POSTED ON MAY 6, 2009:
The beginning of the month means new exhibits are on display
On Thursday, Living ArtSpace and Liggett Studio, at 308 and 314 S. Kenosha, respectively, open two new exhibits: Oklahoma City-based artist Elizabeth Brown's "Senses and Symbols" at Living Arts and Arizona artist Harrod Blank's "Camera Van Photos" at Liggett.
Brown's work focuses on organic sculpture using synthetic materials.
In her artist's statement, she writes, "My pieces speak of my perceptions and their organization into thoughts, an internal process, a dialogue with materials, informed by my daily surroundings and myself. These latest works take the form of mixed media constructions that emulate nature through synthesized and organic materials."
Using materials like plaster, paper and dyes, Brown creates objects that resemble natural forms but are elusive in their definition.
"Reflecting on the creation of these material objects becomes an exchange between the physical and intellectual methods of interpreting and expressing my sensory experience," writes Brown.
Brown has an MFA in Fibers from Arizona State University and is an assistant professor of art at the University of Central Oklahoma. She serves on the board of trustees at Untitled Art[Space] in Oklahoma City and in exhibition programming for Oklahoma Visual Artist Coalition.
Blank's exhibit is in conjunction with Living Arts' Art Car Weekend, next weekend in the Blue Dome District (more on that in next week's column).
Blank created his first art car in 1983, and it became a catalyst for his eccentric career. His exhibit at Liggett Studio is comprised of photographs of the public's candid reaction to his art car creations.
Blank equipped his art van with a camera to take photographs of the public as they observed it.
"In 1993, I had a bizarre dream in which I drove around in a van covered with cameras and pushed shutter buttons on the dashboard to take candid pictures of people's reactions," writes Blank in his artist's statement. "Their surprised and amazed expressions were fantastic. The next day, I realized that the dream was a solution to a problem.
"For years I had attempted to photograph the public's reactions to my first art car. I wanted to show people what I saw every day, what the experience of driving an art car was like. But whenever I picked up a camera to take a picture, the subject reacted to the camera and changed his or her expression."
With cameras attached to his van and his observers unaware of when the shutter might snap, Blank is able to capture real, emotional responses to his work. Responses that typically include wonderment, amusement and uncertainty.
"One day, I'd like to equip the van with enough working cameras so that every angle could be covered by the push of a button," said Blank. "This would virtually guarantee that I could capture any interesting image I saw. My other fantasy is to drive the van around the world and do a comprehensive photographic study of how different cultures react to something extraordinary."
Blank has produced three films regarding the art car phenomenon, one of which, Automorphosis, will be presented by Living Arts at Circle Cinema, 10 S. Lewis, during the Art Car Weekend. More on that next week as well.
Both "Senses and Symbols" and "Camera Van Photos" open with artists' receptions Thursday, May 7 from 6-9pm. The exhibits and receptions are free and open to the public and run through May 28. Gallery hours are Thursday from 5-8pm, Saturday from 1-4pm or by appointment. More at www.livingarts.org.
Brookside's M.A. Doran Gallery, 3509 S. Peoria, presents a stunning display of contemporary realism works in an exhibit opening Thursday, May 7.
The gallery's annual "National Contemporary Realism Show" features the work of 50 artists, some of whom live in and near Tulsa, and some of whom come from other states and abroad.
"The idea of this show began as a way to provide Tulsans with the opportunity to view artwork by established and emerging realists," M.A. Doran's Katie Orth told Urban Tulsa Weekly.
"This year's show will embody a broader scope of work, as we have included the work of artists from France, Spain and Italy," she said.
The collection exhibits a vast area of media and genres within the realism movement, ranging from contemporary still life to portraiture to photorealism. Media include painting, mixed media, sculpture, photographs and American crafts.
"The collection of works featured as a whole is a diverse arrangement. These artists use their hands and their eyes to render and capture the tangible, intangible, the true and the alleged," said Orth. "Although each piece tells a story from the viewpoint of the artist, the joy of seeing the show comes from the unique interpretation that belongs solely to the viewer, the way each of us experienced life in the past and the way we live life in the present."
The National Contemporary Realism Show opens with an artists' reception May 7, 5pm at the gallery. The exhibition continues until June 6. Both the reception and exhibition are free and open to the public.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10am-6pm. For more information, including a sneak preview of some of the work on display, visit www.madorangallery.com.
After the Fact
If you missed the opening of the Tulsa Artists' Coalition's annual 5x5 show and fundraiser, it's not too late to head to 9 E. Brady and see the show.
It opened Tuesday, May 5 at 5:55pm and still features the five-inch-by-five-inch works by local artists. The works are on sale for $55 each.
The annual event has become a local favorite, featuring a vast array of styles, genre and media by Tulsa's local creatives. The artists donate their work to the gallery, and the proceeds generate a significant portion of the gallery's annual revenue.
TAC is an artist-run, non-profit coalition and gallery.
The exhibition and sale continue through May 23 and are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday from 6-9pm and by appointment. For more, visit www.tacgallery.org.
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