Last night's opening of the Oh Tulsa! art show at Living Arts of Tulsa drew a lively, eccentric crowd of artists and Tulsans enjoying First Friday downtown. The streets were crowded, the temperature outside was hellishly hot, and the gallery offered a cool place to meet friends, enjoy the creativity of Tulsa artists and have a drink from the cash bar. The crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves and to be in no hurry to leave for other events.
The show included all kinds of artwork, including paintings in oil, acrylic, ink and multimedia, sculpture, pottery, photography, jewelry, and some works that seemed to defy labels or merge several into one visual experience.
One sculpture that somewhat defined the artwork offered in the show, "Realities & Perseverance" by Bailee Green, seemed to capture the struggles of an artist. The figure sits on discarded artwork as it finally finds its voice to create. I loved the realistic touches of discarded crumbles of waste paper covered with paint and the figure's paint stained hands. I assume the cracks in the body indicate that the artist feels somewhat broken. I am reminded of the well-known combination of quotes by Hemingway and Lenard Cohen, “We are all broken. That’s how the light gets in.”
Some work really hits you with a bang! Because of size, subject or something else, these works could not go unnoticed. The giant portrait, entitled "Patty Ryan," of a monotone cowboy with one prosthetic leg on a bright yellow background is a perfect example. The piece is huge and actually uses two canvases.
Another large painting, "Sugar" by Faith Green, a closeup of a singer, radiates energy.
Some works capture your attention and won't let go until you dig a little deeper, because they offer so much, usually layers of meaning. In "Sun Catcher" by Vanessa Pettit, the title character is drawn against a collage of small black and white prints. What story do they tell?
A lot is going on in the mixed media giclee print, "Greenwood." The closer you look, the more you see that it tells a tragic Tulsa story.
I revisited one photograph a few times to admire and marvel at its complexity. Entitled, "Fever Dream 11," it consisted of two joined photographs by Destiny Green. Not only was I fascinated by how she mounted the photographs together but at how she managed to give the model so many arms. I couldn't help thinking of Kali, the Hindu Goddess of death and destruction. But that's just me, projecting.
I haven't even touched on some of my favorite pieces, but I have to add a plug for myself. I have three framed photographs of Tulsa in the show, a black and white of a chilly day in front of the Williams Center with foggy steam escaping from underground pipes, a color photo of the Circle theater, and a shot of the roofs of downtown Tulsa. All are framed in museum quality frames.
If you want to see all the things, there's a catalog, where you can see them all and which are still available, and which have sold. Click here or use the QR code below. Click "catalogue" on the top menu.
I enjoyed the show and loved looking at all the work and being inspired. But I can't wait for the next Tulsa gallery opening. I'm hooked!
This show runs through August 18th. It's open for viewing Tuesdays through Saturdays from 12:00 - 4:00 PM at Living Arts of Tulsa, 307 East Reconciliation Way, Tulsa. OK 74120. 918-585-1234