Artist Profile: Tracy Jane Gregory by Helen Grant

-H. Grant

2nd Friday art walk in June sees a different kind of exhibition. The focus will be on writing, hybrid forms, and primarily feature the work of Artist in Residence Tracy Jane Gregory, who has already taught a hybrid writing workshop at Resonator on June 1st and who will be performing at the Zines Y’all: Zine and Small Arts Fest on June 8th.

The 2nd Friday show is titled: “Wallow: Exploring Grief through Hybrid Forms,” and will be open to the public on Friday, June 14th from 6-10pm. This group exhibition is curated by Tracy Jane Gregory and local artist Jenna Alyse Bryan. They have selected artists based out of the Bay Area, Norman, and OKC metro area who work in all types of media ranging from sculpture, prints, and installation to video, performance, and writing.


“ potential magic--of Demolition”,   collage poem,   Tracy Jane Gregory

potential magic--of Demolition”, collage poem, Tracy Jane Gregory


Artist Statement: Death, both grand and small, is constant, filling our days with moments of unspoken bereavement: over the shift in energy around us, over the sudden absence of light, over the loss of a belief-system or conceptualization of our identity, over an ill-conceived expectation attached to our body. Our nation’s continuous upheaval only adds to these losses, and we are constantly asked to remediate this suffering, to take action, to predict the future and attempt to alter it. But, do we ever allow ourselves to exist in the present and sit with our grief, to love and understand it as another part of ourselves that will move with us into the future?

As an interdisciplinary writer and artist, I work with hybrid mediums to help myself and my audience exist in the chaotic presence of grief. Through the use of multiple forms, I am attempting to liberate my work from the boundaries of genre and create a more intimate and present relationship with my audience, for hybridity pushes up against our pre-conceived notions about art and writing, challenging us to see an individual piece for what it is and not what we expect it to be. Hybridity also allows me to communicate what is often unspoken or unconscious. When we work within a particular medium, we enter an existing conversation dictated by previous uses of that medium, but the hybrid taps into what exists between or beyond form, the abject that has no platform or the spirit who has no medium to speak through. Grief, to be fully understood, needs these characteristics of the hybrid: open and attentive divination.


Q&A

Q. What made you want to become a writer?

A. I remember asking my mother once when I was eight or nine if it’s okay to lie in order to make someone laugh, and what I was really asking for was permission to be a storyteller. I’m sure she responded with laughter and something along the lines of “as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.” While I may now disagree with my mother about the usefulness of stories to hurt, it seems that I initially wanted to become a writer to entertain myself and others. Maybe I knew that reality wasn’t interesting enough for our entertainment: at least not for a budding young queer living in a suburb of Orange County in 1999.

Q. Where do you find inspiration?

A. I’m one of those writers who believes that all writing, in some way, is autobiographical, so my own life is my biggest point of inspiration. I spend a lot of time thinking about how my identity dictates my experiences and perceptions of the world, which always makes its way into my work.

I was raised Catholic, so I have an obsession with death, ritual, and penance. However, because I’m a queer woman, an identity often not celebrated in the church unless it’s through virginity, I have spent my life and writing defying what’s been ingrained in me. Instead of fearing death, I write towards a loving and healthy relationship with the afterlife. I challenge the rituals whose purpose is solely to keep up tradition and try to engage in ritualistic practices and writing that attempts to heal others. Through all this, my characters are often struggling to overcome their internal and external shame to reach the, sometimes seemingly impossible, light at the end of the tunnel of feeling empowered in their identities, bodies, and intuition.

“ Burying Rosemary Brown” , poem, Tracy Jane Gregory

Burying Rosemary Brown”, poem, Tracy Jane Gregory

Q. How has your work evolved?

A. Even though I would have denied it back then, ten years ago I bought into the artifice of the writer with isolated genius—that in order to discover one’s true and unique voice, the artist needs to tap into some glowing orb of creativity (or God as some writers used to think) that exists inside us from birth.

But, going to a more experimental MFA program that exposed me to writers like Kathy Acker, who rewrote classic literature into a disturbing beautiful mess, and Tracie Morris, who uses popular films as soundtracks to her performances, helped me understand that writing is an act of entering a community of voices. I decided that I wanted to be the kind of writer who honored the idea that no text is truly original and is a mere “tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture,” as Roland Barthes put it in The Death of the Author. That is to say that we are all influenced by other writers, artists, and human beings, and that no thought, or text or piece, is created in a vacuum. We are not isolated geniuses, so why not celebrate our influences within the art itself? This is when I started writing through erasure and appropriation and creating art that was upfront about the images or ideas it borrowed from others, which freed me to mix forms and genres in a way I would have never done before.

Prior to my MFA, I believed the most valuable work mastered one particular form and that the weird, unidentifiable collages and writing I had been making would only be a hobby, but now I see that there is immense value in making work that isn’t easily categorized and that creating through hybridity better represents my purpose as a writer and artist.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your vision for the June Art Walk event?

A. Last summer, I attended a funeral for my partner’s uncle, someone I had never met, and it was the first time I had met most of my partner’s extended family. I was nervous to meet such important people in this context, but it turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. Because everyone was grieving, there was a level of authenticity and vulnerability that was contagious. If you’ve never openly wept with a room full of strangers before, I highly recommend it. It’s incredibly healing. We all grew closer and created a lightness that remains with me today.

I wanted to mimic this experience in the art walk event by bringing various communities of artists and writers together to share their own grievances. I think it will help us tap into our own intuition and release something powerful together. A lot of my work already comes from a place of grief, and I’ve found that I’ve gained more agency in my life and writing because of it. Plus, with all that’s going on in the political state of this country, I wanted to create a space for people to be present with their pain.

The group show is titled Wallow: An Exploration of Grief through Hybrid Forms and will include mixed-media artists from the Bay Area, Seattle, New York, Buffalo, and Norman. Art will be on display and there will be live performances and screenings.

“For Mercy”, collage poem, Tracy Jane Gregory

“For Mercy”, collage poem, Tracy Jane Gregory

Q. What, in your experience, makes for a good reading (where the storyteller and audience are simpatico)?

A. The best readings, similar to my funeral experience, are when storytellers and audiences feel comfortable to be their authentic selves (or authentic in the persona they’ve created) and are open to hearing and providing honest feedback. I often think about an interview that Jack White did with Conan O’Brien where he talks about how audiences don’t clap or dance anymore and just stand in silence. Jack White is the type of performer who caters his sets to his audiences, but because people don’t give him any feedback by clapping or dancing (or booing), he doesn’t know how to give audiences what they want anymore. The same goes for a reading: audiences need to communicate their feelings about the pieces being read to them by clapping, snapping, humming, or hollering throughout the piece and the reader needs to be open to this feedback so they can either fuel the energy that is vibing with the audience or switch things up if the energy isn’t compatible.

I look to stand-up comedians as inspiration for this type of connection and awareness of audience. They have a presence and wit that often encourages audiences to give feedback and this magic ability to get audiences on their side, even if they’ve just turned on them.

Q. What are you into right now (books, movies, art movements, music, etc)?

A. I attended AWP (Association of Writer’s and Writing Program Conference) back in March and was able to catch up with a lot of old writer friends and teachers and buy their books! I’ve been slowly making my way through those books: “Documents” by Jan-Henry Gray, “Her Mouth as Souvenir” by Heather June Gibbons, “Sinister Queer Agenda” by Travis Sharp, and “Not Heaven, Somewhere Else” by Rebecca Brown.

As far as art movements go, I am friends with and follow many sex workers and artists who use nudity on Instagram, so I’ve been following how the new censorship rules have been negatively impacting the safety of sex workers and the ability for artists to share their work. All of this stems from the SESTA/FOSTA legislation that passed last year, which puts more responsibility on websites to censor their users under the guise of preventing sex trafficking. It’s a very scary time for censorship all around, of art, of identity expression, and of our bodies, but it seems artists are trying to create new websites and spaces welcoming of nudity and sex positivity.

“ Harboring Darrell ”, video poem, Tracy Jane Gregory

Harboring Darrell”, video poem, Tracy Jane Gregory

Q. What writing, art, and/or music events are you excited about this year?

A. I recently went to a reading by Maggie Nelson where she shared some excerpts from her book-in-progress, so I’m very excited for that to come out. One of my favorite presses is Tarpaulin Sky (a publisher of hybrid books) and they recently released the long list for their book award, so I can’t wait for them to release the short list and winners of the award. I was also able to see my favorite stand-up comedian, Maria Bamford, on her most recent tour, so I’m excited to see her special when it comes out!

Q. What’s your favorite Instagram or Instagram tag that you follow and why? (Or other social media – Twitter, etc?)

A. I guess I don’t follow any Instagram tags, but I do follow a lot of drag queens on Instagram. I love drag because it best captures the humor, gender bending, and performance I aspire to do with my work. Also, RuPaul’s Drag Race is just really good television.

I’m rarely on Twitter, but when I am, I look to Roxane Gay and Patricia Lockwood for their hilariousness and poignancy.

Q. Do you have a favorite writing website or app?

A. I really like the website Entropy because it has a lot of good resources on publications and where to get published. I also like perusing Lit Hub on occasion.

Q. Is there anything I haven’t asked that you would like readers to know about?

A. Just that I’ll be reading some work along with some other writers and musicians at Zine Fest on June 8th. It’s at Resonator from 4-10, so come on by! I also love connecting with other writers and artists, so here’s my email: tracyjaneygregory@gmail.com. If you’re ever in San Francisco, hit me up!

