The inspiration for Pearl Gallery's summer show entitled, Long, Hot Summer, was born four years ago when the gallery's owners, Janet and Douglas Edwards listened to artists' complaints that it was difficult to find a space in Tulsa to show paintings of nudes.
The human figure has long been regarded as the most challenging of all subject matter for an artist to capture, and art students are frequently asked to practice depicting the curves and dimensions of the figure. (Check out more information on Life Drawing courses in "Undressing the Arts" at urbantulsa.com.)
However, given its taboo content, it does not make for highly sellable subject matter in the eyes of gallery owners and commercial buyers. Understanding this makes it easier to understand these artists' complaints. Why did they spend so much time learning to paint the elusive human figure only for it to be rejected from art galleries around the city?
The Edwards' sympathized with their complaints and jokingly said, "We aren't making any money, we will show nudes."
Thus, the Long, Hot Summer show began at Pearl Gallery. The show's title was borrowed from the 1958 film starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. The group all saw it as a sexy film whose title was humorously compatible with the theme of the show.
The show's first year in 2006 produced a diverse array of paintings all with a nude somewhere on the canvas making it a unique show in Tulsa. The gallery's ambition was not to present an erotic or controversial exhibition, but merely pay homage to a long respected and challenging subject matter. Since then, Long, Hot Summer has evolved away from an exclusively nude theme to include a broader range of imagery such as summery landscapes and whimsical narrations.
This year's show is comprised of 130 pieces of art by 30 different artists. The medium used ranges from fibers and clay to oil and acrylic painting. The event's cover image is a giclee print by artist Bryan Cooper.
Cooper is a Tulsa illustrator who brings a nod at the whimsical to his work. He will be exhibiting a series of his unique giclee prints for the show entitled, Leaving Home. This piece, like many of Cooper's prints depicts an invented character in the foreground with many details scattered around the surface that provide the viewer hints as to what is going on in the scene and what sort of world this character lives in.
Cooper's prints are a combination of old and new as he mixes the modern process of giclee printing, or an ink jet print on canvas, by printing them on old-fashioned cabinet cards.
Another artist featured in the show is Tulsa artist, Allie Jensen. Jensen's watercolor and acrylic paintings also fall into the whimsical category of this year's show. Her work embraces the relationship between the beauty of the female figure and the organically lovely qualities of nature. Jensen said her work is also inspired by "the changing of seasons and joy of relationships."
She was among the original group of artists desiring a chance to exhibit their paintings of nudes and has participated in the show since it began.
For more information on the exhibit or the gallery, visit pearlgallerytulsa.com.
The Beauty of Life
Born in the outskirts of Brooklyn, painter Burtron Silverman brings to his work a passion for the human condition through portraiture of individuals who are unique in their own right, yet anonymous and universal.
"Very early on in my life, I fell in love with the landscape of the human face, where it seemed all the emotional states of life could be found," Silverman said.
Since then, Silverman has catered his impressive artistic talents to understanding how to capture the emotions he sees bound inside people and exposes them on his canvas.
The people chosen as his subject matter are as diverse as the city of New York. His interest lies in individuals that are left outside of accepted society or in an environment often considered controversial or undesirable. His models are rendered with a great deal of respect and appreciation for they are his most sincere inspiration.
Silverman's paintings are an effort to bring our attention back to the beauty of life and what is before us without the over-stimulated effects of media and celebrity. A contemporary realist, his paintings simultaneously exude the movement of life and the stillness of a moment through his beautiful brushwork.
For Silverman, painting is his opportunity to remember time as it was while he was a part of it. Silverman was nine-years-old at the 1939 New York World's Fair, where he saw a real painting the first time.
"There were three huge pavilions filled with the great art of Western European culture, and I was overcome with the sense of what art could be like," he said. "It's an extraordinary legacy and it has probably lasted all my life."
Throughout his career, Silverman has had numerous solo exhibitions across the United States and Europe. His work is represented in museums, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum and the National Museum of American Art.
His current exhibition of work entitled, Realism Recovered, opens July 8 at Sherwin-Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa and will be on display until September 1. The show features 31 oil paintings made throughout the past decade of his impressive career.
More information about Burtron Silverman is available at burtonsilverman.com or at jewishmuseum.net.
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