As a young urbanite, I keep a close eye on the calendar when it comes to arts events. I like to have options when it comes to nighttime play, and I like to have free time available for spontaneity. I have noticed that many openings, concerts, etc. seem to occur on the same weekends and/or nights in this city. Frustrating? Maybe a little bit, but it's not like we live in a huge city like New York where a multitude of events happen every night of the week. There, you have ample opportunities to see or hear as much art as possible. Here in Tulsa, one could spend the entire month of February viewing the various shows that open next weekend. But what about the experience of opening night?
I love art openings. As an undergrad at the University of Oklahoma, I attended many openings in Norman and Oklahoma City. I learned that opening night is the magical moment where art and creator are brought together and revealed to the public. It can be nerve-wracking for the artist. In a sense, it can be somewhat masochistic. The artist is vulnerable, made readily available to receive praise/criticism from the crowd. For the attendees however, a gallery opening can appear glitzy and glamorous. Well-dressed, artsy types mingle over wine and hors-d'oeuvres, and there is always the opportunity to converse with the artist. This is the element of opening night that is priceless.
In past experiences, I have gone to openings and experienced the esoteric exclusivity of the art world. Sometimes, you honestly just don't get what is being said through one's art--that is, if anything is even being said at all. When you go to an opening, there is that opportunity to meet the artist and to get inside the mind behind the work. Because of the sheer volume of openings this weekend, I recommend grabbing a group of friends, or that special someone, and try to get out to some galleries. You can meet the artist, and if not, at least have a drink, see some work, get inspired, and maybe go back at a later date in order to spend more quality time interacting with the pieces. The most important lesson I've learned about opening night is that you will hardly get to see the art because there are usually so many people around.
Reinventing the Classics
First up is "Personality of Cult," presented by the Circle Cinema.
This is an exhibition of work by 23 Tulsa area artists inspired by their favorite cult classic films. Dan Fritschie, organizer of the show, said that it was tricky at first to define what makes a film a cult classic.
"We had to define it for ourselves, so we decided to work with films that have a specific type of cult following," he said.
Some films, like Gattaca, made the cut because of the romance sparked between lead actors Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman. However, this film also presents a somewhat "dystopian future" like other films that were inspirations behind the show, like Bladerunner and Proof of Life. Fritschie, himself a graphic artist, chose Bladerunner as his muse. He said that this is the first art show at the Circle Cinema that is film related.
"The goal of Circle Cinema is to expand cultural awareness through film," Fritschie said.
He said that Circle Cinema wants to function as more than just a movie theatre. He hopes that this is the first of many art shows to come that are inspired by actual film.
"Personality of Cult" is a show of diverse styles and media, including paint, pen and ink, photography and ceramics. The show opens Thursday, February 7 in the lobby of Circle 2, 12 South Lewis. It will be on display from through March 30.
Gain a Little Perspective
Next is Living Arts, which also opens a show on February 7 from 5-8pm. "Current Realities: Native American Perspectives" is an exhibit by OklaDADA, a networking organization that provides opportunities for American Indian artists to be able to show their work and make a living without having to leave the state.
The DADA in OklaDADA looks familiar... According to a statement on the exhibit, the OklaDADA artists are inspired by the original DADA artists because "they were the first comprehensive group in Western Art History to fully explore the 'gesamtkunstwerk,' the 'whole work of art.'"
This means that all the senses were meant to be stimulated, and the spiritual nature of the creative work was of utmost importance. The belief in more than one valid perspective is yet another reference to DADA that OklaDADA promotes.
"Current Realities" will feature members of OklaDADA, all contemporary artists who have a personal relationship with Oklahoma. The work will explore the "dichotomous relationship between tribal communities and the state." The show opens at Living ArtSpace, and will include a screening of several videos by Native Americans. This will be followed by a dialogue/reading by Native Voices, and a second screening of the videos will be at 10pm. More info can be found at www.livingarts.org.
The Dennis R. Neill Equality Center presents new work by Jessica Newman, also opening, you guessed it, on Thursday from 6-9pm. Luckily, the Equality Center is right down the street from Living Arts on Kenosha, so if you attend "Current Realities," you can walk on down and look at Newman's work. Newman is a figurative artist, and her oil paintings and drawings of the female form will be on display throughout February. The Dennis R. Neill Equality Center is located at 621 E. 4th St., and her exhibit can be viewed Monday through Saturday from 3-9pm.
Yes, a Thousand Time Yes
"And My Spirit Said Yes: The Photographic Art of Don Thompson," opens Thursday from 6-9pm, at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Gallery, 110 E. Second Street. Thompson, a local Tulsa photographer, has captured the inner souls of people, places and objects in this show. He has capture new images and gives the community and opportunity to see past works of black and white expressions. The TPAC gallery is open from 10am to 5:30pm every day. More of Thompson's work can be found on his website, www.donthompsonimages.com.
Alright, one more opening on the Feb. 7, folks! The "Valentine's Group Show" at the MA Doran Gallery is sure to get you in the mood for love and romance. This show features new work by local and nationally known artists. Diverse painting styles, as well as sculpture and American craft will be offered. Participating artists include Otto Duecker, Wendy Matson, Steve Tomlin and Byron Shen. The opening reception is February 5-8pm, and many of the artists will be in attendance. The MA Doran Gallery is located at 3509 South Peoria. More information can be found at www.madorangallery.com.
In Case You Missed It
Now, this show opened last weekend, but it will be display through February 29. "Uncharted Domain: An Exploration of Our Uncharted Landscape" by Sarah Grace Grothaus, showcases her recent work in which she utilizes recycled computer and electronic parts to create miniature landscapes. A recent Kansas City Art Institute graduate, Grothaus now lives in Tulsa and this is her first solo show. "Uncharted Domain" is on display at the Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery at 9 E. Brady. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 11am-2pm and Thursday through Saturday from 6-9pm.
Wow, that's a lot of art. But your local artists need support, so be sure and make it out to see some of their work. Until next time, happy viewing!
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