writing

A collection of things that I think are worth sharing. Here you might find: artist discoveries, exhibition reviews, cultural observations, recipes and other fun things.

Jeffrey Gibson at Oklahoma Contemporary

Recently I moved to Oklahoma City and I am now conveniently right down the street from the current Oklahoma Contemporary gallery, at least for now, until they move to their new location on Broadway.  I spent a chill, Saturday afternoon with the Jeffrey Gibson exhibition and it was nothing short of inspiring.

Gibson is a Colorado native but has worked and exhibited internationally. His work combines his native traditions and cultures with his memories of being a punk kid in the late 80's and early 90's. I loved his titles, his use of bright colors, and his ability to tell stories and share his culture in a way that was playful and inviting. Gibson's material exploration includes ceramics, bead-work, mixed media sculptures, and paintings. This body of work specifically did an excellent job connecting the work; as you walked through the gallery you are greeted by a long line of ceramic heads that the artist describes as masks. They're loaded with layers of glazes and have quirky expressions with titles to match. The heads are then found again atop various, large scale mixed media figures. They were looming over us but they were not scary, they made us feel small as humans. And reminded me of an imagined life where large humanistic creatures roamed the Earth with us. Along the walls were beaded tapestries that elegantly combined color combination, technique, and were laden with popular song lyrics and phrases.

Overall this is a show that I am so grateful I could catch before it closed and moved to the next gallery.

Check out his website here.

 

Discovering Mary Heilmann

Book: Mary Helimann - Good Vibrations

I discovered this book from reading Inside the Painter's Studio by Joe Fig (another good one). Heilmann's work stood out to me because of her use of bright colors, abstract subjects, and her explorations in to sculpture and space. It's always important when making and discussing abstract art to discuss it's relation to history and in this case, Mary Heilmann benefits heavily to the period of Postmodernism. Robert Mangold put this in to a good perspective by saying, "postmodernism finished with the idea of an artistic avant-garde and with it's 'anything goes' approach, opened up a whole field of painting's potentialities" where it appears to "seem incalculable, opening up painting to the objective references and pictorial autonomy of endless possibilities of combinations, or formal allusions and thematic relations, of quotations and appropriations." Basically after Postmodernism, artists like Mary Helimann were able to fully jump into the the deep end of painting without expectation or restrictions. Endless possibilities allowed Heilmann to engage with painting through things like furniture, offset canvases, shaped canvases, and wall installations.

Heilmann was intuitive and knew what her work's purpose was. Here's my favorite quote from her that I really related to:  "I don't really want to tell people what to think or who I am, but let the artwork make them (her viewers) wonder who they are and help them figure out what to think." YES.

Another beautiful concept that Heilmann discussed is wabi sabi.

wabi sabi: an attitude in making things in the simplest, most basic way, in order to let nature be a part of the creation. Commonly associated with Asian art and art history.

It has three main points:
1. NOTHING LASTS

2. NOTHING IS FINISHED                   

3. NOTHING IS PERFECT
 

Katelynn Knick