By presenting artists from two locations in two places, Concept/OK: Focus builds on the connections between artists and art scenes in our region. Statton likened these networks to a mobile phone coverage map, where the areas of dense coverage would convey where artists’ “concepts, intentions, and interests converge and overlap in multiple ways.” Discussing her selection of the nine Focus artists, Statton commented on the innovative ways in which
p re v i e w
they explored the intersections of material and form. She also pointed out they use their works as means to meditate on the human condition: our changing relationships, environment, and cultural products. As the first installment of a recurring biennial exhibition, Concept/OK marks just one node in the nexus of artistic communication and collaboration that creates a vital, sustainable arts scene in this region.
FOCUS ARTISTS: OKLAHOMA by Kirsten Olds Each of the four Oklahoma-based Focus artists is engaged with currents in the contemporary art world and yet is also producing art deeply rooted in the Oklahoma experience. Using different visual languages and modes of address, they explore the transformation of our environment—by technology, culture, politics, history, and consumption. Grace Grothaus In her proposed work for the Concept/OK exhibition, Re(view) in Situ, Tulsa artist Grace Grothaus takes viewers on the equivalent of a Situationist dérive through the streets of downtown Tulsa, structuring an opportunity
for them to experience the urban landscape anew. After downloading an application to their smartphones or picking up a hard copy handout, viewers follow a map to specific street locations. Once there, by looking through the viewfinder on their smartphone camera, they see that exact location as it has been painted by Grothaus. She has very literally substituted her own vision of the scene for yours. And yet her vision, enabled by the mobile app (called Augmented Reality), actually calls into question how technology mediates our experience of the world, how it may have supplanted the real with the virtual. Her paintings themselves, are back-lit abstractions of the urban environment. In them, Grothaus has developed a fresh perspective on the language of abstraction, drawn more from the intersecting worlds of circuit boards, maps, and petri dishes than the austere formalism of early twentieth century icons of modernism. Her paintings are equivalents for the experiences she hopes to prompt in viewers. They express the conditions of landscape at the crossroads, not simply between nature and the built environment, but between the real and the simulated. At the heart of Re(view) in Situ is a simple question, one we should all ask of ourselves, “do we understand the world we live in anymore?”
Romy Owens, Oklahoma City, down in the basement we hear the sound of machines, photographs and thread, 48” x 648”
Romy Owens Although at first glance it might not seem so, Romy Owens’ practice also involves transforming our experience of the urban environment. The Oklahoma City artist shoots digital photographs of city buildings, often focusing on largely overlooked or seemingly insignificant details, such as the empty spaces that frame a graffito scrawl. She sutures portions of these photographs to one another to create abstract tapestries that explore the basic elements of art making: color, line, plane, space. That these concerns are most often associated with painting only heightens the inventiveness of Owens’ practice—she frees photography from its most frequent use as descriptive medium and empowers it as the starting point for an abstract visual language. Owens then reinserts narrative back into photography, not through the subjects of the photographs themselves, which remain largely obscured, but through her process. The stitches are indexes of her time spent in the repeated, ritual task of punching holes and pulling thread through the paper. Handwritten annotations on the verso provide logs of the works’ own making—where Owens began sewing, what time, and what she was watching on the television, for example,
as her thimbled fingers worked needle and paper again. These diary-like jottings paired with the works’ titles—she called a previous series The Keanues after the actor from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and captioned individual objects with movie quotes—add an almost chatty personal dimension that counters the cerebral, quiet beauty of the compositions. The incursion of elements from mass culture into the seemingly rarified world of abstraction reminds us that these exquisite formal arrangements are linked to the world outside art; they are shaped as much by the hum of the TV and grit of the streets as they are by David Hockney’s photocollaged landscapes and the photographs of Walker Evans and Sally Mann. The annotations unravel a little about Owens and the work itself, revealing that her practice, at its most simplified and poignant, is about deconstructing and reconstructing our own worlds, one paper square and stitch at a time. Geoffrey Krawczyk Geoffrey Krawczyk’s project is very much rooted in the world we inhabit, its histories, its present, its contradictions, divisions, and injustices. In Breaking Bread he extends an invitation to the Oklahoma community to share food and conversation with him over a red cedar table. As viewers nibble
the fried bread Krawczyk plans to provide, its greasy residue stains the table’s wooden surface. These stains form a palimpsest over the hand-engraved table top, which bears a map of Oklahoma’s tribal jurisdictions. The marks resemble scars on the indigenous wood, evoking a subtle reminder of the state’s fraught past: of the Indian Removal Act of the 19th century and the subsequent westward relocation of tribes from east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory. A self-identified non-native American artist, Krawczyk offers Breaking Bread not as a confrontation, but in the spirit of collaboration—to forge a dialogue with native Oklahomans of all affiliations about moving forward while not forgetting the past. With this intervention, the Norman-based Krawczyk also enters into an ongoing dialogue in the contemporary art world, participating in two of the most visible strains of art-making in the past twenty years: post-colonial theory and relational aesthetics. Like the former, Krawczyk’s work negotiates the complex issues of identity and history in an increasingly global environment, one that is nonetheless still shaped and shackled by its colonial past. Relational aesthetics becomes the vehicle for the exploration of these concerns. In its participatory, communal
p re v i e w
Geoffrey Krawczyk at work on the red cedar table that is central to his Focus piece Breaking Bread.
