POSTED ON MAY 4, 2011:
Pedal and Metal
Local exhibits showcase the art of movement
Last week, the Tulsa Performing Art Center's gallery, at 110 E. Second St., opened an exhibit of art bikes to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society unveiled Art Bike Tulsa, an installation of colorful, uniquely designed bicycles transformed by some of Tulsa's leading artists to bring awareness to the incurable disease.
Tulsa's top ranking artistic and creative minds transform used bikes into a living exhibit with the hope of providing a visual representation for the Society's theme of "keep moving."
While the show was planned in conjunction with the Tulsa International Mayfest, which begins May 19, it will hang at the PAC's gallery through June 1, and be open for viewing from 10am to 5:30pm Monday through Friday and during Chapman Music Hall performances, as well as Saturday, May 21, from 5:30-10:30pm.
At the same, Living Arts is presenting three exhibits, all of which open this Friday, May 6 at 307 E. Brady St., that deal with issues of mobility in a changing society.
In Tulsa, Natali LeDuc is known for her multiple personality art car, which she brings to the annual ArtCar Parade every year. In Houston, folks know LeDuc for her art bikes, which will be featured, along with others she has curated from Houston, in the Myers Gallery at Living ArtSpace. LeDuc's art bikes have been featured in films about the Houston ArtCar Parade and the Austin ArtCar Parade. LeDuc will also perform a "Live Shrimp Puppet Show" when she comes to the Tulsa ArtCar weekend at the end of May.
Meanwhile, photographer Jeremy Charles, who's responsible for some of the issues you see in this publication, presents Crash Devils, which depicts the individuals of the uniquely American sport demolition derby.
"Once I watched the visual drama unfold the first time, I was hooked," Charles said. "These folks spend weeks designing and welding together old car parts, only to smash them up within a span of five or 10 minutes."
Charles' images will be displayed in context of car part frames and stacks of shredded tires, with a demolished derby car as the centerpiece of the exhibit. The series of photographs are a raw depiction of the characters, ambiance and action of demolition derby culture.
"I want the observers to find a new respect for demolition derby," Charles said. "It's an oversight to dismiss this as 'redneck behavior.' While there is an obvious nostalgia for the U.S. auto industry of yesteryear, it goes much deeper. The characters of demolition derby passionately represent the noblest American ideals of self-reliance and hands-on ingenuity.
"There is a surprising amount of strategy and thought put into the sport. Certain car models have different advantages and disadvantages. Drivers have specialized tactics and styles. It's also an environment of teamwork and collegiality. Fathers and sons build cars together, and whole families take part in the event. It's also a helluva lot of fun."
The name of the show is borrowed from driver David Shook, a man who helped open up the world of demolition derby to Charles. He and other drivers will attend the exhibit's opening to talk about their sport.
Happening in Living Arts' corner installation space is "Moshadette," an installation by Booker T. Washington students in the 9th and 10th grades under the direction of teacher Beverly Wissen. The installation explores nature, light and mobility.
All three exhibits open with a reception from 6-9pm Friday, May 6, in conjunction with the First Friday Art Crawl on Brady Street downtown.
All of the aforementioned exhibits are free and open to the public.
On Thursday, May 5, Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery, 9 E. Brady, hosts its annual fundraiser, "The 5x5," from 5:55-9pm.
Local artists, working in a variety of media and styles, donate their talents to create five-inch-by-five-inch canvases supplied by the coalition. Each of the works sells for $55, and there is a requested $5 donation at the door.
This fundraising event generates a significant portion of the gallery's revenues so that it can keep the costs for the exhibiting artists down. It also provides the public an opportunity to buy original art at an affordable price.
The exhibit opens in conjunction with Brady Street's First Friday Art Crawl and will hang through May 21.
Under the Impression
Also on Thursday, Joseph Gierek Fine Art, 1512 E. 15th St., opens Heartland Homage, an exhibition of impressionist paintings by Frank Duchamp.
The artist painted the works on display while imagining he was employed by Vincent van Gogh.
"While greatly enlarging the brushwork, I tried to match his bold technique," Duchamp writes in his artist's statement. "At times, it was like constructing a topographical map of the density and direction of his brush work. After completing the series, I discovered that another way to direct the pigment would be to apply it directly with syringes. That led to the smaller, original landscape paintings of scenes in Oklahoma and Arkansas in which much of the oil paint was applied with needles."
Duchamp said some of the best advice he ever received was "paint what you love."
"My great affection for van Gogh's work, along with my love of nature, resulted in this homage series," he said.
The series opens with a reception at 6pm on Thursday and will hang through June 8.
At Liggett Studio, 308 S. Kenosha Ave., Friday, May 6, Justine Green presents her thesis exhibit, a show titled "Flesh and Form," as she prepares to graduate with her bachelor's degree from the fine arts program at the University of Tulsa.
In her artist's statement, Green writes: "It is the human figure that holds my interest. For me there is no greater relevancy I can find than that of my physical being."
Green's show is comprised of figurative paintings of the human form in oil on canvas.
"Placed in a nondescript interior, the positions of the figures suggest a state of unrest," she writes in her statement. "Their forms take on the significance of a landscape and become an area where I can explore form, flesh, and sexuality -- all that is most human. The interior has a visual relationship with the figures, but it does not supply a narrative or inform who the subjects are as individuals. Their existence within the painting is purely objective, leaving the viewer to reflect on the planes of a head or a twist of the knee and relating to these instances through their own bodies."
The exhibit opens with a reception from 6-9pm May 6 and will hang through the month of May. It is free and open to the public.
Lot in Life
On Friday, May 6, Vanessa Somerville will host an exhibit of local painter Chris Mantle's work in her new art bar, Lot No. 6, at 1323 E. Sixth St.
The former owner of Eleventh Street's SELFgallery opens Lot No. 6 following her participation in Tulsa Community College's Launch Your Entrepreneurial Journey program. The art gallery and bar is intended to "allow artists to express themselves however they need to," Somerville said.
"I have been a fan of Chris's work since I met him over five years ago," she said. "His work seems effortless in its complexity -- complexity of context seen through brushstroke and complexity realized through talks with the artist."
Mantle's exhibit of new work opens with a reception from 7-10pm at the art bar.
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