During the past few years, Tulsan Judy Burnham has begun using her vacation snapshots to break into Tulsa's art scene.
Her show at Circle Cinema Gallery, entitled Everyday Things opens on Thursday, May 27 and will mark her first solo exhibition in Tulsa.
Burnham has participated in Mayfest for the past two years but is excited to have an opportunity to show her work in a gallery setting. While she has always seen the world through her camera, she has not always pursued the path of an artist.
She retired in 2000 after working for 30 years teaching English as one of Tulsa Community College's founding faculty members, and since then, she has been taking her natural instinct of taking photographs more seriously.
"I take pictures of anything that will hold still," Burnham said. The result is a mixture of photos that all fall into the category of, people, places or things. All of her photos in the show are the result of numerous vacations taken with her husband during the past 10 years.
The couple has traveled around the world to places such as France, England, Ireland, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, and her photos reflect the recognizable imagery of these locations through Burnham's own eye.
Most interesting are her photos of "things." These images focus on either a single subject such as a window frame or repeated and colorful objects such as rows of penny loafers or a wall of hanging hats. The isolation of these objects takes the scene out of context and causes the viewer to question where the photo was taken and wonder what is taking place beyond the edge of the frame.
Burnham and her husband remain enthusiastic travelers and have several future plans of travel this year. They plan on traveling domestically throughout the summer to New York City and Charleston, S.C. In the fall, the couple also plans to visit New Mexico, a favorite location of Burnham and one she tries to visit once each year.
"My husband has learned to slow down to accommodate my whims," said Burnham, who plans to continue taking photos and developing her craft as a photographer.
All of the prints in her show at Circle Cinema were taken with a Canon Rebel XT SLR digital camera range in size from 16x20 inches to 24x36 inches. Everyday Things will be on display until July 18.
The Circle Cinema Gallery has always made an effort to support the work of local artists since it began operation a year after the theater opened. The gallery is open to exhibiting the work depicting any family friendly imagery, but most often selects artists whose work depicts scenes of Tulsa and Route 66 as well as those with film themes or reference human rights.
In the past, the work shown in the gallery is largely two-dimensional and ranges from paintings and drawings to photographs and dimensional wall hangings.
A gallery space was not part of the original plan when Circle Cinema opened "but when we saw that marvelous wall, we thought it would be a fabulous place to show art," said gallery coordinator, Michelle Wiens.
The Circle Cinema Gallery is unique not only because of its location inside a movie theater but because it provides an opportunity for people who would not usually visit an art gallery to view the work of local artists.
The gallery rotates shows every two months and in turn is selective with the work it exhibits as there are only six shows a year.
After Judy Burnham's exhibit ends in July, the work of young artists at the Tulsa Girls Art School will return for a third year in a row to exhibit in the gallery. More information about Judy Burnham's work can be found at judy-fineartpix.com and further information about Circle Cinema is available at circlecinema.com.
Layered Above the City
Not to be overlooked after the busyness of Mayfest, ArtCar and Art and Soul of Tulsa is an intriguing exhibit of paintings by artist Andrew Polk. Polk's body of work entitled, The Oklahoma Series is currently on display at Living Arts until the end of June.
The exhibit features a number of large paintings created through a synthesis of acrylic paint and photography on vinyl. In this body of work, Polk sought inspiration from aerial photographs of Oklahoma City and infused them with his own abstract sensibilities by hurling buckets of paint on top of these photographic images to create controlled yet spontaneous effects.
Polk is intrigued by the way in which views of a city from extreme distances can take on abstract qualities themselves through the juxtaposition of geometric and organic forms. He imagines looking at aerial views of cities to be like looking down from the heavens where things that are "big" become small and the perspective of life changes. Polk said of his own work, "I am looking at the city from a distance, and I am doing so through a lens filled with mystery sentiment, curiosity, and discovery."
Polk's paintings are refreshingly original and the bold layering of colorful paint against the familiarity of Oklahoma City easily captures the attention of anyone who enters the gallery.
The large scale and large quantity of paintings truly takes advantage of Living Arts' beautiful new gallery space and should not be missed. More information about Polk's exhibition can be found online at livingarts.org.
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