nature Breaking Bread asserts the belief that bringing people together in face-to-face human interactions can itself initiate the slow process of change. And, for Krawczyk, that process starts at the dinner table. Aaron Hauck Aaron Hauck, an assistant professor of art at East Central University, is also engaged with ideas about consumption and community. His practice confronts how consumerism has transformed our lives and our environment. Titles of past works, such as Save Money Live Better and Even Smaller Footprints Have Large Footprints, indict the “bigger, better, faster, more” lifestyle that has shaped our
consumer landscape, and that, in turn, is eroding our natural landscape. The work Hauck is producing for Concept/OK questions the sustainability and ethics of this kind of approach. Icons of civilization—bridges, pyramids, and skyscrapers, for example—will appear to consist of processed food products; these new cultural buildings lack the solidity and durability of conventional materials such as brick, steel, or stone. In the near future, as these structures deteriorate, they will leave behind not the rubble ruins that embody the heights of Western civilization, but instead non-degradable plastic packaging, symbols of a throwaway culture. What’s the half-life of a ziggurat of Happy Meal toys? Hauck draws on the vocabulary of Pop art— synthetic materials, slick surfaces, techniques associated with mass production—but unlike the ambivalence of much 1960s-era Pop, his work falls squarely on the side of critique. He uses different types of man-made materials, among them Styrofoam, epoxy resin, MDF, thermoformed plastic, and even Wal-Mart shopping bags, in a way that heightens our attention to the ubiquity of plastics in our everyday lives. Like his fellow Focus artists, he offers his work as a first step in prompting us to re-engage with the world around us—as we think we know it, as we actually see it, and as we hope it will be.
FOCUS ARTISTS: KANSAS CITY by Blair Schulman
(top) Aaron Hauck, Afton, Cloud Buster, Polystyrene, epoxy, and enamel, 24” x 14” x 24” (bottom) Aaron Hauck, Afton, Temple, MDF, epoxy, and enamel, 24” x 24” x 7”
p re v i e w
Jason Carron The video work of Jason Carron portrays a spastic reaction to human mental activities. Given our proclivities for self-awareness, Carron examines the in-between space of our truest and most honest, inherent behaviors. His use of the body and natural expressions are groundings in reality that delineate the
complexities of idealistic theories and answers. Nudity is no boundary, in fact, it’s a gateway that his viewers can enter to receive an honest rendering of how one responds and reports to the sequence of movements and mind. In his final year at University of Missouri – Kansas City, Carron is working towards his BA in Studio Art. However, the level of openness is something that excels far outside the academic mindset towards a less rigid, ritualistic tenacity. This is an ongoing experimentation with a feel towards performance art and a nod to Pop where he appears to surrender himself to the journey of discovering interactions of human traditions. It poses the question that philosophers have pursued for centuries; that without reciting clichés, the search for the self is eternal. Does acknowledging the absolute singularity of oneself portend to be who the individual is, or who they pretend to be? French philosopher Jacques Derrida once remarked, “The difference between the who and the what at the heart of love, separates the heart…Often, love starts with some type of seduction…” To contextualize this with what Carron is striving for, we must first seduce ourselves into understanding what our true aims really are. Before we can convince another that our portrayal of the self is accurate we must first make a production between mind and body that is worthy to show others. Within this space, Carron’s video work unpacks the who and the what that isn’t always apparent to an unconscious mind. Garry Noland Garry Noland works in the realm of reincarnation. Transforming materials from their original intent, he provides them with new identities, eliciting transformative experiences for both the work and those who behold it.
