The Norman Transcript

February 14, 2014

MAINSITE gallery hosting a tantalizing trio of artistic endeavors

by Doug Hill
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Three exhibits opening at MAINSITE Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main St., on Feb. 14 will challenge viewers perspectives, each in its own way.

The exhibits open with a reception 6-10 p.m. Feb. 14 and end with a closing reception 6-10 p.m. March 14. The exhibits are up through March 15. For more information visit mainsite-art.com.

The 30-piece exhibition titled “Selfie: An Exhibition of Identity” is loosely based on the age-old practice of self-portraiture.

Co-curated by Oklahoma State University art history graduate students Mary Kathryn Moeller and Krystle Brewer, the show aims to draw attention to the idea that identify is an abstract concept.

“Identity is self-constructed,” Brewer said. “It’s also fluid and we can change our identity over time as the people around us, our interests and how we want to define ourselves change.”

The show’s name comes from the practice made popular in social media of photographing oneself with a phone, and includes works by artists ranging in experience from professional to high school students.

“Some of the works are artist self-portraits in painting and drawing,” Brewer said. “There will be abstracted art as well, that relates to identity along with sculpture, digital art and photography.”

In 1990 the B-52s gave everyone permission to roam around the world in their hit single “Roam.” Norman artist Erin Latham has done just that and more with her exhibit titled “The Right to Roam.”

The Pratt Institute and University of Oklahoma alumna’s show is based on her 2013 residency at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Lumsden, Scotland, a tiny rural village.

“I made prints that were installed in the landscape,” Latham said. “They were documented through maps, sketches and photography.”

Part of her inspiration came from Scotland’s Land Reform Act of 2003 which codified the country’s tradition of responsible unhindered access to open countryside as long as no damage or interference occurs to farming.

“My show includes things I made along with a story line from when I was hiking and cycling across rural Scotland,” she said. “There are photos of small scale cut-paper sculptures with floral patterns that were integrated into the landscape.”

Found objects such as feathers and lichen are woven into the visual narrative. Some of her works on display will be woodblock and silkscreen prints.

“My artistic inspiration predominantly comes from natural environments,” Latham said. “Light, weather and outdoor sounds make me want to create.”

“Buddha Tuesdays” is the name of a show that was conceived by artist and Westminster School art educator Linda Lou Warren. The established and well-known painter is also leader and spokesperson for a central Oklahoma art collective that includes Lacy Saak, Charlotte Gibbens and Kay Evans.

For two years these women have been meeting regularly on Tuesdays and focusing their talents on making various images suggested by an ancient sage and teacher from the Himalayan foothills. Before that they were ladies who lunch.

“I suggested that we make Buddhas instead,” Warren said. “We’d done yoga together and there’s the association with peace, kindness and it’s a popular icon that’s evocative of our friendship for each other.”

In that way the group’s previous lunch dates were replaced with Buddha Tuesdays where they channeled their creativity and personal talents into producing art. These pieces form the show.

“Everyone had their own vision,” Warren said. “They all look different from each other.”

The collective followed no established rules so the “Buddha” bit is somewhat misleading.

“Kay’s work looks to me like it came straight from New Mexico,” Warren said. “Charlotte’s are always animals and Lacy’s are very fancy, they look like they have lace all over them.”

Warren painted “sky images” of Buddha using acrylic on canvas for the gallery walls but much of the work is small fired clay sculptures.

“We’ve also done some ‘exquisite corpse’ drawings which were started by the Surrealists in the 1920s,” she said.

The drawings are an exercise where each artist contributes a part on separate pieces of paper that were then joined to form a random collage.

“We’ve mixed the ideas from our brains and the feelings from our hearts and that became our art,” Warren said.

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