Over the last two years Paseo Originals Art Gallery has built its focus around artists who are bold and innovative; and it was in that same spirit that the Paseo Originals team conceived the "Platform" National Juried Exhibition. Seeking emerging and mid-career artists who offer an angle with which to appreciate something new, we sent our exhibit prospectus across the nation and artists responded in kind. A jury was formed which was composed of the following:
Working from his studio in Dayton, Ohio Nicholas Scrimenti's current body of work was derived from his employment experience; being employed by a hoarder for over a year to help develop a strategy to clean and organize his property. To his employer, the endless piles of physical objects either contained a memory or possessed the potential to manifest themselves into something new. The objects were in a sense a lifelong collage. Working with this subject matter revealed to him his own hoarding tendencies in regard to his studio practice. He became influenced by the array of art garbage that accumulated through his creative process. Scrimenti observes, "The environment I am surrounded by while painting, and the accumulations within it, have become integrated into my paintings. Initially each painting is derived from, and loosely based on, specific bizarre events and futile tasks preformed while working with the hoarder. The narrative is used as a springboard into each painting and often dissolves partially, or entirely, through the process of painting."
Steve Ligget Founder of Living Arts Tulsa, OK
F. Bradley Jessop, ED.D. Director, School of Fine Arts
East Central University Ada, OK
Laura Warriner Co-Founder, Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition
Founder, [Artspace] at Untitled Oklahoma City, OK
Karen L. Orr Owner, Paseo Originals Art Gallery Oklahoma City, OK
Tony Morton Director, Paseo Originals Art Gallery Oklahoma City, OK
The jury chose six artists to be featured during the exhibit which will open on Friday, March 1st during the First Friday Art Walk on Paseo. The awards juror, Alison Amick, Collections Curator for the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, will allocate her selections for monetary awards prior to the opening of the exhibition. Representation and solo exhibition awards will also be selected and awarded by the gallery owner and director prior to the opening reception. The six selected artists, Nicholas Scrimenti, Mark Hatley, Steve Whitfield, Birgit Huttemann-Holz, Allie Jensen and Araceli Tarraso, represent a broad range of creative method and artistic style. The exhibit will close on March 30, 2013 and selected artists will remain in contract representation through the calendar year.
Araceli Tarraso was born in Mexico City and raised in Barcelona, Spain where Catalan design impressed upon her the aesthetics she would carry as an adult to her present home in Pleasant Grove, Utah. As a child in Barcelona she found constant confrontation with the architectural and artistic works of Antoni Gaudi. It was these adolescent experiences which would lead her compositions to focus less on subject and more on mood. Tarraso's earthy, yet vibrant, oil on canvas paintings depict Catalan tile designs; broken and then pieced together in a puzzle of haphazard construction where chaos finds counterbalance. Her visually compelling works represent life itself; assorted little tiles rife with imperfection, cracked and worn by time, yet seemingly held together through the harmony of push and pull.
Wax and powdered pigments are the painting media of choice for Michigan based artist Birgit Huttemenn-Holz. Her encaustic painting style tends to be very visceral and luminous with a focus on depth. She is compelled to attack her paintings with the aggressive force of the razor's edge and flame in order to challenge the image. Her current series "Aeon" centers on the genesis of beauty and ephemerality and the infinite allure of entropy and decay. Her aggressive compositions take the viewer through a clouded lens into cityscapes, eruptions and natural wonders where the truth behind the image is always just slightly out of reach creating opportunity for the observer's perspective to take hold. Her paintings are the artist's attempt to get near to the truth but, never arrive.
Oklahoma artist Mark Hatley is works on paper to convey his experience. Hatley states, "Through art I want to convey my own ideas and experiences as specific spatial situations, wherein the space depicted plays a vital role in describing the narrative." It is from this internal narrative that two distinct series, both rooted in printmaking, evolved. Though his works are representational the solution behind the puzzling narratives beckons the viewer focus less on the subject and more on the subtle undertones of mood in the compositions such as temperature, saturation and tonal variations in color. It is through these subtleties that the language of his work deepens and becomes more transparent. In summation Hatley states, "I work intending to activate the picture and picture surface and I can do this by painting activity or energy as a subject."
With over thirty years of watercolor experience at her back, Oklahoma artist Allie Jensen recently changed course towards the more viscus acrylic medium. Jensen notes, "I am still fascinated by the movement of pigment in water. I worked in watercolor for many years before recently rediscovering acrylics. Compositions have literally taken on a new dimension." Her large paintings embrace nature, often the breathtaking flower form, and discover inside them the human figure within the idiom of the lines. Her compositions reflect a quiet feminine spirituality with room for exploring the significance that lay beyond the moment of introduction; offering room for the diligent observer to explore.
The playfully light compositions of artist Steve Whitfield reflect the passion he has for his home state, Oklahoma. Whitfield says, "I call the series "Coming Full Circle." Coming full circle for me means that for many years I longed to return to Oklahoma but, for a variety of reasons, was unable to do so. Now that I am back I am celebrating both the new and historic elements that make this such a wonderful place to live." Working as an art history educator for many years, Steve developed an appreciation for the identity which an artist's style can acquire. The artist adds, "For a long time, I felt like I was technically proficient at many styles of drawing and painting but, that work could have been done by anyone with the same training as I've had. Finally, at this point in my life, I feel that I have created some individual techniques that viewers can connect to a piece as being one that was done by me." His acrylic compositions ooze the emotional experience of a place in conjunction with it's being.