Jason Carron, Kansas City, Video stills from: Don’t Think About It, 2012, 3 HD videos, sound, 04m16sec, continuous play and Ideal and Actual, 2012, 3 silent HD videos, continuous play
His earlier works were formations that utilized International Morse Code, a universally recognized symbol of communication, even though rarely, if ever, used in a digitized society. Noland incorporated the dots and dashes to develop a message that is unintelligible without the proper spaces between these dots and dashes. To this end, Noland infers the human race loses individual identity without the connectivity of the non-human world, however the two are placed or employed. On a more recognizable plateau, Noland argues that racial identities also experience diluted identities when not coexisting with one another. Both ends, however they’re sized, must behave sideby-side in order for their natural identities to flourish and be recognized by one another. Noland’s newer work is derived from accumulated, stacked, layered, and collaged forms. These materials, more familiarly, tapes of all shapes, sizes, colors and finishes, refer back to his earlier theories. Two people can look at the same patterning and derive different states of completeness. He is interested in what people feel should happen to a body of work. Is this complete? What would it take to make it complete? As Noland himself says, “It condenses to these questions: What is better? Who’s it better to? Who are you to decide?” A native Missourian, Noland has always been
preoccupied with the reinvention of form. He is reminded of his grandmothers’ rugs and quilts made from scraps of old cloth. While he feels his ancestors might not call themselves artists, they accomplish precisely what an artist sets out to do, which is to raise new identities by the transformation of materials. Cory Imig In an age of multi-tasking as a necessity, Cory Imig has turned it into a high art that is entirely approachable. She adapts to environments and advances her surroundings. Her current studio work examines bonds between people, places and things as a sinuous relationship between herself and the world in which she is surrounded. Everyday items like a blown-up balloon propped within planks of wood, left to deflate over time, is a striking example of how one can experience a chrysalis within the space-time continuum. A lofty subject made instantly recognizable. When not exploring these relationships, Imig is focused on PLUG Projects, a curatorial collaboration located in Kansas City’s Stockyards District. Since their inaugural exhibition in September 2011, fellow artists Amy Kligman, Misha Kligman, Nicole Mauser, and Caleb Taylor share PLUG’s mission to bring new perspectives on art and conversation
Garry Noland, Kansas City, Ticket, Tape, floor debris on tape, 103” x 98”. Photo by EG Schempf.
p re v i e w
(left) Cory Imig, Kansas City, Squeezing Information for Materials Under Extreme Pressure, 2011, Wood, stain, polyurethane, balloon, 120” x 216” x 24”. (right) Lindsey Griffith & Charlie Mylie, Kansas City, documents from 24 Ours Together, in which the artists spent from sunrise to sunset with two others, chasing their desires on the group-realized to-do list.
to the local arts community. Those acquainted with the arts and a public longing to experience it are brought together by PLUG’s unique programming schedule. Exhibiting challenging new work, advancing critical dialogue between artists and the public with their Critique Night series, PLUG also seeks to expand connections of artists in Kansas City as part of a wider, national network of artists. Prior to this moment, Imig attended Savannah College of Art and Design to study jewelry design. Realizing this was not for her, her interest changed from metals to fibers. The repetitive acts of using fibers created structure, which morphed into work that was performative, sculptural and conceptuallybased, eventually discovering her finished pieces didn’t involve fibrous materials at all. Returning to Kansas City, Imig was a resident of the Charlotte Street Foundation Urban Culture Project Residency Program. She began considering how there exists infinite possibilities of association in the mundane. Categorizing and organizing information, this work becomes a process of intuitive decisions. Everyday situations, interacting among other people, and her own personal relationships were key components to her project Strangers Like Us, where she contacted people with the last name Imig from all around the world. People she never met shared information, and a family of Imigs from Nebraska came to the show opening. This is an excellent investigation of simple communication and how these relationships are placed in the world. Lindsey Griffith & Charlie Mylie Documentation and assorted ephemera takes us
p re v i e w
into the minds of Lindsey Griffith and Charlie Mylie, but to gather a true understanding of what exactly they are trying to do, one must be present as these theories are executed. What these ideas and theories are, exactly, is not clear, and that may be precisely the point. They ask a lot of questions: How can simple joy be framed as a transformative moment? How can a game between strangers be a sustainable technology? They are out in the field, “causing experiments, casting spells, fulfilling wishes, and chasing fantasies with our hands out- for trust, for participation, as an invite to share in the toil and fruits of a life worth living.” It takes a critical eye to discern what it is they’re actually attempting to demonstrate, but the gist appears to be an experiment in documenting hedonism. It is less performance art than actual life as it rolls out before us. They denote an acknowledgement of their culture and themselves. As the hippie culture reverberated throughout the 1960s and caused mass awareness of a burgeoning youth that wanted no part of their parent’s lives, here it seems to be a similar philosophical denouncement of outside forces to focus on the internal influences that stem from spiritual understanding. They are meaning to make a connection to every moment with “truly meaningful bonds...” In their own words, they seek to challenge themselves to fulfill each other’s desires: “toss almonds in each other’s mouths, hold eye contact for way too long, climb something tall together, take unexpected turns in full confidence, kidnap someone to make them happy, play games in front of other adults, spend
24 hours together, interview everyone always, give each other tattoos, talk with conviction about magic, and smile damn it.” The two want to bring everyone about in a beautiful moment of enlightenment and watch it unfold. Concept/OK: Art in Oklahoma will be held December 16, 2012 – February 16, 2013 at the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa’s Hardesty Arts Center, 101 E. Archer St, Tulsa. For more information, including related workshops and public events, visit www.concept-ok.org. Concept/OK: Art in Oklahoma is presented in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa and Charlotte Street Foundation. The exhibition is sponsored in part by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Kirkpatrick Family Fund, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Oklahoma Arts Council, and Allied Arts. n Kirsten Olds is an art historian at the University of Tulsa. You might find her poring over 1970s fanzines for her research on artists’ groups, the networks they created, and the ways in which they explored the performance of identity. Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Blair Schulman is an art writer/critic and Editor of Cupcakes in Regalia (www.cupcakesinregalia.com). He has also published in Art Practical, Ceramics: Art & Perception, Juxtapoz, the Kansas City Star and was a longtime contributor to the now-defunct Review magazine.
