The 2011 Emerging Artists Show & Much More @ MAINSITE!

MAINSITE Contemporary Art: Home of the Norman Arts Council is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition of the 2011 Emerging Artists Show along with the winning images from the Downtown Norman Photo Month Contest and the second NAC Featured Artist, Tünde Darvay.

Exhibition Dates: December 9, 2011 – January 21, 2012

Opening Reception: Friday, December 9th, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Closing Reception: Friday, January 21st, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Gallery Hours of Operation: 11:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday and by appointment

Olen Cook: Olen Edward Cook III, 24, graduated from East Central University in 2010 with a B.S. in Mass Communications. He currently lives in Lone Grove, Oklahoma.

His body of work involves extracting a section of an object and taking it out of its environment. These objects have a significant connection with an occurrence that is mutually shared with him. Extracting these sections is taking a piece of every occurrence away from the original object. This originated from thoughts about how objects can influence situations.

Trisha Thompson-Adams: Trisha Thompson-Adams graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking and watercolor. Trisha has been selected for inclusion in several regional juried exhibitions, including Biting the Apple at IAO in OKC and Momentum at Living Arts in Tulsa. In 2009 she won the purchase award for Oklahoma State University’s Research Week. She was recently accepted into In Shades of Gray, a monochromatic juried exhibition in LaCrosse, WI.

Her show Dreams and Curious Things is described by the artist, “Dreams and Curious Things is based on dreams that I have dreamt within the past two years. I view this series as visual documentation of my dreams, which makes me view each piece almost in a scientific manner.  Since I’m documenting my dreams the science aspect became an important aesthetic decision.  Most of the work in this series documents vivid dreams that wake me in the middle of the night. Because of this, I often feel confused when I wake up and have to reevaluate my surroundings.  I use images of teeth as a motif in several pieces because when my dreams wake me, my teeth are tightly clenched.  My dreams have always been more on the strange and curious side, and to quote M.C. Escher, “I don’t use drugs, my dreams are frightening enough.”

May Yang: May Yang is a Tulsa based artist and designer. She works primarily with printmaking techniques to produce work that explores her cultural background as well as the environment around her. May graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2008 focusing on graphic design and printmaking. While there, she interned for Dolphin Press & Print, the school’s print workshop. Continuing her interest in collaborative printmaking, May attended the Tamarind Institute of Lithography in Albuquerque, New Mexico. May is currently (and constantly) working on new artwork.

Yang describes her art, “As a first generation Asian-American, cultural identity has played an important role in my life and work. Growing up in the Midwest, I often felt as if I was not a part of either culture – too American to be Asian and too Asian to be American. The process of printmaking has been significant in this realization of my ideas and experiences. The versatility of the different printmaking mediums lend themselves well to portraying the dichotomy of the two cultures within which I live. Family photographs are treated with a delicate touch whereas English text & letterforms receive a bold treatment, often using bright, eye-catching colors. It is with an experimental nature that I continue my inquiry of my family history.”

Joshua Peck: Born and raised in small towns across eastern Oklahoma, I returned to Tulsa in 2005. Before and after college at the University of Oklahoma, I lived in London, Budapest, Seattle, New York City and Seattle for a second stint.  Peck currently lives in Los Angeles.

Dead Cinema is a series of color photographs that attempt to link the bittersweet remembrance of what once was by exposing the harsh, unforgiving neglect of a beloved cultural institution: the movie theatre.

Theatres of yesterday had marquees lit in vibrant, glowing, buzzing neon. Dead Cinema attempts to shed new light on these slowly dying architectural gems as they have been invisible too long. By exposing the damage to the theatres by ravages of time, the misuse of the structures and the sad beauty these theaters still possess, I hope to suggest that we’ve turned our back on something better.

I work only with analogue film cameras. Film has an immediacy and warmth of tone that I still believe in. All images in Dead Cinema utilize Kodak Ektar 100 film and were taken by a Hasselblad 500 C/M medium format camera. There is no cropping or digital manipulation in any of the images.

Jesse Whittle: Jesse Whittle is from Tulsa. He received his BA from St. Gregory’s University in Studio Art. He has won several awards, including a purchase award at the Young New Collectable Artist show at the JRB art at the Elms gallery. Jesse previous work experience includes the ArtReach program at Philbrook Museum of Art. Currently, Jesse teaches 6th 7th and 8th grade art at Mannford middle school.

