Art Focus Oklahoma, September/October 2014

Page 10

fettered – unfettered: Heather Clark Hilliard at Oklahoma City University by Louise Siddons

Stacked ceramic roof tiles (left) and an installation mock-up detail of spun yarn (right) for Hilliard’s planned site-specific installation Feet on the Ground Mouth in the Air.

“I’ve been moving these tiles around for twenty years,” says Heather Clark Hilliard as we look out her studio window at stacks of roofing tiles. At first glance, it is evident that Hilliard’s work is about place: the sense of home evoked by the roof tiles, for example. More subtly, it is also about how time can be described on several scales: the geological time of rocks and clay, the repetitive time of spinning and dyeing, the length of a work of projected video, and the years she has waited for these roof tiles to find their place.

“Heather’s painstaking attention to traditional processes voiced in contemporary language makes her a perfect fit for the gallery,” says Donald Longcrier, director of the newly renovated Nona Jean Hulsey Gallery at Oklahoma City University’s School of Visual Arts. “We are very excited to open the 2014-15 season with her work. Exhibitions like fettered – unfettered provide our students, the university community, and visitors to the Oklahoma City University campus the chance to experience, and be challenged by, some of the best contemporary

art from Oklahoma and around the country.” In fettered – unfettered, the dialogue between tradition and innovation in Hilliard’s processes materially foregrounds larger questions that visitors are invited to answer for themselves through their interactions with each work of art. Somewhat unexpectedly, fettered – unfettered introduces the global time of revolutionary and post-colonial Africa. Hilliard’s show title is inspired by Alexandra Fuller’s memoir of Zimbabwe.1 After decades of slaughter, leader Robert Mugabe declared the country would

1. Alexandra Fuller, Scribbling the Cat: Travels With An African Soldier. Penguin, 2005.


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