HAVE YOU READ
State of Art: The Central Oklahoma Artist Support Study by Erinn Gavaghan
Central Oklahoma artists, educators and arts leaders gathered in June 2012 for the Artist Summit. The information gathered at the Summit was part of the Artist Support Study.
On July 31st, over one hundred artists, arts supporters, arts managers, and even some press gathered at the Lyric Theatre in the Plaza District in Oklahoma City for the release event of the first ever Central Oklahoma Artist Support Study. Not to worry if you missed it. The Cultural Development Corporation of Central Oklahoma (CDCCOK) has the complete study available on its website. The Artist Support Study began in January of this year when the CDCCOK enlisted the help of Minnesota-based Creative Community Builders to examine the opportunities for individual artists of all disciplines living and working in central Oklahoma. Working with a steering committee of arts leaders, Creative Community Builders began the immense task of understanding the arts communities and climate here. The six-month process included interviews with over 120 artists,
f e a t u re
organizations, and educators and culminated with an Artist Summit in June. They soon began to see that we have a large and active population of artists working in diverse disciplines. However, our arts community is “silo-ed,” to use a Creative Community Builders’ term. That means that our dancers are disconnected from our visual artists, our Latino artists are disconnected from our African American artists, and our community programs operate independently of each other. In addition, artists desperately need to build connections to audiences and someone needs to provide artists with the business skills they will need to succeed. “Greater appreciation for the depth and breadth of creativity and cultural practices in the central Oklahoma region must begin with the artists themselves, and then spread to broader community leadership and the wider public,” said the Creative Community Builders team in the Artist
Support Study Report. Fortunately, Creative Community Builders has left us with the recommendations and tools we need to strengthen our arts community, work together, and make sure individual artists are being superbly served. The recommendations are divided into three area of responsibility: those led by artists, those organized by the Oklahoma City Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, and those coordinated by the CDCCOK. These initiatives will begin over the next three years. Led by Artists – As Creative Community Builders stated in the report, “The most important component of a support system for artists is other artists.” An artist leadership team has been formed and will oversee the following recommendations: • Build a multi-disciplinary artist network – Bring those dancers and painters together for business programing and socializing.
• Conduct an annual Artist Summit – Build off the success of the first Artist Summit in June. Think of it as discussing the State of the Union of Artists. • Pilot a Community Supported Art program, modeling off the success of other communities. This sounds big. It is! This is the program that will get your art in the hands of the people who desire to purchase it. • Recognize outstanding contributions of artists in the region – Hey, we all work really hard, we should recognize each other for it. It’s the Oscars of central Oklahoma! Organized by the OKC Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs – This brand new office in the City, led by Robbie Kienzle (see story on page 8), focuses on community initiatives: • Formalize neighborhood-based cultural economic development areas – With City help, grassroots arts districts can become real economic engines. • Plan and institute a pop-up program for artists – This is about connecting with building owners and business people to create temporary exhibits and shops in empty spaces. • Establish a public art program to include local artists – Isn’t public art great? Wouldn’t it be really great if it truly represented the local artists of the area? It can! • Coordinate a master list of artist opportunities for all disciplines– Tired of trying to find the needle in the haystack? Soon, you may be able to find all your opportunities in one place. • Convene organizers of events and festivals to leverage impact – There are so many great festivals in central Oklahoma, this is about sharing successes among them to increase successes. • Make under-utilized properties available as artist spaces – Inexpensive studio space, practice space, and even artist homes. Coordinated by the Cultural Development Corporation of Central Oklahoma:
in central Oklahoma. Who does what? Who supports whom? • Expand business skills training for artists – If you are reading this, then you know OVAC is the leader here! What you may not know is no one is doing the same thing for performing artists. CDCCOK will look for organizations to fill that gap. • Build capacity among nonprofits for fiscal/ partner sponsorship – As an individual artist, you want to access grant funds, but you don’t want to have to form your own nonprofit. This is about creating opportunities to partner with established nonprofits to generate funding. Exciting! • Better engage and partner with higher education resources – Our universities have wonderful arts programs, we need to convince graduating students that this is a great arts community to stay in. • Encourage leading philanthropies to provide merit-based artist fellowships – Wouldn’t it be amazing if someone gave you money just so you could survive as a working artist? CDCCOK will see what they can do about finding those resources for you. Many amazing recommendations were presented at the Support Study release in July. Probably the most amazing thing to come out of this is communication. We are already seeing people talking to each other about artist support that just a few months ago had never had a single conversation…about anything. This is a very exciting time to be in the arts in central Oklahoma. Great things are on the horizon. The Cultural Development Corporation of Central Oklahoma was established in 2000 to develop the arts in Central Oklahoma through leadership, planning and research. www.cdccok.com. n Erinn Gavaghan is the Executive Director of the Norman Arts Council, a 2012 Oklahoma Art Writing and Curatorial Fellow, a board member of the CDCCOK, and was a co-Chair for the steering committee of the Artist Support Study. She received her MA in Art History from Webster University in St. Louis.