“Bondage”,  quilt poem, Tracy Jane Gregory

“Bondage”, quilt poem, Tracy Jane Gregory



Follow her on Instagram @traceonmyface


Visit her website at:

https://tracyjanegregory.com/


More Than Words: Zine Exchanges, Culture, and the Power of DIY by Helen Grant

- H. Grant

Zine culture is something we strive to cultivate here at Resonator. When we’re not launching a sponsorship drive, hosting a monthly exhibition for 2nd Friday Art Walk, figuring out how to promote what we do more effectively and build new connections, while providing a platform for artists of all types, we’ve been known to claw back from the clutches of chaos small morsels of time to make what is, ideally, a quarterly zine.

With that in mind, we’ve hosted a zine fest! It took place on October 21, 2017 and was fairly successful considering Norman was under a tornado watch that day; a rare but not unheard of occurence that late in fall. We strive to be a safe space in all things we do, so we monitored the situation, and those who wished to leave before sirens sounded we’re notified of worsening weather conditions; it was wild. But it’s always a wild ride with Resonator.

Resonator’s 2017 Zine Fest. Photo credit: Julius

Resonator’s 2017 Zine Fest. Photo credit: Julius

Cut to 2018 when we moved locations: core members redefined their roles, the organization actually became a non profit, and we spent a lot of that year regrouping as we began overhauling our new location with a grant from the Norman Arts Council. Gallery walls were built, many cool shows happened as the space inched along, but Zine Fest went on hiatus. These things happen.

Resonator’s 2019 goals see us collobrating with Oscillator Press to make Zine Fest happen, come hell or high water.

Poster by Jenna Bryan.

Poster by Jenna Bryan.

We’re also planning to hit the road. Resonator artists and organizers will be tabling and working on making new connections at the Denver Zine Fest this year too. Both events are in June, but Norman’s Zine Fest happens in the first half of the month. We plan to send a selection of Resonator published zines, zines artists have given us to sell for them, as well as the zines made by those taking this trip. So why Denver?

From the Denver Zine Library’s website:
“The Denver Zine Library is a non profit organization founded in 2003 whose mission is to preserve, protect and promote the culture of zines and self published original work through archival collection, workshops and events. The Denver Zine Library currently houses one of the largest zine collections in North America with a preserved collection of over 20,000 independent and alternative zines. The organization is entirely volunteer run, and the public can access the full library and archives during open hours.”

Indie publishing is a democratic medium and by all accounts it is growing one too, despite the Internet or maybe because of it. You can find zines online and locally, if you know where to look. And there are plenty of people out there still mailing zines to dedicated audiences. There is something quietly revolutionary about disseminating your thoughts, art, and DIY-style through a collage of ideas. That said, zines are varied and reveal so much about their creators’ intentions and as such there are many genres, but perhaps that’s a post for another time.

We hope our collective efforts make for a vibrant Zine culture in Norman. We’d love for more Oklahomans, young and old alike, to feel like they can cover the subjects they want, and maybe find a community of readers they can connect with as well. At the same time it is important to us that we work towards building the kind of Zine culture that attracts outsiders too. Even as we ramp up to host a Zine Fest at Resonator and participate in Denver’s Zine Fest, there is also a small group of Resonator-affiliated artists considering the idea of even trying for Kansas City this year as well. It just looks so stinkin’ cool and their vibe reads inclusive and fun.

¡Viva la cultura DIY!

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Artist Profile: Ruth Loveland by Helen Grant

This May we have a group show featuring three synergistic artists: Sarai Raven Huber, Margaret Kinkeade, and Ruth Loveland. The show is called “Rock, Paper, Scissors” and opens May 10th during 2nd Friday Art Walk. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at 325 E. Main St. and is open to the public. To give each artist the opportunity to talk about their work and the show, we have decided to break their profiles into three parts.

-Helen Grant


Ruth Loveland

Ruth Loveland


Artist Statement: I approach creation using multiple techniques and media. I use pen drawings, layering and sanding of opaque acrylic paint, gold leaf, photocopy manipulation of original drawings, and acrylic transfers on wood and canvas. Central to my practice is a love for materials, color, and the alchemy of painting. I find that everything I create seeks to attract gratitude, community, love, and relationships which repeat, alter, and multiply the good in our lives. 


Q&A


Q. What is your background? 

A. I have a BFA from OU and have maintained a studio in Norman since 2005. I have worked as a director’s assistant for a commercial art gallery, and in store artist for Anthropologie, I have created numerous bodies of my own work as well as writing, collecting projects, and ceramics. I am currently represented by Weinberger Fine Art in Kansas City.

Ruth Loveland

Ruth Loveland

Q. Where do you draw inspiration from?

A. Emotional landscapes, repeating themes of magic, loss, community, end of life, nature, mycology, and obsessive natures. I often look to express enthusiasm for different visual representations of portals, liminal spaces, and ways to gather. I am also inspired by the absurd and hiding things that are secretly funny in with themes of overt seriousness.

Q. What are you working on right now that excites you?

A. I have been working on this concept of “Magic Sad” and how you can make sadness turn into magic and how I can incorporate a lot of different material projects under this umbrella. Mixing up Mono-printing, drawing, xylene transfers, and potato printing have really captured my interest. I am also excited about some recent experiments in making paint from naturally occurring clay deposits around Norman, which is kinda magical.

Ruth Loveland

Ruth Loveland

Q. What are you favorite books, movies, or music you’re into right now?

A. I’ve been listening to Future Islands, War on Drugs, and Julia Jacklin. I am re-reading “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Bulter for the third time. I love novels about distopian futures.

Q. Do you have any art events or exhibitions you’re really excited about this year?

A. Showing with Margaret and Sarai at Resonator! The mix of soft and semi-soft and hard fired clay is an exciting mix. We are all mothers who work intuitively, have many demands on out time. and found a commonality to gather our work around.

Ruth Loveland

Ruth Loveland

Q. Is there anything I haven’t asked that you would like readers to know about?

A. The work that I am showing at Resonator this month is deeply, pungently, majorly personal, but also mostly concealed and wrapped with more formal qualities. The work is experimental and quite different from what I have done in the past. It is a promise on my behavior, on your behavior, on unrest. I explore how the horizon line can save you, pondering over a distance that seems infinite. Even if it is a mirage, and the colors are a little off, it can give you enough space that your misery can expand into something more hopeful. If what seems like red stripe in a rainbow is actually a peeling scab, it still works, it curves, it interacts with light and when inverted it is put on a dare: catch luck or catch dust. About this work: I couldn’t help it and also didn’t mean to, that’s how you know its true.

Ruth Loveland

Ruth Loveland

Follow her on Instagram: @ruthbloveland

Visit her website: ruthloveland.com


Artist Profile: Sarai Raven Huber by Helen Grant

This May we have a group show featuring three synergistic artists: Sarai Raven Huber, Margaret Kinkeade, and Ruth Loveland. The show is called “Rock, Paper, Scissors” and opens May 10th during 2nd Friday Art Walk. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at 325 E. Main St. and is open to the public. To give each artist the opportunity to talk about their work and the show, we have decided to break their profiles into three parts.

-Helen Grant


Sarai Raven Huber

Sarai Raven Huber


Artist Statement: “As a child, I was raised by parents who were both artists and some of my earliest memories are of the color, texture, and patterns of quilts hanging on my family’s walls. The calming sensation brought on by focusing on those fabrics has lasted into my adulthood and is still the main reason I create art. Weaving, quilting, knitting, sewing - these all keep me together and tie me more to the moment. In everything that I create, I am motivated by memories of my childhood, American folk art, the need to continue artistic expression within my family, and nature.

Working with textiles is my preferred medium because it offers me control in a way that other mediums do not. I am obsessed with straight lines, and textiles are the perfect medium to express, change, and control lines. Perhaps more importantly, though, is that for me, in weaving and quilting there are no real rules. Mistakes can become intentional and no one need know the difference. I use a wide variety of yarns, including my own hand-spun yarns, vintage yarns, and specialty hand-dyed yarns. Other materials range from wool and cotton fabrics that I have gathered while traveling in North and South America, the Middle East, and Europe, to felt and wire, to wooden cedar, ash, and sycamore sticks gathered in the Southern Plains and the mountains of Appalachia. In the end, everything comes full circle. I am no longer looking at the textiles made by others for comfort, I am making them for myself.”


Q&A

Q. What is your background?

A. My family moved to Oklahoma when I was young and I grew up in the OKC area. As a teenager and young adult, I spent a lot of time traveling with friends and living in different places - moving is a constant theme in my life. I recently tried counting how many houses I have lived in and lost count at 23. I came to Norman to study anthropology at OU and now I am a librarian by day and weaver by night. I didn’t study art in school, it was something that I developed on my own. My parents are both artists and I grew up with a very creative group of friends so I was lucky in that something artistic was always going on around me.

Q. Where do you draw inspiration from?

A. This changes a lot for me. Right now, my inspiration is coming from bird feathers, graffiti, and irises. I am also consistently inspired by memories of my younger brother’s colorful style. Fabrics in general – particularly mended clothing and quilts –lines and any kind of embroidery stitch. Anni Albers, Paul Klee, and other Bauhaus artists. I also draw a lot of inspiration from people I love. Often when I weave or quilt I try to only think of one person – their favorite colors, what I love about who they are, how they inspire me, their laugh, memories of them. I try to put as much of them into that piece as I can. It makes it hard to let some of them go in the end!

