NORMAN — O. Gail Poole, 77, a prominent Oklahoma artist, passed away at his home in Norman on Saturday, April 13, 2013, with his family close at hand. A recent diagnosis of urothelial carcinoma prompted Poole’s family and friends to visit, write and call often during the weeks leading up to his death.
Services for family and close friends will be at high noon Saturday at the Bradley Cemetery in Bradley. A public celebration of his life and work will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at the MainSite Gallery in Norman.
Poole was born in Marlow in 1935 to Hazel Patterson and Woodrow Poole. He graduated from Bradley High School and received his BFA in art from the University of Oklahoma, where he was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He also served as an officer in the United States Army, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.
In his early career as a commercial artist, Poole created and served as chairman of the Oklahoma City Art Directors Guild and opened a groundbreaking, “Mad Men”-style advertising studio in Oklahoma City, Poole-Hobbes Inc., which became the most influential and creative studio of its kind in the state. In 1972, Poole was invited to participate in an exhibit of Western art in Düsseldorf, Germany. That show was the catalyst for Poole to abandon the stability and creative limitations of advertising art and forge a new career as a full-time fine arts painter.
Poole studied under his mentor and great friend, the late Richard V. Goetz, who influenced not only his work but also his circle of friends: a widely scattered but tightly bonded circle of artists as colorful and as lasting as the paintings they create.
For more than 40 years, Poole honed his mastery of form and distinct array of styles. His work won prestigious awards, was exhibited throughout the nation and hangs in countless international and national collections.