POSTED ON APRIL 1, 2009:
Baring Their Souls
See the environments local artists have created for themselves during OVAC's Art Studio Tour
Come On In. The studio gives you insight into the artist, which in turn gives you insight into the work. I have never walked away uninspired after seeing the creative space in which an artist works. Pictured: Peggy Upham in her studio.
There is something enticingly voyeuristic about observing a creative in his or her home or studio. And I mean that in the least creepy way possible.
There's a really lovely coffee table book called To Each His Home, written and photographed by Bilyana Dimitrova, that catalogues truly unique spaces in which various creatives--artists, musicians, inventors, etc.--live. The photographs are stunning, mostly because the spaces in which these people live and work are stunning. Alongside these, though, Dimitrova provides interviews with each inhabitant, and these help to explain their creative processes and how their homes are inspired by and connected to these processes.
Likewise, visiting an artist in his studio gives his work that much more context. The studio gives you insight into the artist, which in turn gives you insight into the work. I have never walked away uninspired after seeing the creative space in which an artist works.
And for an artist to let a stranger into his studio has got to be something like baring his soul. I imagine it'd be something like letting your boss (or worse, your mother-in-law) crawl through your bedroom window on a Saturday afternoon, with an unmade bed dressed in dirty sheets, underwear strewn across the floor and a tube of toothpaste squeezed from the center. How embarrassing.
Or maybe I'm just reading too much into it.
Whether they find it intrusive or not, artists who swing wide the doors to their studios are allowing themselves, and their work, to be made that much more personally available to those who would view it. And for those of us who would, it's so exciting to see what kinds of environments these artists have created for themselves.
That's why I appreciate the 11 artists who are participating in this year's Art Studio Tour, sponsored by the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. On April 4 and 5, from 12-5pm, guests are invited on a self-guided tour of these local artists' creative spaces. There, you can see an artist in action; talk to him about his work, inspiration, favorite color, etc.; and, of course, buy artwork.
The artists participating are ceramicist Kevin Byrne, painter Lynn Clark, photographer and installation artist Glenn Herbert Davis, painter and mixed media artist Chris Owens, painter Mary Russell, mosaic artist Cindy Swanson, painter and mixed media artist Kristal Tomshany, painters and metalsmiths Peggy and Steadman Upham, photographer David Varmecky and ceramicist Craig Wood.
Tickets to the Tulsa Art Studio Tour are $5 in advance or $10 the day of the event, and include a map. They are available at www.tulsaartstudiotour.org or at any of the studios on the day of the tour.
Work by the artists participating in the tour is on display at the Frame Maker Art Gallery, 6201 E. 61st St., and will hang through April 11.
Somethin' Outta Nothin'
For its April exhibit, Living ArtSpace, 308 S. Kenosha, challenged local artists to create an exemplary piece of work on a budget of $20, using nothing more than materials found at your everyday dollar store.
The fruits of these artists' labors have resulted in a show and silent auction benefitting the gallery called "From Dollars to Diamonds." The exhibit opens Thursday, April 2 with a reception from 7-10pm. The work will hang through April 23, and gallery hours are Thursday from 5-8pm and Saturday from 1-4pm or by appointment.
Next door at Liggett Studio, 314 S. Kenosha, video artist J.D. McPherson (who also happens to be one of 15 featured on this week's cover; check out page 16) opens "Mealer/Cleaver" same day, same time with a reception and artist's talk from McPherson.
The work is a multi-sensory video installation investigating spiritual development through farm tools and physical labor. McPherson says he was inspired by Coptic texts and Zen practices. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are same as above. For more on both exhibits, visit www.livingarts.org.
The Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery, 19 E. Brady, opens "Broken Open: Exposing the Visible Edge," featuring the art of Debbie Wagner, Becky Hyberger and Mira Mickler Moss on Friday, April 3, with a reception from 6-8pm.
The exhibit is a collaboration by the three Kansas-based artists who have forged a friendship with one another, though their styles and subject matter are vastly different.
According to releases from TAC, Wagner, a pastel artist, paints her rural surroundings, offering many of her viewers a glimpse into a life they'll never have the opportunity to live.
Hyberger's art is inspired by her degree in psychology, her interest in dreams and her fascination with the creative process. She creates miniature constructions, where, she says, "everything has the potential for becoming something else."
Mickler's specialty is fine art gourds, using geometrics, symmetry and texture to create contemporary designs.
The reception and exhibition are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday from 6-9pm or by appointment. More at www.tacgallery.org.