Sarai Raven Huber

Sarai Raven Huber

Q. What are you working on right now that excites you?

A. Lately I am interested in two things, weaving in a very limited color scheme and finding a way to cohesively mix weaving with ceramics. My father is a potter and I would like to work with him to create different shaped looms out of clay on which to weave. I love framed weavings under glass but always want to reach out and touch them. This would be the best of both worlds, a weaving that remains on a frame of some sort while retaining the ability to touch it.

Q. What is your show at Resonator about?

A. I think Margaret answered this beautifully so I will point you to her response.

Q. What are you favorite books, movies, or music you’re into right now?

A. Right now, I am listening to a lot of LCD Soundsystem, Bob Dylan, and WQXR out of New York City.

Sarai Raven Huber

Sarai Raven Huber

Q. Do you have any art events or exhibitions you’re really excited about this year?

A. This one! I love Margaret and Ruth’s work but I never actually looked at all of our work together at the same time with pieces next to each other. It sort of shocked me how wonderfully it all fits together, the lines, curves, and colors from each of our pieces. I am excited to see it all together in one place on a grander scale. When I was in New York City back in March I went to the Frida Kahlo exhibit “Appearances Can Be Deceiving,” at the Brooklyn Museum. It was amazing! The exhibit focused on her personal effects and clothing. The colors and fabrics were so bright and beautiful. You could see stitches, paint stains, and cigarette burns on some of her dresses. Even my two year old was mesmerized by the colors, he kept pointing to different dresses and saying “more, more.”

Sarai Raven Huber

Sarai Raven Huber

Q. Is there anything I haven’t asked that you would like readers to know about?

A. I am a bird fanatic. The kind that travels far distances to find just one bird. For the past six years I've also been skinning and preparing bird specimens for a museum. The opportunity to do this came to me at just the right time and it has become incredibly meaningful. It's such an honor, every bird I hold in my hands – each one is profound and special in its own way.

Follow her on Instagram @sarairaven


Visit her website at: https://sarairavenhuber.weebly.com/

Artist Profile: Margaret Kinkeade by Helen Grant

This May we have a group show featuring three synergistic artists: Sarai Raven Huber, Margaret Kinkeade, and Ruth Loveland. The show is called “Rock, Paper, Scissors” and opens May 10th during 2nd Friday Art Walk. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at 325 E. Main St. and is open to the public. To give each artist the opportunity to talk about their work and the show, we have decided to break their profiles into three parts.

-Helen Grant


Margaret Kinkeade

Margaret Kinkeade


Artist Statement: My work focuses on the domestic object as souvenir, the collection as identity and community connection through shared work. My research often focuses on American folk art and traditional craft especially those objects and methods historically utilized by women.


Q&A

Q. What is your background?

A. I grew up outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma and graduated with my BFA in Printmaking in 2010 from the University of Oklahoma. I then switched my material from paper to clay and completed my MFA at Penn State in 2014. I relocated to Kansas City, Missouri in 2014 and have spent the past 5 years teaching ceramics and maintaining an active practice from my home studio.


Q. Where do you draw inspiration from?

A. I'm interested in shared work, trans-generational knowledge, and domestic crafts especially those objects and tools relating, historically, to the woman's experience. My patterns enter into conversation with the American quilt tradition and speak of the passing of time, expressions of love through work, and the strength of connection when disparate materials/ideas/people are joined together.

Margaret Kinkeade

Margaret Kinkeade

Q. What are you working on right now that excites you?

A. Lately, my studio practice has fractured into three sections: functional work, tile work and plate installations with the latter not seeing as much "work table" time. Now that the semester has ended, I am looking forward to returning to several large plate installations that have been placed on the back burner for the last few months. I am also excited to play in the studio this summer, working to develop new forms and exploring alternate ways of translating marks onto clay.

Margaret Kinkeade

Margaret Kinkeade

Q. What is your show at Resonator about?

A. Our show, Rock, Paper, Scissors, includes three artists who each work meditatively and intuitively as they explore the formal relationships of line, pattern, and texture within their work. Each artist, working with a limited palette, has created wall works that call for the viewer to engage, reflect and consider how these formal elements coalesce binding the makers to their work and to each other. The exhibition title references our chosen materials/tools, which are quite domestic and ubiquitous, and brings to mind a sense of child-like play which we all try to embrace throughout the making process.

Margaret Kinkeade

Margaret Kinkeade

Q. What are you favorite books, movies, or music you’re into right now?

A. As a seasonal creature, Yo La Tengo's been playing a lot in the studio lately. Their music is the perfect springtime soundtrack for car trips, walks, and necessary podcast breaks.


Q. Do you have any art events or exhibitions you’re really excited about this year?

A. The plate installations I'm working on this summer will get a little wall time in Concord, Massachusetts at the Lacoste-Keane Gallery this August. My studio space is a converted sleeping porch which while it has lots of wonderful sunshine leaves much to be desired when it comes to space; so, when I'm working on a 50+ plate installation I often don't see it come together until the gallery-goers "install it through use" on the opening night. My heart is always filled when people hold and use my work, especially in the context of the gallery space, and I'm excited to see another quilt arrangement come together.

Margaret Kinkeade

Margaret Kinkeade

Q. Is there anything I haven’t asked that you would like readers to know about?

A. I don't think so! I'm really excited to be back in Norman, showing with two amazing mothers whose work I admire, and am honored to be welcomed into a space that has been nurtured by Curtis Jones. Curtis was not only my advisor but also my ally and friend during my time in the OU printmaking program.

Detail shot. Margaret Kinkeade.

Detail shot. Margaret Kinkeade.

Follow her on Instagram @ohmargie

Visit her website at: margaretkinkeade.com

Artist Profile: Melissa Jacobs by Helen Grant

Pictured left to right: Curtis Jones, Melissa Jacobs and Daniel Helm. Photo by Tammy Gordon Jones.

Pictured left to right: Curtis Jones, Melissa Jacobs and Daniel Helm. Photo by Tammy Gordon Jones.

Resonator’s featured artist is Melissa Jacobs. Her OU MFA Thesis Exhibition “Sentimental Lady” included a giant temporary mural, amazing new paintings, fantastic products, musical performances, fun coloring projects for kids and adults, a heartwarming picture book, and karaoke into the night.

Melissa Jacobs and friends. Photo by Diane Bergeron.

Melissa Jacobs and friends. Photo by Diane Bergeron.


Lauren Panichelli. Photo by Tammy Gordon Jones.

Lauren Panichelli. Photo by Tammy Gordon Jones.

Below is a transcript with between Lauren Panichelli, interviewer, and Melissa Jacobs. This is the same interview you can read in her “Sentimental Lady” picture book.

Photo by Tammy Gordon Jones.

Photo by Tammy Gordon Jones.


Republished with permission from the artist.

To start off, can you talk about switching from print making over to painting? How has your process been effected between working with a collaborative group (Cheap Rent) to moving into a studio practice?

I wouldn’t say that I switched from printing to painting, although I have always been interested in image/object making that is reproducible. Photocopying and reorganizing my original drawings or paintings has been the foundation of my working process ever since I started. I enjoy thinking about and utilizing templates. I am obsessed with the way images can change. That they can be copied and then manipulated to become other sizes and other forms or images is something that never gets old or uninteresting to me. I identify with printmaking because of this and because I feel the essence of printmaking is based in accessibility, reproduction, and exchange. I try to paint like a print maker.

Working collaboratively can be difficult for me because I like building and creating images myself. That being said, I like to think that a lot of what I do is collaborative in that it is communal or intends to promote community. Cheap Rent was a great way for me to learn about what I can bring to the table and what I can’t or don’t want to do.

In the same vein, (and this is probably so annoying) you have a different way of selling your work now than you did with Cheap Rent. You have said in the past that you rely on selling work at your shows, through your Instagram, or via messages. Do these methods of intimate exchange reflect your practice in painting? How does this method of selling paintings relate to your previous methods of selling prints?

Yeah, Cheap Rent had some of our own shows but our shirts were mostly sold in stores or online. Selling shirts can work that way. Outside of selling shirts, there have only been a handful of times that I have sold work through other people, like at a gallery or exhibition where I wasn’t there. It’s special and important to me to have some sort of relationship or exchange with the people who are interested in what I do. I really enjoy the interactions I get to have with people who like my work enough to want to own something or give something I made to someone they care about. It sounds silly and makes me feel gross to say, but even on the Internet I feel like I am legitimately connecting with people when I am selling them stuff. One difficult thing about being in art school or trying to fit into other organized art systems is that it feels detached or lacking in regards to this type intimacy and personal interaction. It seems like all of the focus is on the art object itself, not necessarily what the object can do. It is hard for me to make objects that don’t seem to move, to have a destination, or that aren’t designed to have a sentimental function beyond aesthetics or concept.

That is why the structure of an event is so important to me. The event is a medium I utilize. Events can be safe spaces for others to come together and, ideally, events can encourage others to develop relationships based in creativity. At an art event or show of mine, I have the opportunity to meet and communicate with the people looking at or walking away with one of my pieces. That’s fun and meaningful to me in a way that has pretty much always defined my reasons for making things.

Your work operates in a variety of mediums that engage a person so that they cannot be just a passive viewer. Can you talk a little bit about the way that your paintings, portraits, activity books, games, and installations relate to each other? Are they coworkers? Do they get along with one another? Do you see them as being personified in different ways, or are they created in a more linear process?

