POSTED ON AUGUST 4, 2010:
Bead in Mind
Local artist uses mixed media to create paintings, weavings and sculptures
Beady Head. After joining the Bead Society of Tulsa and traveling across the country to learn beading techniques, Sharyl Landis put her skill to work to create jewelry, sculptures and other pieces for audiences. Shown: “They don’t grow on trees. ”
Upon walking through the front door of Sharyl Landis' house in mid-town Tulsa, it is clear she is an artist. And not a subtle artist who shuts their drawings in drawers and slides their paintings into shelves.
She is one whose very living space has taken on the same whimsical and vibrant characteristics that she incorporates into her unique works of art. Her house is a vibrant mélange of color, beads, fabric, canvas and pattern that reflect on her history, interests and passion for creating.
Her solo exhibit entitled, To Bead or Not to Bead, opens Friday, Aug. 6, 6-9pm at the Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery, 9 E. Brady, and runs through Aug. 28.
Her show is a tribute to her love of bead work, which has been incorporated into everything from canvas paintings, free-standing sculptures and off-loom weavings.
Landis remembers visiting art museums with her mother at a young age feeling uninterested in everything she saw that did not involve beads. They have been her passion since she was a young girl.
Landis grew up in Laredo, Texas and said that the atmosphere of bright, energetic colors from her environment has always directly influenced the color choices she makes in her work.
Landis began taking up beading as a serious pursuit in 1997 when she joined the Bead Society of Tulsa and traveled to cities across the country taking classes and workshops to learn different beading techniques. With her beading skills firmly established, she began creating stand-alone pieces, jewelry and sculptures made entirely of beads.
From the suggestion of a friend, she also began taking a color mixing class from Ross Myers at Zeigler's, which led her to begin painting as another form of expression. It was not long before she put the two together and began sewing patterns of beads directly into her canvas making unique mixed media pieces.
Since then Landis' imagination has taken off, and she has begun incorporating any and all materials she finds interesting into her work. Most unusual is her work with cat hair, donated by her cat, Solomon. Landis rolls the cat hair into sizable balls and incorporates it into free-standing sculptures or wraps it with beads to create anything from jewelry to ornaments.
In a piece entitled, "They Don't Grow on Trees," for example, she constructed a tree sculpture and from its branches hung a series of the cat hair balls mixed in with balls made of felt.
Besides an unrelenting palette of vibrant colors such as turquoise, magenta and coral, the most consistent element that Landis incorporates into much of her work is imagery of animals.
"Making still lives was totally boring to me," Landis said. Equally uninterested in drawing buildings or capturing the human figure, she has always gravitated toward the lively nature of animals.
In a beautiful piece, titled "Family Reunion," a number of purple, green and yellow beaded lizards walk across a surface covered in real sand. The attractive palette and varying textures make this piece one of the highlights from her body of work.
Another stunning piece from her body of work titled "Teal Appeal," shows a vibrantly colored duck swimming across the water. The image of the duck above the surface is made entirely of complex beadwork, while its reflection in the water was painted in slightly duller, less dimensional acrylic paint. The contrast between the two materials is striking and gives the illusion that the duck above the water is sparkling.
Most recently, she has taken up weaving into unconventional objects and surfaces such as bicycle wheels and picture frames. Landis sees the potential for creation from the most unsuspecting of objects and eagerly uses her artistic eye and skilled fingers to transform every day objects from her life into unique works of art.
Her work is not meant to convey a narrative or tell a story. Instead, her intent is to allow the viewer to enter into a fun and whimsical world, where a number of unrelated mediums can co-exist to create a place where the mind can relax and simple enjoy what is in front of it.
Landis is affiliated with Pearl Gallery in Tulsa and sells beaded jewelry pieces at Gallery of the Arts in Claremore, Okla. and Eureka Thyme in Eureka Springs, Ark.
On Uneasy Ground
Friday, Aug. 6 also marks the opening of another exhibit in the Brady Arts District at Living Arts.
The opening reception for this two-man show takes place 5-9pm and showcases the work of artists Jason Bronner and Cole Thomspon. The show runs through Aug. 26.
Bronner's body of work, titled, Dogs of the Empire is composed of a series of charcoal drawings referencing the government as both protector and oppressor.
His drawings are filled with savage and sinister images of dogs, an animal Bronner views as both angelic protector and vicious hunter. His work is meant to relate directly to the government's relationship with its citizens and the way in which it has come to invoke simultaneous states of fear and security.
Bronner's drawings are aggressively gestural and put the viewer in an uneasy state of mind. The dogs he has created are not cuddly golden retrievers but vicious hunters of the night that invoke a stronger feeling of fear than one of protection.
The work of Colorado photographer, Cole Thompson, titled Ghosts of Aucshwitz and Birkenau, carries its own solemn message to the viewer.
Thompson's black and white photographs are chilling images of the desolate concentration camps at Aucshwitz and Birkeneau. Into these already sober images, Thompson has layered convincing imagery of the spirits and ghosts from the tragedy of the Holocaust whose presence can still be felt walking through the camps. The feeling evoked by Thompson's striking photographs is extremely powerful and a compelling reminder to remember this inhumane tragedy.
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