The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition's Momentum Tulsa: Art Doesn't Stand Still is a unique art event that takes place in Oklahoma City and Tulsa each year. Momentum serves as a pivotal opportunity for young artists -- ages 30 and under -- to show their work and gain exposure in Oklahoma's art scene. Momentum Tulsa kicks off Saturday, Oct. 9 at Living Arts from 8pm-Midnight and will run through Oct. 23. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door. Local bands Triangle and Guardant will play throughout the evening.
Momentum will feature an exhibition of 70 works of art by 50 artists comprised of all artistic mediums, ranging from painting and ceramics to performance and video art. The exhibition was juried by lead curator Shannon Fitzgerald and Momentum's Emerging Curator Sarah Jesse. The event will also feature the work of Momentum's chosen Spotlight Artists: Tara Najd Ahmadi, Sherwin R. Tibayan and May Yang.
Momentum began in Oklahoma City in 2002 before expanding to a second exhibition in Tulsa in 2004. The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, or OVAC, saw that there were not many venues in Oklahoma open to exhibiting the work of young artists. Consequently, many young artists were moving away after school or giving up art to do other things. OVAC created Momentum as a service to young artists in need of an outlet to show their work and gain professional experience as working artists. Since it began, Momentum has become hugely popular in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa, making it a highly energetic, much-anticipated event that caters to the interests, emotions and energies of young adults.
The Spotlight Artist program was added to Momentum in 2008 as a way of encouraging young artists to think bigger and push their ideas to the limit by providing them with an honorarium of $1,500 as well as a $250 material stipend and one on one time to discuss their work with the lead and emerging curators. Directly inspired by OVAC's Art 365 exhibition, the Spotlight Artist applicants submitted a proposal for a body of work they hoped to create with the support of OVAC. Fitzgerald and Jesse reviewed this year's thirteen applicants and chose the three they felt had the most depth and the most potential to be visually and conceptually rich
"I am very impressed with their work ethic over the year," Jesse said of the three Spotlight artists. "The ambition of their projects far outweighs their age." The Emerging Curator program of which Jesse participated began alongside the Spotlight Artist program in 2008.
"Not a lot of people were actively curating exhibitions in Oklahoma," said OVAC Associate Director Kelsey Karper. "The emerging artists opportunity is perfect for someone with interest in curating who has little experience."
Essentially this program is a mentorship in which the emerging curator works alongside the lead curator throughout the entire process from choosing the strongest works of art for the exhibition, selecting the Spotlight Artists and helping them through the process of creating a significant body of work.
The work of Tara Najd Ahmadi is an ambitious stop-motion film addressing the issue of cultural consumption and losing relationships with objects. Ahmadi moved from Tehran, Iran to Norman, OK in the fall of 2009 to begin the Masters of Film and Video program at the University of Oklahoma.
"These days," Ahmadi said, "our freedom is limited only to the freedom of choosing things and consumerism." Her work addresses her belief that people do not make a connection with the music they listen to or the books they read, they merely consume them to be a part of the group of people who also consume those things.
Ahamadi's stop-motion film is less than five minutes long and is broken down into three episodes exemplifying the grotesque way in which people consume without developing any sort of connection to what they take in. The characters in her film are two-dimensional puppets whose faces have been replaced with photographs of real people. The backgrounds were hand painted to provide the film with a theatrical atmosphere. While brief, her film is rich in symbolism as she evaluates the unfortunate effects consumerism has taken on today's population.
Sherwin R. Tibayan's body of work entitled Best General View invites the viewer to question how they take their own photographs. Tibayan is in his second year of the Master's of Fine Art program at the University of Oklahoma studying photography. The work's title, Best General View, is a classic, self-explanatory phrase among landscape photographers like Ansel Adams and functions as an ironic theme for his project. For this work Tibayan obtained a number of slide images documenting the travels of a given individual during the 1970s or '80s. He selected images that had already been taken before. In other words, the same sort of photographs that everyone takes when confronted with beautiful scenery. Tibyan's body of work is not a criticism of this predetermined way of taking pictures, more of a wondering how and why it came to exist.
The end result of this question is a series of five enlarged photographs measuring 40x50in mounted on plastic. Tibayan incorporated his own artistic hand into the photographs by enlarging the slides on a projector in order to reframe and alter the found images. "I am offering this project up as a work in progress," Tibayan said.
On working with both curators throughout this process he said, "Its ludicrous to think I can make work in isolation. Through this experience I've discovered the importance of community with people also interested in making work."
Printmaker, May Yang of Tulsa gives the viewer a glimpse into her life growing up as a first generation American with traditional Chinese parents. Yang graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2008 and after attended a collaborative printmaking program at the Tamarid Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her body of work for Momentum is a series of six prints ranging in size from 40x60 to 30x40inches. Her work addresses conflicts that arose growing up such as language barriers between herself and her parents as well the role pop culture played on the way in which she viewed their relationship.
The prints are richly layered as Yang screen-printed imagery on multiple layers of mylar to make one composite image. In one piece, for instance, Yang layered an image of herself standing in front of her parents layered in front of a sitcom family.
"All three of the Spotlight Artists have created work that is both visually striking and conceptually loaded," said Jesse. The juxtaposition of their work with the juried exhibition provides Tulsans with a cohesive look at what the next generation of Oklahoma artists are thinking and creating.
More information is available online at MomentumOklahoma.org.
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