• Clarify roles among entities serving artists – We need an organizational chart for arts
f e a t u re
Ask a Creativity Coach:
by Romney Nesbitt
Set the Stage for Success Dear Romney, After years of painting realistically, I’ve started painting abstracts. I’m fine in the beginning steps of my piece, but when it’s time to trust my intuition and paint freely—I can’t. The result is a stack of half-finished pieces. Can you help me break through this block? —Need a Breakthrough Dear Breakthrough, Any new endeavor will have a learning curve. Don’t be impatient; allow yourself a period of time to experiment before knuckling down to a production timeline. As your skills increase, your confidence in being able to paint all the way from start to finish will return--the result will be finished pieces that are marketable. Your block is only temporary and can be addressed. Identify exactly when the block occurs (this will be when you feel self-doubt and want to quit painting). Let’s say you have good creative flow while sketching and during the initial blocking in of color, but when you begin to
apply paint in detailed areas you start to feel anxious. Admit that an unfortunate pattern of despair has taken your muse hostage, and admit that it’s likely to happen again. Don’t cross your fingers and hope the curse will be removed; make a plan to address it. Circumvent the problem by being proactive instead of reactive. You are the only one who can take responsibility for the success of your creative process. Take the emotional power out of the block by nurturing your creative spirit before the snag hits. Set the stage for your success when you’re feeling successful, creative and confident. While you are in the creative flow of your early steps of painting take a moment to light a scented candle, play a favorite CD or call a friend to chat with while you paint. Ease your way through the trouble spot with self-care. Be your own best friend. You can bridge the gap from start to finish with a proactive action plan. The result will be finished paintings and renewed confidence in your ability to manage the predictable ups and downs of the creative process. n Romney Nesbitt is a Creativity Coach and author of Secrets from a Creativity Coach. She welcomes your comments and questions at romneynesbitt@gmail. com. Book her to speak to your group through OVAC’s ARTiculate Speakers Bureau.
Developing creative thinking skills 173,000 kids served An agency of state government • arts.ok.gov
business of art
AT A GLANCE
(Left to Right) Neil David Sr., [U.S., Hopi (Tewa); b. 1944], Cold Hands, n.d. Lithograph on paper, 16” x 13 ¼”. George Morrison [ U.S., Ojibew; 1919-2000], Untitled, ca. 1997, Lithograph on paper, 46 ¾” x 38”. Anton Balcomb [U.S., Winnebago/Cherokee; b. 1941], The Whirling White Sun (Early East Dawn Before Daylight), 1975, Pastel chalk, color pencil on paper, 22” x 20 ¾”.
Opening Party Welcomes New Collection and Returning Students by Cierra Linander On September 18th, the University of Oklahoma (OU) College of Art and Art History ushered in the James T. Bialac Collection: Selected Works at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art (FJJMA) with a grand celebration of the thriving, mystifying Native American culture in Oklahoma and the American Southwest. The gallery hummed with the energy of excited students and faculty, sustained by a soundtrack of Native drum circles and tribal instrumentation. The night was kicked off by interpretive performances by the OU School of Dance and capped with a university-sponsored free concert by The Walkmen. The James T. Bialac Collection includes selections from the thousands of paintings the generous collector donated to the
University of Oklahoma to enhance the education of the community. The collection is so expansive that two separate galleries host these pieces within FJJMA, with more selected works found in the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History as well as the OU Law School. Works from the collection include an untitled lithograph by George Morrison, the prolific Abstract Expressionist, and delicately made turquoise jewelry and woven baskets. Other works utilize traditional Native aesthetic with a modern twist. The Whirling White Sun (Early East Dawn Before Daylight), by Winnebago/Cherokee artist Anton Balcomb, engages the viewers’ sense of balance and rejuvenation like a sandpainting ritual. In the mezzanine, smaller
works such as Cold Hands by Hopi artist Neil David Jr., offer clarifying glimpses into the vibrant and enigmatic traditions of Native American folklore and history with the candid expression of the Koshare. The James T. Bialac Collection: Selected Works will be on display at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman, Oklahoma through December 30, 2012. For more information, visit www.ou.edu/fjjma. n Cierra Linander will graduate in December from the University of Oklahoma, majoring in both Art History and Spanish. She is currently an OVAC intern and plans to return to Spain for graduate studies.