In my mind all of the mediums or objects work together. They at least do not oppose or compete with one another. I am pretty project oriented and prefer to organize my time and to labor in a way that is centered around a collection, series, event, or concept. The objects that come out of that typically depend on my comfort levels, skills, and available resources. Often times I make what I can according to what I have access to, whether that is an event space or physical materials. I also chose this because it keeps my objects accessible to other people financially and emotionally.

Can you talk about the ways that you decide on making patterns for your portraits? You have said in the past that some are directly reflective of home environments from your portrait subjects, but I really love the emergence of plant life in your work. In some ways it reminds me of Henri Rousseau's jungles. What are your thoughts about putting women amidst plant life? These relationships never read as necessarily domestic to me, but as more of a companionship or a cohabitation. Maybe in living space, and maybe more philosophically.

Patterns always suggest home environments to me but they also signal towards basic concepts of memory, history, style, and identity. I choose patterns by thinking about those ideas and by thinking about what types of people exist in the world and how the things we surround ourselves with change what type of person we seem to be.

I was looking through one of my oldest sketchbooks, and I found all of these drawings of flowers. Lots of morning glories and snapdragons. When I was making these, it was a time when I didn’t use my car, and I was constantly walking around looking at and admiring flowers, trying to learn all of them, each of their names, when they bloomed, and where they came from. I think you're right that the plant life in my work isn’t only a reference to domesticity, although that is in there, but also comes from acknowledging everyone’s basic interest in living on the planet and being alive. We are dependent on and love plant life. Beyond that it is fascinating to think about the same several flowers every grandmother has in her garden and the few specific types of house plants that every young adult gets for their apartment. Those are the ones that are my favorite to recreate because they are the most popular and commercially available ones, and I like to think about why that is. Also, people taking selfies in their gardens or with their plant “babies” is very integrated into what I see popping up on social media and in Internet trends. It seems hard to avoid in the current visual landscape so I want to include that in my work.

With backgrounds in philosophy, feminism, punk, community, motherhood, and domesticity, how do you feel the combination of these backgrounds blur together? I never want to ask the questions that are like “how are you an artist and a mother” because that seems to encourage black and white thinking. More so, when you are making work that relates directly to your life or your community, how do you choose which components propel you forward?

I want to choose to do things that allow me to incorporate all of those important aspects of my life, those backgrounds. I feel like it has been pretty natural for me to figure out ways to do that so far. That’s the goal of what I want to continue to be figuring out in my life and in my work...how to do things on my own terms. For me, getting to do things on my own terms would mean being able to live a creative life where I can participate in and intertwine those backgrounds.

Can you talk about the women you choose for your work, and how you decide to use them in your paintings? Your work is often informed by exhaustive personal research, archival tendencies, and community relationships to pop culture. Do you have a particular thinking process as you bring these women into installations, or do they manifest organically?

I made an unconscious decision a long time ago to primarily draw and paint women. This came out of my tendency towards repetition, template building, and my desire to explore feminist issues. What I have started to realize is that one of my most favorite things about the women in my work is simply the predictability of the woman as the central figure. This may seem pretty rigid and constricting, but it actually allows the women to be anything they need to be and allows me to explore whatever I want. This is especially important to me because I believe that there is no one way to be a woman and because our understanding of the concept “woman” should be flexible. It’s a very adaptable system, and I love how people seem to connect with or project themselves onto the women I make.

I’m super into thinking about history and time and researching, like you said. It’s hard to know which elements of the research need to be included when making an object or a portrait. I do that somewhat instinctively and based on my own perceptions of what is interesting to look at or who I want these women be. I’m often playing with humor and cheekiness when I approach making things. I get really excited to rework overlooked but easily available cultural materials like popular song lyrics, historical imagery, or stock photos from google image search.

How did the concept for your thesis show Sentimental Lady come to fruition? Could you talk about how you developed the idea for the space, the involvement from the community and the merchandise you plan to display? What kind of environment (real or imaginary) do you envision the relationship between your work evoking? How has your work inspired the title for the show? Is it personal? Is it an accumulation of the work? does it speak to the community?

When I was thinking about putting together this show, my graduate thesis show, it seemed important to focus less specifically on an idea or theme outside of myself. Instead, I wanted to put together an event that more broadly accounted for my personal history as an artist in Oklahoma and to lean into my identity as a working artist in my community.

Making the type of objects I do, accessible objects, and sharing these through the utilization of alternative art spaces or economic platforms is often how artists make a living in 2019. This is a very common and realistic path available for working artists. It is one that I not only see as valid, but also one that is often disregarded and overlooked as culturally unimportant. In my mind this is because of some outdated, classist, and hyper-masculine standards for measuring and interpreting the value of art works. For me, working from home, creating my own art events, taking over spaces, and using the Internet to sell my work have all been necessary and satisfying approaches to being a creative person in the world. With this show I wanted to emphasize these approaches as a way to highlight them as necessary and viable options. I wanted the environment to feel like a store/art space.

Often in school I was frustrated with feeling like I had to defend the idea that distributing zines, making tee shirts, or painting a mural constitute art making. Many of my choices for this show come from feeling defensive about this, trying to have fun with that, and also out of realizing that I want my work to first and foremost have a space in people’s lives sentimentally.

My first art shows came about because I wanted to participate in events that promoted visual arts in my small community. Many of my friends have been in bands and their music shows were times when people could come together. It was fun but also stimulating, and I wanted an arts version of that for myself. I’ve been working on maintaining that for quite a while, and the relationships I have built with others through this inspired the title.

Photo by Tammy Gordon Jones.

Photo by Tammy Gordon Jones.

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Art Walk Poster.

Find her on Instagram @pityparty

Her show runs April 12-April 20.

Resonator Anti-Racism Statement by Helen Grant

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In light of the recent occurrences of extremist vandalism at the Firehouse Art Center, McKinley Elementary, and the Democratic Party Headquarters, Resonator would like to reiterate our commitment to serving and supporting marginalized communities in the Central Oklahoma region.

The disturbing incidents in Norman came on the heels of a hate-fueled sticker campaign in OKC’s Deep Deuce (a historically African American neighborhood) and other places throughout the metro, as well as incidents of similarly abhorrent graffiti at the Democratic Party State Headquarters and Chickasaw Nation offices in OKC.

As our community comes to terms with these unacceptable events, we feel it is incumbent upon everyone to stand up against racism and take actions to address it in a meaningful and sustained way. The targets of these senseless acts are our neighbors, collaborators, family, and friends. They deserve our solidarity and support. We simply cannot allow the escalation of hate crimes across America to go unaddressed.

In accordance, Resonator resolves to:

• Develop and implement policies promoting diversity and sensitivity toward marginalized communities.

• Provide a platform where artists, musicians, film makers, and others from marginalized communities feel free to show, tell, and/or perform their stories.

• Plan and host an annual inclusion event, featuring guest curators, artists, musicians, and performers from marginalized communities.

• Seek individuals from diverse backgrounds to volunteer, intern, and hold positions on Resonator committees and Boards.

• Continue providing a platform for Resonator contributors who wish to develop and present events that increase awareness about issues such as racism, immigration, and prison reform.

Artist Profile: Kelley Queen and Rachel Stout by Crystal Kunze

“Sonic Bloom,” organized by Spaced Out Norman, will be shown at Resonator on March 8th during the 2nd Friday Art Walk. It will feature some incredibly unique and talented local artists and bands to kick off Spaced Out’s 2019.


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Interviewer: Crystal Kunze
Interviewees: Kelley Queen and Rachel Stout of Spaced Out Norman


Kelley Queen

Q: How did Spaced Out really start and form as a group or operation?

A: It was kind of an evolution. It initially started from an entrepreneurship, like art and business class I took at OU. Jonathon Hils taught it along with a business professor, and I took it with a few friends like Reva and Rebecca were in it. And so doing an art event, it was an art and music event but the art event is really where Spaced Out came from. We had some local artists set up on Campus Corner and then after that class we saw potential in that part of the project. And so me and Reva and Rachel Stout over the summer kept it going and had several of them happen, we’ve had like four of them happen I think since that class. And now we’re just evolving Spaced Out into different kind of art events besides art crawls on campus. 

Q: How would you describe Spaced Out to someone who isn’t a part of the art community and might be interested in attending?

A: What me and Rachel are trying to do with Spaced Out is start a platform for local artists of any medium or background, whatever they’re doing to feel welcome and have a space that’s welcoming for what they’re doing. I remember when I was trying to get out there a few years ago I needed that space too, I needed people to help me get out there and enter shows that didn’t feel like giant obstacles or mountains to climb to be a part of.

Q: Has your personal aesthetic gone into any of the branding or concepts behind Spaced Out?

A: Yes! You know I’m really into aliens, I really injected it into that art and business class, but it was shared amongst others too, and I think now that me and Rachel have really taken this on I think our styles work pretty well, kind of funky and sort of spacey and trippy in itself, so of course I’d like to inject a little bit of it into that, or a lot of it into it.

Q: What can we expect from the Sonic Bloom show on March 8?

A: We’re gonna have a lot of dope local art, a bunch of different mediums it looks like from what we have so far, a lot of dancing, a lot of jams, snacks, good times, and hopefully some really cool exposure for artists people haven’t seen before.

Q: What compelled you or motivated you to put Sonic Bloom together?