Jesse has exhibited at a number of group shows around the state, particularly in Tulsa and Oklahoma City Most recently Jesse has been a featured artist at Istvan Gallery in OKC. Whittles work is abstract in form, employs exuberant strokes and color, but some of the excitement of his work is in what lies beneath. According to the artist, “My work is about fragments, things left behind or discarded. During my painting process I emphasis color by adding and subtracting layers. I use an electric sander to expose previous layers. I experiment with composition by scratching; sanding and removing layers.”

The Downtown Norman Photo Contest

This past summer, the City of Norman Planning Department and the Norman Arts Council joined forces to bring recognition to the City’s efforts to expand the area of downtown Norman that is part of the National Historic Register. That led to the idea of a community-wide photo contest. The photo contest was simple: open to all and take photos of downtown Norman in the month of October 2011.

October Photo Month kicked off with Norman’s participation in the World Wide Photo Walk on October 2, 2011. This annual event saw 1,118 communities around the world participate, with 28,000 people all taking photos of their towns on the same day.

This exhibit features the twenty winning photographs from October Photo Month. These were selected out of the 67 entries received. The winners include: Gayle L. Barrett, Jennifer Burnes, Butch Enterline, Harolda Gibson, David Jeffries, Marvin Lee, Sam Scott, Bob Stovall, Dianna Wilson, and Jerry Worster.

October Photo Month was just one of many community arts activities that took place in that month. Due to the overwhelming participation by the artists, arts organizations, and community members in these events and programs, October was officially declared Arts and Humanities Month in Norman, thanks to a proclamation by Mayor Cindy Rosenthal earlier this year.

NAC Featured Artist: Tünde Darvay

Romanian-born artist Tünde Darvay’s exuberant paintings on wood explore the absence of human contact in contemporary daily life. Whether it is because of an increase in crime and terrorism or our reliance on vehicles and digital media, Darvay posits that people in the United States generally avoid physical contact with each other. Except for forced interaction within the confines of public transportation or an accidental elbow on a busy street, it seems true that for most Americans, avoiding human touch outside of friends and family is desirable.

As Darvay exposes, perhaps nowhere is the impersonal “don’t touch” environment more exaggerated than the context of a gallery where getting too close to an artwork could mean triggering an alarm. Darvay doesn’t just mourn the void of physical human interaction in everyday life and museum environments; she challenges it by asking visitors to actually touch her paintings.  By encouraging the use of touch to perceive and understand her artwork, Darvay aims to subvert the primacy of vision in Western art history. In turn, she calls attention to the sterility of an existence devoid of touch.

Sight has long been emphasized in Western art history as the primary means for both producing and appreciating art.  It is an idea with roots in Aristotle’s writings, in which he describes vision as the most intellectual of the senses and touch as the least.  Darvay’s background growing up in Transylvania, coupled with her experiences living in the United States, gives her a broader perspective that allows her to expand the traditional notion of perception as occurring solely through the act of seeing.

To reward the sense of touch, Darvay exploits the qualities of each irregular wood shape that form the surface of the paintings. She carefully selects, cuts, carves and prepares each wood piece, frequently leaving imperfections and exposing the pattern of the grain.  Often these attributes become part of the narrative, as in The Bike Ride, in which the grain, knots and holes evoke the rough surface of the bicycle’s path. For added texture, Darvay coats the wood with modeling paste and adds staples, cardboard, gold leaf and buttons.

Darvay’s background also gives her the freedom to eschew Western notions of proportion and perspective with an aesthetic that is reminiscent of folk art.  This deliberately “naïve” style imbues her work with a warm, handmade quality. Darvay makes no effort to depict figures in a naturalistic way.  Skin can be painted green, and hair can be purple.  Limbs are elongated in Modigliani-like proportions and depth is mostly communicated by stacking as opposed to linear perspective.  In Romeo and Juliet, a table is rendered with four legs jutting out from all sides, and a paintbrush holder meant to rest on top actually spans beyond the table surface.

Emotion, feeling, touch and sensation trump the laws of formalism in this work.  As a result, Darvay exposes the limits of perception as experienced only through the act of looking.

Tünde Darvay is a Romanian-born artist based in Norman, Oklahoma.  She received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the University of Fine Arts in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.  After living in Transylvania, Darvay moved to Oklahoma in 2004 and became a permanent resident in 2007.