In UTW's Spring Thing, a seasonal guide to spring and summer in Tulsa, the visual arts section misidentified TAC Gallery's listings. The gallery's monthly exhibits are listed under the headline of Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art. We apologize for the error and encourage readers to pick up the latest issue of UTW for TAC Gallery events and shows.
From Left Field
Also opening Friday at Duane Fernandez's Left Field Project (see page 16 for more on that) is an exhibition of work by local artist Michael Sexton.
Sexton is an abstract painter and sculptor most comfortable with large-scale projects (he was the guy responsible for the mural that adorned the walls of Nelson's Buffeteria, where Elote now stands). He's also the creator of many of the fine art finishes on the walls and ceilings of some of Tulsa's most upscale homes and offices, with a background of more than 10 years in faux finishes.
His unique brand of work is right in line with Fernandez's unique approach to displaying work, adding an energetic vibe with music by local bands.
The Tulsa Performing Arts Center gallery also hosts a new exhibition beginning Friday, April 3. The Art Directors Club of Tulsa presents "40 for 40," an exhibition of posters created for the club during the past 40 years.
According to the PAC, the "Art Directors Club of Tulsa is one of America's oldest independent art directors clubs, founded to foster professional creativity in the region. Every year, the club sponsors a series of monthly meetings with some of the country's best professionals as speakers. This year alone included Jay Shuster, concept artist from Pixar, and Chip Kidd, considered by USA Today as a rock star of graphic design. Each artist is asked to design a poster to commemorate the evening. The club produces the posters and gives them away at the end of the meeting."
The exhibition is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10am to 5:30pm or during Chapman Music Hall events. For more, www.tulsapac.com.
On Saturday, April 4, locally renowned Master Recycler Rainbow Girl (a.k.a. Lauren Lunsford) hosts "Art In for Tulsa Transit" at the Tulsa Transit Station, 319 S. Denver.
The event features works and performances by local artists, poets and musicians and aims to support and create awareness for public transportation in Tulsa. It is sponsored by the Mother Nature Needs You campaign and Friends of Tulsa Transit.
The event, 1-4pm, is free and open to the public. For more, call Lunsford at 346-2131 or e-mail email@example.com.
Clark Theatre and Theatre Tulsa continue their collaborative run of Up the Down Staircase this weekend, April 2-4 at 8pm in the Liddy Doenges Theatre of the Tulsa PAC, 110 E. Second St.
The play, based on the 1965 book by Bel Kaufman, recounts how Sylvia, a young, naïve teacher, fresh out of the Ivy League, navigates her way through a bureaucratic and problematic school system to affect change in her troubled students.
Julie Tattershall and Frank Gallagher direct this first-time collaboration between Clark and Theatre Tulsa. Tickets are $17.50, and if you have a ticket to last Saturday's cancelled show, you may trade it in for any of the remaining dates. Visit www.tulsapac.com for more.
Clark Theatre, 11440 E. Admiral, also presents Hannah and Martin by Kate Fodor this weekend, April 3-4 at 8pm and April 5 at 2pm.
The play is based on the true story of the relationship between the Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt and the renowned philosopher Martin Heidegger. In Germany in the 1920s, Heidegger and Arendt have a tumultuous love affair while he is a professor and she is his admiring student.
David Gray plays Heidegger and Harriet Chenault plays Arendt. Julie Tattershall directs.
The play is one of two representing Oklahoma in the Regional Festival in Kerrville, Texas April 15-19. Tickets are $10 and all proceeds will be used to help send the cast and crew to the regional competition. For tickets, reservations or more information, call 669-6455 or visit www.clarktheatre.com.
Jordan Herskowitz, who premiered his one-man show "Jordy Pordy: Taking the Bull By the Horns" at the University of Tulsa in November (see "No Bull About It" from the Nov. 13-19 issue online at www.urbantulsa.com), and he's back with an encore performance this Sunday. April 5 at 7pm at the Charles Schusterman Jewish Community Center, 2021 E. 71st St.
The show chronicles Herskowitz's career as a mascot, his loss of a brother to cystic fibrosis and his struggle to find his identity.
The April 5 performance marks the kick-off of "Jordy Pordy's" world tour, with a three-week run off of the West End in London, a month-long run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and other performances scheduled in Newcastle and Leeds, England, and Vienna, Austria. In September, Herskowitz will begin performing across the U.S.
Information about and tickets to Sunday's performance are available at www.jordypordy.com.
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