at a glance
NOVember | DECEMber 2012
“What is not being talked about that is limiting artists in our area?” posed Sylvie Fortin, Oklahoma Art Writing & Curatorial Fellowship Mentor. Encouraging questions, professionalism, and engagement with the international art world, OVAC staged three public panels about key topics vital to developing our arts community as part of the program. Preparing promising writers in our region and highlighting exemplary professional practices, the Fellowship wraps up in December. OVAC relished the rigor, discussions and participation of the Fellows and visiting Mentors. See www.write-curate-art.org for more information.
Thanks for another record 12x12 Art Fundraiser! The artists, committee, sponsors and volunteers helped 12x12 support OVAC’s programs even more. Thanks to chairs Gina Ellis and Steve Boyd who spearheaded OVAC’s only annual fundraiser. We also appreciate Headline Sponsor Chesapeake Energy & Premier Sponsors Kirkpatrick Bank and Ackerman McQueen. Recent OVAC artist project grants totaled $4,768 and included the following artists. Creative Projects Grants went to M. J. Alexander, Oklahoma City for IN NO MAN’S LAND: Portraits of the OK Panhandle, a project in Boise City; and Kendall Brown, Norman for Visual Notes from Children of a
War-Torn Country. Professional Basic Grants were awarded to Jeri Redcorn, Norman for upgrading her festival booth pedestals; Kimberly Baker, Meeker, for the Earth Chronicles Project Group Exhibition at MabeeGerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee; Amena Butler, Oklahoma City, for Spring Elements at Langston University in Oklahoma City; Romy Owens, Oklahoma City, for the keanues presented at JRB Art at the Elms in Oklahoma City, and Aaron Hauck, Afton, for sending work for an Art Prize exhibition in Grand Rapids, MI. The next OVAC artist grant deadline is January 15.
Watch for calls for artists for all of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s programs at http://tinyurl.com/OVACcalls. Art People Clint Stone was appointed Visual Arts Director at the Oklahoma Arts Council. There he will oversee the State Art Collection. Previously he served as the executive director of Individual Artists of Oklahoma and the artistic director at City Arts Center of Oklahoma City. Best wishes on this new endeavor, Clint.
OVAC Executive Director Julia Kirt and Concept/OK: Art in Oklahoma curator Liza Statton sit for Romy Owens’ Look at me. Don’t look at me. photobooth project in her Skirvin Hilton Hotel studio.
Scroll by Jeri Redcorn, who received an OVAC Professional Basics Grant to upgrade her festival booth pedestals. The next OVAC Grants for Artists deadline is January 15.
Kendall Brown has been named Executive Director for Individual Artists of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. Brown is an active photographer and writer who served as arts editor for the Norman Transcript. Welcome, Kendall. We look forward to working with you. Krystle Brewer and Mary Kathryn Moeller were offered the first Graduate Research Assistant positions at the Oklahoma State University Art Museum. Brewer is a past OVAC intern and Moeller was one of OVAC’s 2010 Oklahoma Art Writing and Curatorial Fellows. A part of the new Master’s program in art history at OSU, the Graduate Research Assistantships work closely with museum staff as the building is renovated and collections prepared for the 2013 opening. Watch osuma. wordpress.com for information about the new museum project and collection. Romy Owens has received the first SPACE Residency (Skirvin Paseo Artist Creativity Exposition). Through SPACE, a year-long residency in the downtown Oklahoma City Skirvin Hotel, Owens receives a highly-visible studio, stipend, and complimentary meals in the hotel’s cafeteria. Owens moved in September 1 and welcomes visitors throughout the year. Congratulations Romy, Paseo Arts Association and Skirvin Hotel on this admirable program! n
Romy Owens was selected as the first artist-in-residence at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. The residency program is a partnership with the Paseo Arts Association.
Oklahoma Art Writing & Curatorial Fellowship Mentor Gregory Volk shares his experience with Fellows Erinn Gavaghan and Emily Newman during the September 15 program.