A: Just the want to have it in a space, like in a physical building or space. Kind of like us, Resonator is also up and coming, I love what Resonator does and me and Rachel are both connected with it in different ways, like the people that run this place, and so we want to just integrate it and maybe move away from Spaced Out on campus and try to bring it to different venues. We also want to support those venues, kind of like a symbiotic thing.

Q: How would you say it’s different from other shows?

A: Not to say other shows aren’t, but we’re completely open, we’re literally just like, “do you wanna show your art?” “Yes.” It’s really just about bringing people in, like I said anyone from any level or any background, you know whether people know you or not like to seek them out and put them out there.

Q: What would you like Spaced Out to focus on moving forward? Are you planning any other exhibitions?

A: We are definitely wanting to do more things, we haven’t set anything in stone but this is definitely not gonna be the last thing. We talked about getting more involved with or partnering with other charities or a women’s resource center show or just things to help benefit the community more, that’s where our hearts are at too.

Q: Your artwork is incredibly unique and I can always pick it out from others, what inspired you personally to create your work in the way you do?

A: I don’t know, just kind of like a medley of stuff. I can kind of think back to when I was 15 when all of the space grunge stuff was really happening it seemed like and just the cutesy, creepy kind of Japanese aesthetic, like all the eyeballs and the combo of cute crochet flowers and creepy eyeballs, like that juxtaposition has always been a thing I really enjoyed. And different crochet artists like Olek (Agata Oleksiak) or Kelly Limerick really inspired me and I just kinda want it to be like a funky mix. 


Rachel Stout

Q: I read that you’re an apprentice tattooer at Hall of Tattoos and from what I’ve seen your style is really graphic and seems to translate really well across different mediums. Is there anything you’d like to share about your creative process or any advice for newer artists?

A: Well, for me it wasn’t necessarily too long ago that I was pretty much kind of like a hermit artist, I just made a lot of stuff and spent a lot of time creating art but didn’t have the confidence to really put myself out there. I just didn’t know if I had what it takes and then I had a really good friend of mine who invited me to go table at Art Walk and honestly just from that one night I was inspired to do more and more because I realized this is how you’re going to progress, this is how you’re going to learn is by getting exposure by putting yourself in a position where you are around other artists, other like-minded individuals who are going to support you in what you do, but then also kind of taking feedback from the public.

Now at the end of the day it’s very important to stay true to your art and everything and to create for you and to create what, you know, you’re inspired to create but I think that going out there and kind of taking these opportunities that maybe you don’t feel ready for is what’s going to prepare you for those opportunities in the future.

For me, my process has always been I’m kind of the type of person who has the tendency to go out there and try to tackle something even if it does cause anxiety, even if it does put me in a position where occasionally it seems too hard or too big for me to actually do and, especially in the tattoo field, learning how to tattoo has been extremely emotional, extremely challenging, and you know I wouldn’t tell anyone who wants to go into it that it’s easy. It’s extremely emotionally trivial especially being a female tattooist in an extremely male dominated industry, but as far as my art goes it’s a very free world for me and I want every artist, every young artist, to know their value with what they create and I know that you create for you but the world wants to see what you create. I thoroughly believe that a lot of art is meant to be seen and it’s all up to the individual on when they’re ready and what they show, but I think that if you’re a creative it’s definitely a gift to the world to share what it is you do, what you create.

That’s kind of what Spaced Out is for, it’s to give these artists an opportunity, a platform that’s very, very accepting of whatever it is you do to be able to have a chance to show their art and maybe have that boost that I had with the 2nd Friday Art Walk to start aiming higher, doing more things, getting involved with their local art community or maybe even just supporting other artists the way they’ve been supported.

Q: So would you say your personal experiences as an artist have influenced how you kind of run or organize how Spaced Out operates?

A: Oh definitely because, you know, for me and, I don’t want to speak for Kelley, but I feel like in a lot of ways finding art opportunities is kind of a challenge and especially when you look at an application they’re looking for an artist bio, statement, your resume, that’s extremely intimidating to a new artist and at times I look at it and wonder where the opportunity is so they can have stuff on their resume. For me that’s what I ran into, I’d find opportunities that were very accommodating to emerging artists but then I also realized that was harder to do than finding shows that were for more established artists. So Spaced Out is kind of to fill in just a little bit of that whole so that artists can find that opportunity and they don’t have to be nearly as intimidated by the application, by not being accepted into the show, knowing that they will pretty much be guaranteed an opportunity to showcase their work in not only an accepting environment but we hope is also a fun environment.

Q: Do you have plans to potentially expand Spaced Out to help other artists in building their resume or are you wanting to maybe stick to the exhibition side and provide more opportunities?

A: As of right now we’re sticking on the exhibition side, I would love to as even I gain experience begin to help artists more and more with that end because this is all a learning experience for Kelley and I too so learning how to kind of curate and put together exhibitions and work with other artists as the people putting their art on display that’s kind of flipping the script a little bit for us so right now just putting together the exhibitions and doing that is probably what we’re going to stick with for awhile and definitely in the future I could see that become something that we’re far more qualified to help artists with. 

Q: Kelley told me that this all started from an art and business class taken at OU, how was that experience for you personally?

A: Well, I wasn’t a part of the class, I’m not a student, so I was invited by Kelley and her classmates to set up for that first show and I don’t remember quite how it began but I know that at one point it came up that we’d want to continue this and want to try and continue to expand this and I wanted to help and over time became more committed to the project and now that Reva, who was a part of establishing this as well, is no longer here it’s just Kelley and I and having that third party helped quite a bit and I definitely am very excited to be a part of the project, especially since I wasn’t a student at OU.

Q: Do you feel like your personal aesthetic has kind of helped and are integrated with the branding and concepts behind Spaced Out? Kelley mentioned your styles seem to compliment/work well with each other, do you think that complimentary nature also helped contribute to the success of Spaced Out?

A: I think Kelley and I’s art are very different, I use lots of black and white and she does a lot of color, her work is very three-dimensional and mine is strictly two-dimensional artwork and I do think in a lot of ways just because our mindsets on how we create are different they compliment each other and whenever we’re working together or put a show like Sonic Bloom together our ideas have kind of come together to help with the actual arrangement of this. But as far as how it’s helped Spaced Out grow I’d say it’s probably just no more than any two other individuals who are committed to a project or know what they’re doing and can share similar values on art and artists and the art world in general.

Q: What was the process behind developing Sonic Bloom?

A: Whenever we were doing shows on Campus Corner we knew that we weren’t going to want to try to continue those in the winter as it got colder and everything and we decided we maybe wanted to shift our gears a little bit with how we’re operating and we decided that we wanted to not just be completely silent all winter so instead of having a bunch of little events we decided to have one big event. We have support from Resonator, Kelley and I have been involved with Resonator in the past so they’ve provided the venue and we’re just putting it together and I think that because we had experimented with the Campus Corner shows and everything it helped us learn more about how we want to operate as a group.


Artist Profile: Vilnis Putrams by Crystal Kunze

Inside “Grey Shades of Eastern European Identity”

Inside “Grey Shades of Eastern European Identity”


Interviewer: Crystal Kunze
Interviewee: Vilnis Putrams

Artist Bio

I started in a Latvian art academy but it was a long time ago in the 80s or something like that. I was taught orally in the graphic design department but I never worked really in graphic design but I started mainly in Latvia and in Germany and Norway and some other countries like Lithuania and Estonia. It’s not easy to survive as an artist, even in the USA and Eastern Europe and I’m working also not only as an artist but as an event designer and exhibition designer and sometimes I work as an assistant for a quite well known European artist. I made an exhibition for Robert Morris, I built a few pieces from the concept of his exhibition where they had to be made where it was shown and then afterwards it had to be destroyed. It was pretty big in the museum Abteiberg in Germany. It’s a small contemporary art museum but it has a good collection of contemporary and pop art like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, there are a lot of good German artists as well. I’ve been working as a freelance artist and decorator for almost 15 years and sometimes just as an exhibition designer or architect, maybe in Lithuania or a neighboring country. That was how we met Curtis and Tammy because in 2016 there was a big exhibition from an American graphic arts exhibition and I was the exhibition designer and then we met and that’s how we got connected to Norman and everything. I’m also making bigger installations and years ago I made graphic art and painted a lot but meanwhile it’s mainly murals or some bigger installations.


Artist Statement

This is my first time in the USA and I don’t think the people know anything about Eastern Europe, or maybe nothing, probably some fake research about the Eastern European mentality. Here we have some graphic works which are dedicated to Latvian history. They were made for another exhibition which took part in White Russia, Belarus, which is ruled by some authoritarian systems and I thought “oh I have to do something political here.” There are 3 works in the exhibition for 100 years of Latvia. There are 3 different historical moments put in the form of collage put on the paper and one tells the story about a Latvian artist who wrote a graduation letter to Hitler during World War II, another one is from 1949, his brother also a well-known Latvian artist wrote a graduation letter to Stalin and the work’s title may have been 1986, it’s about a Latvian artist who wrote some information to the Soviet National Security organization KGB about the performance of artists and something to do with how the artists are trying to survive and how they’re always looking for an opportunity to survive which compromises what they’re making because Eastern European history was pretty wild. The history between Russia and Germany can cause some problems in Latvia. But it’s something to do with the mood associated with the history.

