POSTED ON AUGUST 3, 2011:
Multiple exhibitions open near downtown
For Tulsans who appreciate the finer points in life -- you know, the artsy fartsy folks -- the first weekend of the month means hitting the local galleries to see who's painting -- and molding and sculpting and carving... -- what.
Downtown, gallery goers can walk, or crawl, to various openings, with half a dozen or so shops in the Brady Arts District propping their doors ajar from about 6-9pm on Friday, Aug. 5. All exhibitions are free and open to the public.
At the Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery, 9 E. Brady St., Audra Urquhart is displaying a collection of work titled Touching Transcendence: Ubiquity and the Sphere. The Norman-based artist, who's also a teacher, grew up on Lake Eufala, and her bright, colorful paintings reflect an experience with aquatic life.
In her artist's statement for this exhibition, Urquhart writes that she wants viewers to "step inside the paintings, to move actively through its twists and turns, and to find the quiet places amid the thrills."
"In each, I have tried to evoke not just a visual experience but also an emotional, even archetypical, experience," she said.
"I explore the meaning and impact of the familiar: spheres, spirals, water, plants, etc," Urquhart writes of her work. "Ubiquity makes things no less interesting. Though we can give the familiar a variety of interpretations, do these forms also carry with them a universal connection? What does a waterfall mean? Am I the spheres; are you? Can we travel these spiral journeys together?
"The subject matter for each painting is drawn from those things that I experience or that consume my thoughts," she said. "Music has also propelled my abstract wanderings. I always use music to disengage the hypercritical part of my mind and to direct the mood of the piece while I am painting."
Touching Transcendence will hang through Aug. 27. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday, 6-9pm, or by appointment.
Other galleries and shops participating in the Brady Arts District's First Friday Arts Crawl are Club 209, 209 N. Boulder Ave.; Gypsy Coffeehouse, 303 N. Cincinnati Ave.; Tulsa Glassblowing Studio, 19 E. Brady St.; and Brady Artists Studio, 23 E. Brady St. Living Arts, at 307 E. Brady St., also participates in the monthly event. For more on what's happening there, check out this week's cover story.
Also downtown, but not quite in the Brady District, Vanessa Somerville, owner of the recently opened Lot No. 6, 1323 E. Sixth St., is welcoming new work at her shop with a reception on Friday as well.
Steven Brothers, local painter, is exhibiting a collection of portraits that are "a whimsical combination of surreal environments combined with portraiture," Somerville says.
His portraits deconstruct the figure without marring its translation to the viewer, and their showing at Lot No. 6 marks their public debut.
Walk of Art.
"This fresh artist is one not to be missed," Somerville said. "We rarely have the opportunity to see an artist in his or her beginning stages show such potential. Steven's work is communicating potential for a great career."
Lot No. 6 is an art bar, selling beer and showing local artists' work. Somerville feels it's important to allow artists to express themselves however they need to and says Lot No. 6 is a place to encourage creativity.
Somerville opened Lot No. 6 following completion of Tulsa Community College's Launch Your Entrepreneurial Journey program last year. Previously, she owned Self Gallery on Eleventh Street near Utica Avenue.
The opening reception for Brothers' exhibit is from 7pm to 2am, and bar/gallery hours are 2pm to 2am seven days a week. Brothers' work will hang through the month of August.
Near Lot No. 6, at 621 E. Fourth St., is the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center, which houses Oklahomans for Equality, a Tulsa LGBT outreach organization.
Each first Thursday of the month, the Equality Center hosts an exhibition opening in its second-floor gallery. This month, the center is showing the work of mother-son team Tana Van Cleave and Grant T. Smith.
The artists, both painters, find inspiration in vastly different places. Cleave uses daily life and human interaction to seek out the physical and creative mood reflected there. Smith takes his cues from the Mexican celebration Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. He hopes to drag his viewers through the realization that death is the great equalizer and elicit an emotional experience for them.
"The counterpoint of their styles is an interesting dichotomy considering their relationship -- mother with her dark, earthy hues and Grant with his ethereal vivid colors, which skate through into realms that are ordinarily not reached," a gallery official stated in a press release.
The reception for their exhibit is Thursday, Aug, 4 from 6-9pm, and the work will hang through the month of August. Gallery hours are 12-9pm Monday through Saturday and 12-6pm Sunday.
Last month, Savage Art Gallery, 2207 E. Sixth. St., opened its doors to 400 folks who showed up to celebrate its grand opening. On Aug. 1, the gallery began displaying the work of the "Final Touch Artisans" of El Reno, paintings that will be on display through Sept. 7. The reception for the exhibit is Friday, Aug. 12, but the work can still be viewed during regular gallery hours, from 10am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday.
Next door, The Gallery on Sixth, 2207 E Sixth St., displays work by American artists and craftsmen and is also open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm.
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