Thank you to our new and renewing members from July and August 2012! Jo Ann Adams M.J. Alexander and Alexander Knight Lindsey Allgood Sharon and Jeff Allred Matt Atkinson Valerie Aubert Henri Badiane Paul Bagley Kelly Barber Rogers Bjorn Bauer Diann Berry Malinda Blank Viacheslav Bobarikin Kendall Brown Ellen Bussard Kim Camp Gayle Canada Damon and Marla Cook
Mikey Coy Glenn Herbert Davis and Linda Clark Hillary and Peter Farrell Leslie Fast Martha Green Susan Green Britt Greenwood Christie and Jim Hackler Laynie Hankins Virginia Harrison Tiffany Henley Suzanne Henthorn Charlotte Hickman Terri Higgs Jonathan Hils Robert Hoggard Jan Holzbauer Helen F. Howerton
E Scott Hurst, Jr. Frances Hymes Sandy Ingram Robert James Patricia Jellerson Curtis Jones Dan and Renee Jones JUURI Jim and Laurie Keffer Mary and David Ketch Priscilla Kinnick Richard Kleffman Howard C. Koerth Traci Layton Marvin Lee and DaOnne Olson Harolyn Long Jarrett Maxwell Jim McCue James McDaniel
John Mesa Ashlyn Metcalf Sylvia Miller Ella Moore Vicki, R.C., and JP Morrison Regina Murphy Mary Nickell Molly O’Connor Erin Owen Suzanne Peck Christina Pickard June Pierce Harold Porterfield Aaron Rayner Anne Richardson David M. Roberts Abe Rucker Barbara Ryan L.A. Scott
Bert D. Seabourn Glenda Skinner-Noble Sky Horse Fine Art Alicia Smith Diana J. Smith Irene Sowell Laurie Spencer Jessica Tankersley Steve Tomlin Thomas Tucker Xiaomiao Wang Todd Ward Becki Warner Becky Way Kay West B. J. White George Wilson John David Wolf, Wolf Production
Gallery Listings & Exhibition Schedule
Tammy Brummel Through November 9 Revived: The Linsheid Museum Collection November 12-30 Senior Exhibit December 3-14 The Pogue Gallery Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center 900 Centennial Plaza (580) 559-5353 ecok.edu
Nancy Junkin November FAI Faculty Show December Kirkpatrick Family Fund Gallery Fine Arts Institute of Edmond 27 E Edwards St (405) 340-4481 edmondfinearts.com
Kristy Patterson: Original drawings on distressed Dictionary Pages Through November 10 Miniature Show November 17 - December 15 Wild Horse Gallery 421 N Academy (580) 338-4278 artistincubation.com
Paul Bevilacqua: Blown Glass NWOSU Art Show November Graceful Arts Gallery and Studios 523 Barnes St. (580) 327-ARTS gracefulartscenter.org
Henk Pander Through November 10 Christen Humphries November 15-January 12 The Goddard Center 401 First Avenue SW (580) 226-0909 goddardcenter.org
Dreamer 45: Frame of Reference Through November 23 Dreamer Concepts Studio & Foundation 324 East Main (405) 701-0048 dreamerconcepts.org
Marco Sassone: Architecture and Nature Through December 2 Price Tower Arts Center 510 Dewey Ave. (918) 336-4949 pricetower.org
Featured Cheyenne Artists November - December Jacobson House 609 Chautauqua (405) 366-1667 jacobsonhouse.com
Chickasha Paintings by Paul Walsh Through November 9 Faces from the Goddard Center November 17 - December 7 University of Sciences and Arts of Oklahoma Gallery-Davis Hall 1806 17th Street (405) 574-1344 usao.edu/gallery/
The James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection: Selected Works Indigenous Aesthetics: Selections from the James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection Through December 30 Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art 555 Elm Ave. (405) 325-4938 ou.edu/fjjma
Red Clay Faction Exhibition November 16-27 Reception November 16, 5 pm Intersession Printmaking Exhibition December 14 - January 8 Reception December 14, 6 pm Lightwell Gallery, University of Oklahoma 520 Parrington Oval (405) 325-2691 art.ou.edu The Unexplored: Emerging Artists Show December 14 – January 19 Reception December 14, 6-9 pm Mainsite Contemporary Art Gallery 122 East Main (405) 360-1162 normanarts.org
Oklahoma City E.CO Peru Through January 5 [ArtSpace] at Untitled 1 NE 3rd St. (405) 815-9995 artspaceatuntitled.org Boo Ritson: Homecoming Through December City Arts Center 3000 General Pershing Blvd. (405) 951-0000 cityartscenter.org Denise Duong November 2 – 30 Reception November 2, 6-10 pm Regina Murphy December 7-29 Reception December 7, 6-10 pm JRB Art at the Elms 2810 North Walker (405) 528-6336 jrbartgallery.com
6th Anniversary Group Show: Rick and Tracey Bewley, Nathan Lee, Angela Westerman and Dusty Gilpin November 9 - January 13 Istvan Gallery at Urban Art 1218 N. Western Ave. (405) 831-2874 istvangallery.com National Geographic: Greatest Photographs of the American West Through January 6 National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum 1700 NE 63rd (405) 478-2250 nationalcowboymuseum.org North Gallery: Sarah Harless December 3 – February 3 Oklahoma State Capitol Galleries 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd (405) 521-2931 arts.ok.gov Oklahoma Moderns 19101960: From O’Keefe to Rockwell Through January 6 Oklahoma City Museum of Art 415 Couch Drive (405) 236-3100 okcmoa.com The Container Show November The smART Show December Paseo Art Space 3022 Paseo (405) 525-2688 thepaseo.com Color and Shape: Michael Wyman November Flowers: David Gill December Visions in the Paseo Art Gallery 2924 Paseo (405)557-1229 visionsokc.com
