MAINSITE Contemporary Art will debut two solo exhibitions from artists (and upstairs neighbors) Elise Deringer and Mohammad Javaheri on Friday, August 8 with an opening reception planned to take place from 6 to 10 p.m.
Deringer and Javaheri moved into one of the studio spaces located above MAINSITE Contemporary Art in August 2013, and a year later they are premiering the works created there in A Softer Storm and Line of Flight, respectively.
Deringer grew up in the Sooner State and studied sculpture at The University of Oklahoma before receiving her MFA from Arizona State University. She has been a practicing studio artist for over a decade now.
Her work approaches landscapes through the lens of poetry and philosophy, her forms created in a space between drawing and sculpture, utilizing materials like stone, sand, concrete and salt to interact with drawn, painted and dyed surfaces. Salt is especially integral to A Softer Storm.
“Confronting these tactile surfaces in the studio and being mindful of where salty forms emerge in the natural world (in essence: from sweat, tears, and the sea), keeps me present,” Deringer said. “I work with layers of inks, dyes, and paints that I apply and wash away over and over again, and the salt pushes through and crusts again and is just this fascinating material to work with. It’s continually transforming.”
Her work — including that seen in A Softer Storm — dwells mainly on landscapes, but in an atypical way.
“These aren’t inspired by any particular place in the sense of ‘Oh, this is Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona. This is from the coast of Maine’ … but without question, specific landscapes inform what I do and how I think about place,” Deringer said. “I have been fortunate enough to travel pretty extensively over the past ten years, and I hold the sense of being in a place in my mind much more closely than the visual image.”
Javaheri is a native of Iran who met Deringer while attending Arizona State University. He received a Masters degree in Chemistry before shifting his focus to art and receiving his MFA in Drawing & Painting in 2012.
His large oil and acrylic paintings celebrate movement with layered, kinetic, brush strokes that pair a melting, sometimes ambiguous backgrounds with more sharply focused subject figures.
“It offers to the viewer, as it does to me, an experience akin to entering a tangible landscape: an exploration through which all the beings involved are in the process of becoming something new,” Javaheri said.
The Library Gallery will showcase new work by James Hammontree, an Oklahoma City artist and musician who performs with bands like Power Pyramid and Sex Snobs.
MAINSITE also has pieces by Oklahoma printmaker and illustrator Tiffany McKnight on display in the Water Closet Gallery.
The exhibit will run through Saturday, September 13 with a closing reception plotted for 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, September 12. Deringer and Javaheri will also conduct an artist talk at 5 p.m., prior to the closing reception.
MAINSITE Contemporary Art is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It is located at 122 E. Main, Norman, OK. The exhibit and its receptions are free and open to the public.