It’s crazy because we flew in a few days ago and landed in Dallas and it was pretty warm and then we came in here to Norman and it’s pretty similar weather, the same shades of gray. Somehow it’s quite easy to work here. For me, it’s a big surprise, almost everything is quite similar but different in the same way. You can’t walk really which is also surprising, in my homeland you can reach everything by bicycle or by foot. The people here are pretty friendly though. Even if I don’t speak English so well I haven’t had any problems communicating.


Q&A

Q: Do you consider your work to be art, design, or a blending of both perhaps?

A: It’s art in this case. I used to study in graphic design, I have graphic design skills. It’s not so far away but this is an art installation and has more to do with myself or my feelings. The history of my country is maybe too loud to say but it’s more my mentality. There are several pieces of video work and I have some small tiles, maybe 24 pieces, and it was printed with really bright color and plant motifs, really exotic ones. I found them in my flat that I rented and I thought it’s too good to throw away. I didn’t know exactly what to do with it though. A few months ago somehow it came to my hands and I thought “well, these are good things I could maybe use for my artwork.” The first reaction was really strange. I had this feeling I wanted to paint it somehow, maybe so it’s not so bright so I felt a little more comfortable. Then I started to think about why it’s like that, maybe it’s Eastern European or Northeastern European. The mural on the other wall is a test picture from the tv stream from my Soviet childhood. It only showed for 6 or 7 hours a day and the rest of the time the screen was there and it was also in black and white. Autumn and early Winter is pretty gray, there are different gray shades or tones that you can maybe compare with American Inuits. I think it’s something to do with that, of course there are also some other problems, economical and relations play quite a big role to move the mood in that direction. It’s something like that.

Q: How would you describe what you do to someone who’s never heard of or really considered exhibition design as an artform and its importance to an exhibition and space?

A: I’ll build illusions and build some stories or something like that but they’re quite connected with me and my own experience and history from my parents or country or universe; but I have fun, it’s important. It’s not always fun but I at least have to have the feeling that it’s interesting for me and meanwhile I don’t care if someone wants to buy it, it’s of course wonderful but I don’t care about that part of it. Sometimes I’m selling works but I couldn’t really live form it, you have to constantly produce and they have to be in a certain way and I would like to just have this freedom.

Q: What kind of artwork are you into?

A: I like installations at the moment because I like to play with the space and I also need some kind of a narrative from literary stuff because then it makes it more and more interesting, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like abstract art of other things, there are also good videos around. At the moment it’s mainly things that have to do with the space.

Q: What are your favorite places around the world to visit or work in?

A: I used to work quite a lot in Germany and I have some kind of nostalgia around Italy and Mediterranean countries, or France and Spain and Portugal. But in Europe it’s easy to travel and work, it doesn’t matter which country you like. If someone needs you or wants you you can easily move them. I like it a lot because I grew up with the Berlin Wall and in my childhood it was impossible to move out of the Soviet Union. I have friends in a lot of countries. Actually a funny experience I had on the way to Norman is we moved through Iceland. We stayed maybe one day and it was pretty impressive. I’ve never been so far in the north it was the complete opposite of Latvia, it was really impressive. And then we moved to Detroit and from Detroit to Dallas so in a few days it was pretty crazy. In Iceland it was pretty heavily in Winter, but wonderful landscapes. Norman surprised me because the streets look absolutely empty.

I used to watch a lot of American movies and I have this feeling that I’m in some kind of Hollywood movie. There are a lot of empty streets, but then you’re moving and the restaurants have people but it’s been fun here and it was also a strange experience in Dallas. We thought “okay we have to get from Dallas to Norman somehow, let’s take the train” but it goes so slowly. There’s a bus, let’s take a bus and I ordered the tickets online and I didn’t know the thing about Greyhound buses and when we moved to the bus station in Dallas, it was a big surprise where you get the complete opposite social view of this rich country and it was mainly quite poor people. Afterwards Curtis told us in America the buses don’t get used a lot it’s completely different in Europe.

Q: Do you have any influential people in your life or someone you’ve learned of throughout your life who may have influenced your work? Are there any events that occurred in your life that may have influenced your aesthetic or style?

A: My bigger brother is an artist too and he’s 8 years older than me, he maybe influenced me most, he’s well known in Latvia. There are certain artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol and then it moves to German artists and at the moment I think there are some, I worked with a lot of exhibitions where there are some Venetian artists. At the museum where I’m working is near Dusseldorf and there are really good contemporary art museums that have different kinds of exhibition halls and you always get really good art and the possibility to see it. I think America is similar whether you’re living in New York or Los Angeles but at the moment I don’t think I have one particular inspiring artist, it’s also not so easy to find some artists, but it can definitely change.

Q: Is there an element of the artistic process or medium that you identify with most?

A: I’m trying to mix mediums because there are also projections and a small video in the exhibition. I think medium isn’t as important because the message or idea behind it is more important to me because you can play of course with medium and make wonderful things and can find them as well but in my case I prefer the message over the particular medium.

Q: What was your process concerning this particular exhibition? Do you normally approach it in a  similar manner? Do you have a favorite part when getting a show together?

A: I partially like to go with the flow but in this case I checked out all of my photos, I’m always taking photos because I travel a lot and then I do research on the internet and read books about history and I’m trying to put this puzzle together and in this case where it was some exhibition in the USA it could be not only for me but also maybe for someone to get a touch of Eastern Europe.

Q: Is there a particular method to your work? How did you discover what worked best for you?

A: The research process is really important, it takes a long time, possibly the most time and the realization that it’s already there but you have a more or less clear picture in your head. Sometimes the material does influence you and then it turns somehow into a different unexpected way. It’s quite clear and I’ll try to make some kind of illusion from this Eastern European landscape or environment but it’s of course not really realistic to think the images or icons will help us to understand those feelings. But yes, research is the most fun part, I like to look for information on the internet and at the library and I’m trying to find these old photos and then the work which is dedicated to Latvian history where I tried to look for the architecture which represents the time like the Nazi architecture from the early 30s, the Soviet’s from the 40s and 50s and the concrete structures and elements of buildings as well from the 80s. They’re in quite bad condition but somehow manage to show the time.

Q: Would you say you feel personally connected to the work, past and present, that you’ve done? Why or why not?

A: I usually have a big project maybe 2 or 3 times a year. It’s not always so easy, but mainly I like the work, there’s the contemporary art museum in Germany and this year I had a good job in Lithuania which will also be more or less fun. Meanwhile I would say about 70-80% of jobs are works in which I’m making projects and I end up quite satisfied. Maybe 20% is a little bit less because sometimes I also work assistant jobs and it isn’t so easy, it depends on the person. I had to sometimes help really well known artists and some of them are very… special. One funny work was more than 10 or 15 years ago, I made some murals with an artist named Richard Wright and his brother helped him and then for two weeks we worked together with 3 people and it was a wonderful room in the museum. We just painted black dots and that was all. It was a complicated picture of dots and it was funny working, we would start in the morning and work for hours just painting black dots alone in the room without talking to music or anything. You get into a kind of meditational feeling or trance and if someone came and asked you would immediately break the trance and make a mistake. Richard Wright a few years later got the Turner Prize in the UK, the highest award you can receive. It wasn’t for that work, but another one.

Artist Profile: Derrick Adams by Helen Grant

Interviewer: Helen Grant
Interviewee: Derrick Adams


Derrick Adams jingles the keys for us as we enter the mysterious shadow realm during Resonator's 2nd Friday Art Walk on August 10th at 325 E. Main St, Norman, OK. Additional details can be found on our event page. What is transcribed below is the "kinda, sorta" nailing down of the "nebulous." Enjoy.

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Jelli


Q/A

Q: What kind of archetypes would you say you're drawn to most or would you say you're inventing your own blends of archetypes as you go? 

A: I think I’m drawn the most towards the shadow archetype. It predates modern psychology, but Carl Jung described it as the hidden, negative aspects of one’s personality beneath the surface. It is the part of ourselves that we reject. I think we all have our own ways of confronting and integrating the shadow into our true self. A unique journey for everyone. I remember at one time including a lot of spiders in my art as a way of curving my arachnophobia. It’s a work in progress. I think primarily what interests me the most when mentioning archetypes is that while the narratives may change from culture to culture, there are some big ones that are undeniably said to be etched right there in our DNA. This gives one hope in the overlaps between our hidden worlds, I think.

Q: Archetypes usually hint at the presence of a narrative. In visual art where an audience comes to a show with little to no context for what they are viewing, and perhaps may not have a lot of art education in their background, are you hoping they pick up on a lexicon of motifs within each work? Or feel a distinct mood with each character? 

A: What usually ends up being the case is that I lean towards the latter. I appreciate the interpretations that viewers bring to the table, often pointing out things I didn’t realize I was doing. If there is a deep catalog of meanings behind my work, I feel I mostly understand them through these interpretations. This may go back to my process of stream-of-consciousness drawing. I’m not saying there isn’t deep meaning behind what I draw, but I find my work just isn’t justified when starting with deep concepts consciously present.

Q: For those people who don't need a lot of context to slip into another's daydream, can you talk a little bit about the process of creating those lovely, lovely lines? Is it intuitive or do you find yourself editing as you go? 

A: The way I do my linework now is the result of my evolution as an artist. I’ve wanted to maintain the intuitive method I developed when I taught myself to draw, originally. However, I wanted to attempt to placate the ego I saw in my method by trying to find ways to remove the “artist’s hand” in the work. Not completely, of course. I like the way the varying line thickness and hatching, cross-hatching creates an effect that isn't trying too hard to not be “flat”.

Q: Random: do you have a favorite nebula? 