Ponca City Nathan Opp Paintings November 16 - December 23 Ponca City Art Center 819 East Central (580) 765-9746 poncacityartcenter.com
Shawnee Tails of Cats & Dogs November 10-25 Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art 1900 West Macarthur (405) 878-5300 mgmoa.org
Stillwater Graphic Design Studio: Studio Portfolio Exhibition November 7 - 21 Senior Studio Capstone Exhibition November 28 - December 7 Gardiner Gallery Oklahoma State University 108 Bartlett Center for the Visual Arts (405) 744-4143 museum.okstate.edu
Tulsa Edgar Payne: The Scenic Journey December 2 - March 24 Gilcrease Museum 1400 Gilcrease Road (918) 596-2700 gilcrease.org Caution: Wet Paint! December 8 - 31 Lovetts Gallery 6528 E 51st St (918) 664-4732 lovettsgallery.com Models and Muses November 4 - February 3 The Philbrook Museum of Art 2727 South Rockford Road (918) 749-7941 Philbrook.org
Splitting Time: A Digital Media Exhibit November Children’s Show December Tulsa Artists Coalition Gallery 9 East Brady (918) 592-0041 tacgallery.org
Mayo Distinguished Artists Jake Berthot November 1 - December 13 Reception November 1, 5-7 pm Alexandre Hogue Gallery Phillips Hall, The University of Tulsa 2930 E. 5th St. (918) 631-2739 cas.utulsa.edu/art
Tony Da (U.S., San Ildefonso-Pueblo, 1921-1971), Many Faces of the Moon, 1964, Watercolor, 20” x 14”, at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, the University of Oklahoma, in Norman through December 30.
C.S. Tomlin November Phil Cooper December Tulsa Performing Arts Center Gallery Third and Cincinnati (918) 596-2368 tulsapac.com
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. PATRON - $250
-Listing of self or business on signage at events -Invitation for two people to private reception with visiting curators -$210 of this membership is tax deductible. -All of below
FELLOW - $125
-Acknowledgement in the Resource Guide and Art Focus Oklahoma -Copy of each OVAC exhibition catalog -$85 of this membership is tax deductible. -All of below
FAMILY - $60
-Same benefits as Individual level for two people in household
INDIVIDUAL - $40
-Subscription to Art Focus Oklahoma -Monthly e-newsletter of visual art events statewide (sample) -Receive all OVAC mailings -Listing in Annual Resource Guide and Member Directory -Copy of Annual Resource Guide and Member Directory -Access to “Members Only” area on OVAC website -Invitation to Annual Meeting Plus, artists receive: -Inclusion in online Virtual Gallery -Monthly e-newsletter of opportunities for artists (sample) -Artist entry fees waived for OVAC sponsored exhibitions -Up to 50% discount on Artist Survival Kit workshops -Associate Membership in Fractured Atlas, with access to services such as insurance, online courses and other special offers.
STUDENT - $20
-Valid student ID required. Same benefits as Individual level.
MEMBER FORM ¨ Patron
Name Street Address City, State, Zip Email Website
Credit card #
Are you an artist? Y N Medium?_____________________________________ Would you like to be included in the Membership Directory? Y N Would you like us to share your information for other arts-related events?
Detach and mail form along with payment to: OVAC, 730 W. Wilshire Blvd, Suite 104, Oklahoma City, OK 73116 Or join online at www.ovac-ok.org
ArtOFocus k l a h o m a Annual Subscriptions to Art Focus Oklahoma are free with OVAC membership.
U pcoming Events Nov 1:
Art 365 Exhibition Entry Deadline
Concept/OK: Art in Oklahoma Opening Reception
OVAC Grants for Artists Deadline
Momentum OKC Artist Entry Deadline
730 W. Wilshire Blvd, Suite 104 Oklahoma City, OK 73116 The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition supports Oklahomaâ€™s visual arts and artists and their power to enrich communities.
Non Profit Org. US POSTAGE PAID Oklahoma City, OK Permit No. 113
Visit www.ovac-ok.org to learn more.
November Denise Duong Opening Reception: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2 6 - 10 P.M.
December Regina Murphy Opening Reception: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7 6 - 10 P.M.
Gallery Hours: Mon - Sat 10 am - 6 pm Sun 1 pm - 5 pm
2810 North Walker Phone: 405.528.6336 www.jrbartgallery.com
AT THE ELMS
Published on Nov 1, 2012
2012 November/December Art Focus Oklahoma is a bimonthly publication of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition dedicated to stimulating insight...