A: Yes, there’s one that looks like we are being flipped off by a cosmic giant. We nicknamed it God’s Birdie.

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 "God's Birdie"

Q: I like the idea of "keyhole" as "lens." There's an element that references "Alice in Wonderland"/"Secret Garden"/ "Étant donnés" in the word association for me.  Are there artists (visual, film, music, writers, etc.) who triangulate their esoteric explorations in ways that you enjoy and find insightful? 

A: I’m currently gravitating towards the book "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. There’s also a Netflix adaptation that will really hit you in the feels. The main character crashes his plane in the middle of the Sahara Desert where he meets the young prince, who is a traveler of the stars. While stranded, he recounts his travels from his home asteroid to Earth, and his meeting with different characters - one of which is a snake that claimed to give him the power to return home. It’s a classic.

Q: For the people who surf interviews hoping to find recommendations on things they've been searching for but didn't know what to call it, or that it was even missing in their lives: what have you been listening to, reading, and/or watching right now?

A: I have a tendency to fixate on an album that I like, refusing to move on. While working on this show I listened to a lot of Toro Y Moi’s latest album, "Boo Boo". If you aren’t familiar with him and enjoy Chillwave stuff that picks up and gets funky, I highly recommend it. I’ve about ran it into the ground at this point. I did the same with Sweet Valley’s "Eternal Champ".

Q: If you could name a nebula, knowing that's what everyone has to call it forever and ever because it's on NASA maps, in college textbooks, mentioned in random books about space that you pick up at Barnes and Noble in the generic, bargain book section, and can never officially be changed to something super science-y, so anyone who disapproves will always be sour about it, what would you name it and what does it look like? 

A: It’s hard to top what nature (and our particular location) has given us with God’s Birdie. I’m picturing several yellow gaseous clouds, all resembling lemons. There’s a lot of potential, there. We could call it the Lemon Party Cluster.


                                                                                            

                                                                                            

Liquid


Artist Statement:

My work for "Keyhole Nebula" explores the esoteric via the subjective lens of self, with a hint of heretical humor. Otherworldly characters represent various archetypes in geometric and cosmic settings, playing with scale and dimension. My goal as an artist is embracing change and ultimately arriving at some sort of truth, subjective or otherwise. I try to work in a stream-of-consciousness mode when creating the sketch, in order to coerce the hidden to reveal itself. 

Artist Bio:

Derrick Adams crafts illustrations that draw from the surreal and the mystical. The Norman-based artist uses ink and acrylic to create his otherworldly characters. Since starting art from an early age, his work draws heavy inspiration from 90's cartoonists and comic book artists. From learning to draw while watching shows like Rocko's Modern Life, his work has evolved alongside popular culture. Derrick works as a screen printer and graphic designer at Bigfoot Creative. He received his Bachelor's of Fine Art with an emphasis in printmaking and drawing from The University of Oklahoma. He also enjoys making street art paste-ups of his characters in his free time.



                                                                                           

                                                                                           

Spring

Artist Profile: Lisette Chavez by Helen Grant

Writer: Helen Grant

San Antonio print artist Lisette Chavez makes her Oklahoma debut with a presentation of "Cafeteria Catholic", a printmaking-based installation exploring her relationship to the religion she grew up with and has wrestled with her entire life. 
 

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Artist Show Statement:

"A Cafeteria Catholic is an individual who selects which faith or moral teachings best suit their lifestyle at a given time……

I don’t always believe in God, I forever question my faith. Rather than leaving religion altogether, I pick and choose Catholic teachings that interest me and suit my lifestyle.  In my youth I was taught to suppress my ideas, not to draw attention to myself, not to date boys and never told about “the birds and the bees.” Because of my strict Catholic upbringing, accepting my thoughts and being myself is a constant battle. 

Within this body of work, I simulate the memory of my mother hiding my artwork with bath towels.  When confronted, she explained that she did not want to see the drawings because they scared her. The white fabric is symbolic of purity, and acts as a veil to hide shameful thoughts from the judgment of others. Hand-drawn images imply the struggle between good and evil. It is an attempt to leave the suppression of living in a conservative Catholic family and expose imperfection and impure thoughts."


Artist Question and Answers:


Q. I'm intrigued by the story of your mother hiding your art work. Were you living at home or did she do this when visiting you in your own home, and has she had a chance to view "Cafeteria Catholic" for herself and what does she think of it if she has seen it? 

A. She’s done this twice. The first time I was in graduate school and my mother came to visit me for a few days. I walked through the front door and saw that my hot pink bath towels were draped over my artwork hung throughout MY apartment. My initial reaction was to get upset and yell. After the shock wore off I laughed hysterically and wasn’t really surprised. 

I don’t know how to use a sewing machine so sometimes I ask my mother to help me with projects. For this particular installation she helped me sew the veils. The first time she helped me make them she asked what I was going to do with the veils. I told her I was going to use them to hide some of my drawings. She asked why and I told her, “It reminds me of the time that you covered my artwork because you thought it was ugly.” To which she replied, “ I didn’t cover it because I thought it was ugly, I covered it because it scared me.” In a way it was sort of sweet that we came to an understanding of one another’s perspectives. 

My family doesn’t attend my art exhibits. They’ve never felt comfortable in that type of setting so I stopped asking a long time ago. 

Q. What teachings have you embraced in your quest to be yourself? And does sharing this show feel like making a confession? 

A. I lied at my first confession when I was 8 years old. I often carry a lot of guilt because of that memory so I try to be as truthful as possible. It’s sad to think that at that age I was already concerned with being judged by others. 

I think about religion and how it forces people to carry “fronts” that can be damaging to one’s self. In most of my bodies of work I am revealing truths so yes, this work is a confession. The veils help hide drawings that make me uneasy to share with others. They’re interactive and seductive. You can see the drawings slightly through the veils but if you want to see more you have to participate. 

Q. Do the hand-drawn images wrestle with the idea of Original Sin? The examples of "Cafeteria Catholic " on your website made me curious as there's a baby with small horns and then a Jesus figure looking extra perforated and thus pained. It's where my mind went first, but if I'm totally off, what Catholic-influenced Good vs Evil struggles do they represent? 

A. The Devil baby is a reoccurring theme in my work, sort of a self-portrait. I was always in trouble for speaking my mind. When living in a religious home, ideas and actions are non-negotiable. It’s black or white, you’re right or wrong. 

Q: Do you see people hesitate to lift the veils as if they're doing something they're not sure they should be doing or not? 

A: Some are more inclined to ask for forgiveness than for permission, those lift the veil. Others look around and ask for permission first. 

Q: What kinds of books, music, art/artist, or future art events are you excited about lately and why? 

A: Right now I’m reading and old favorite, "Rosemary’s Baby." I’m currently listening to a cholo-goth duo named Prayers. I’m excited about the new Kali Uchis’ album. This summer I’ll be included in the Young Latino Artists 23 exhibition. It’s an annual exhibition at the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin, Texas that highlights young Latinx artists. 


The public viewing of "Cafeteria Catholic" at Resonator runs from 8 p.m. - 11 p.m, Friday April 13, 2018. See our Facebook event page for more details.  

Artist Profile: Katelynn Noel Knick by Helen Grant

Writer: Helen Grant
 

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Katelynn Noel Knick will show new work on February 9th from 8-11 p.m. during Norman's 2nd Friday Art Walk.


SHOW STATEMENT

A selection of works that playfully re-evaluate abstract painting through scale and space. Knick’s work is investigating the questions “What if you could step inside of an abstract painting?” and if so, “what would it be like?” 


Q/A WITH THE ARTIST

Q. I read that your childhood home was always in a state of flux, that your dad rearranged the home to better suit your family as dynamics changed, and that this sort of adaptability inspires you to alter your own home and other spaces you inhabit. How does this relationship with adaptability and change challenge you to create new work? Is it sometimes overwhelming to wipe the slate clean and rearrange, rethink what you’ve been doing? If so, do you have a process for overcoming the inertia that comes from being faced with so many choices and directions you could go with?

A. Overall, what those experiences really taught me was to embrace change and feel empowered to keep evolving. I’m a big dreamer but also a detailed planner. I use my sketchbook to document all the ideas and directions that my work could take, through lists, small thumbnails, image clippings, artist references, material studies, etc. That helps me funnel the energy and inspiration in to one place where I can always go when I want to start something new.

Q. I was taken with your artist notebook when touring through the “You’re in My Bubble: A House Art Exhibition”. In it I remember reading an entry about another artist’s use of “ugly” colors and how they espoused their merit in color choices. Can you elaborate more on that idea and how it influences your own color palette? 

A. I tend to use mostly bright, fun colors. And I like to use a lot of them at once. But I’m always trying to push my painting practice by creating new challenges for myself like learning to enjoy muddy or neutral colors as well. You know that saying “happy wouldn’t be so great if we didn’t experience the sad as well,” it’s like that but with colors. The “ugly” ones make the brighter ones that much brighter. Ashely Piefer is the artist I was referencing in my sketchbook.

Q. I am drawn to your work because it feels and looks a lot more open than most abstract expressionist work I’ve seen lately. Instead of layering up every square inch of canvas there are wide open spaces between the layers of dots, lines, and shapes. As a feeling, or as a representation, what does negative space mean to you? What is your working relationship with negative space? Has it changed over the years for you? How does it translate into your installations? 

A. My relationship with negative space has changed over the years. When I first started painting I wanted to cover the entire surface with color, starting with a background wash and then building layers on top of that. But after a few installations, I realized that the distance between the work was just as important, and when activated you can create a more dynamic space and feeling.  

Q. In your artist notebook there are a lot of inspirational ideas, not just art pieces but philosophical/existential quotes from others, and sketches for installations. Do most installations go as planned? Or are you sometimes surprised with the final result?

A. I love the planning process. Both my dad and grandfather were draftsmen so for me, starting with a pencil and paper and drawing a blueprint style sketch seems to be a natural start. Once I’m in the space working though, I would say the outcome is usually 50% planned and 50% intuitive. One thing I would like to move towards is exhibiting the sketches and plans alongside the finished project.

Q. What inspired you to create this new body of work that will be installed at Resonator for the February 9th 2nd Friday Art Walk?

A. Recently I’ve been inspired to go big with my work. I’ve been creating large paintings that are around 4’ – 5’ each. With this new scale, it allows the viewer to be encompassed by the work and the structure of the work becomes almost like a window or door to another world, creating a new realm.

I have also been doing some smaller studies lately, combining sculptural elements to the surface of the panels to create reliefs. I was inspired to try this technique after a “Not Flat” workshop I attended at Anderson Ranch.

I’m also including a very recent inflatable sculpture, this work is interactive and invites the viewer to step (or crawl, rather) inside of the work. This work was one that I had kept in my sketchbook for a few years but hadn’t created yet. I’m excited for this to be a jumping off point for new painting/sculptural work.
 

Step into another realm.

Step into another realm.


Q. For people who look at abstract expressionism and feel a little lost or intimidated: what is something you would share with them to help them have a better understanding for this art form? 

A. I like to think of it as a form of language. Rather than speaking or using recognizable imagery, think of the colors and marks as a statement or feeling.

Q. What was the last book you read, art related or not, that really stuck with you?

A.
I’ve been reading the revised edition of Art/Work by Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber. That book is what inspired me to have a studio visit recently, where I hosted 10 of my peers and got feedback on my recent work. Following the studio visit, I then invited the public to see my work during my house show. I highly recommended it as a professional reference for artists.

Q. What are you listening to these days? 

A. I’m currently listening to a lot of girl punk bands, such as Bleached, Cherry Glazerr, Frankie Cosmos, and Shannon and the Clams. The loose, intuitive, and honest energies of these artists feel the most comfortable to me and encourages my practice. I also listen to a lot of podcasts while in the studio, like 2 Dope Queens for comedy, Starving Artist and Bad at Sports for art talk, and then Let’s Not Meet for the occasional scary story.

Q. What art exhibitions or opportunities are you looking forward to this year? 

A. I’ll be showing at the Hardesty Arts Center in Tulsa, OK from August – September. I’m hoping to take the inflatable sculpture concept and expand on that. It’s still in the planning stages but it will be one of my biggest, most elaborate projects yet and I’m looking forward to going big.


BIO

Katelynn Noel Knick is an Oklahoma native, creating paintings, sculptures, and installations. She is interested in exploring personal narrative, color, and spatial relations.


Artist Profile: Garrett Young by Helen Grant

Writer: Helen Grant
 

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The closing show for Garrett Young's "Temperance" will be held on February 9 during 2nd Friday Art Walk 8-11 p.m.


ARTIST STATEMENT

The works included in TEMPERANCE reflect a period in the artist's life ripe with self-reflection, patience, discipline, and restraint.  It's representative of a time of growth, a time of letting go of self-destruction and learning to embrace a different path.  For me, instead of the uptight and prudent, "serious" work one might expect, this mindset gave way to an exploration of the weirdest notions of my mind, allowing me to dive into queerness and comedy. This chapter of my life is more about celebration of having lightness in the dark, rather than austerity or restriction.


Q/A WITH THE ARTIST

Q. What inspired you to create your spray paint series on sheets? Is this your first time working on something so large and impressionistic?

A. I've been doing large-scale spray paint portraits since 2010.  I decided to move to working on fabric (from wood, plastic, and other found objects) for the practicality of easy transportation & storage.  As far as inspiration goes, I really just like to explore light and form, and human faces are good for that.

"Snowflake" by Garrett Young

"Snowflake" by Garrett Young

Q. Your comics are surreal. Can you talk a little bit about the Snowflake series?

A. Snowflake was a comic I drew for an anthology called Happiness 3. The plot is about a young couple whose relationship anxieties materialize into a sort of shared hallucinatory experience. In order to fit into the anthology, I was limited to 5 pages, which pushed me to experiment with what I think ended up being some interesting panel layouts. 

Q. Are some of the comic panels one-offs, on single sheets of paper, or are there more stories to come? 

A. Yes, I'm currently drawing a daily comic strip called Rasputin, and a lot of the originals from that are included in the show.  It started as an exercise in writing one-page short stories with 4 panels. There are a couple pages that relate to a larger story, but mostly they're one-offs.  I plan to collect all of them in a book eventually.

Q. What was the last book/comic that made an impression on you?

A. Right now I'm reading Sex Fantasy by Sophia Foster-Dimino from Koyama Press.  Her work has been a favorite of mine for awhile, and I'm definitely inspired by her amazingly clean style and hilariously strange stories.

Q. What music are you listening to these days?

A. Lately I'm switching between really cheesy pop, experimental noise stuff, and black metal. (Favorites include Darkthrone, Burning Witch, Trst, Xiu Xiu, Clio, Anohni, Carly Rae Jepsen, Beyonce, Robyn, and Charli XCX)

Q. What arts shows or opportunities are you looking forward to this year?

A. The Nursery in the Plaza District is having a new media show on February 17th I plan on checking out.  Right now my friend Melissa Gray has work in the Lightwell Gallery in the fine arts building at OU.  Looking forward to the OKC Zine Fest which will probably be sometime in October.  And I still need to check out Factory Obscura!

Q. Is there anything I haven’t asked that you would like to share about your process, upcoming projects, collaborations, or shows? 

A. I've started a monthly subscription zine called Ganymede. It's $3 and I'll send the subscriber a 16-page zine of my art and comics in the mail every month. You can sign up through http://patreon.com/doctopmaru

My friend Pat Larkin is a frequent collaborator of mine. He's made a couple of patches of my work which you can get through http://safekeeping.storenvy.com

A lot of people ask me who my drawings, paintings, etc., are supposed to be, but they all come from my head.  I've done studies in the past based on my face and faces of friends & family, but nowadays when I'm painting or drawing I just sort of make it up.


BIO

Garrett Young is a multimedia artist living and working in Oklahoma City.  He grew up on the south side of OKC, and has also lived in New Orleans, LA, and Asheville, NC.  His work ranges from paintings and comics to experimental performance and puppetry.


Artist Profile: Braden Denton by Helen Grant

Writer: Helen Grant
 

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As one Resonator regular put it: "Art by Braden Denton: Total Mystery. Maybe Alien. Complete Enigma. Friend and Colleague. Not a Vampire."


A quick Q/A with our featured artist for the January Art Walk:

Q. What is your artist statement for this show?
A. I don't really believe in artist statements to be honest. If I could express myself well enough with my words, I wouldn't have to make art. I guess right now my work is about love, growth, & play.

Q. What compelled you to put it together?
A.  Artists are supposed to share their work!

Q. What is something you’d like for audiences to take away from this event and your work?
A. That I love them, hopefully.

Q. What do you want to focus on moving forward?
A. Writing a story.

Q. Do you have links to other works, video, or a website you would like to share?
A. resonatortv.com

Vegan Cooking Class: Overview by Helen Grant

Writer: Helen Grant
 

For those just learning of this new cooking series at Resonator, or for those who haven't made it to a class yet, here are some examples of the lessons and types of dishes prepared during Andrea Duran's first two classes. Andrea currently teaches this series on Monday nights. You can view the event, sign up for a class ($10), and get her contact information through this link.

Recipe used during the first class.

Recipe used during the first class.

Are you just learning the basics? Not sure what you can purchase locally? Here is a list of some other items discussed in these classes.

Are you just learning the basics? Not sure what you can purchase locally? Here is a list of some other items discussed in these classes.

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The next set of photos documents a rare collaborative opportunity students had. Resonator's visiting artist from India, B. Ajay Sharma, teamed up with Andrea to present a distinctly Indian take on vegan meals.

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Below is a sample of these spices put into action!

Ajay makes spinach pakoras after making the class a warm beverage of ginger, honey, and lemon .  

Ajay makes spinach pakoras after making the class a warm beverage of ginger, honey, and lemon .  

Here we see the makings of a vegetable couscous salad.  

Here we see the makings of a vegetable couscous salad.  

Jenna Bryan samples a spinach pakora, later Ajay would treat those students who stayed after class to an eggplant version as well.  

Jenna Bryan samples a spinach pakora, later Ajay would treat those students who stayed after class to an eggplant version as well.  

Spinach pakora with served with a mint-cilantro chutney. 

Spinach pakora with served with a mint-cilantro chutney. 

Students don't just sit and learn at these classes. They are welcome to help in the preparation of various dishes, get a sample something freshly made, or get close for a better view of the process.  

Students don't just sit and learn at these classes. They are welcome to help in the preparation of various dishes, get a sample something freshly made, or get close for a better view of the process.  

Artist Profile: B. Ajay Sharma by Helen Grant

Writer: Helen Grant
 

"The Death (Mistake of the Poet)", Medium –Hand Embroidery, image courtesy of the artist.

"The Death (Mistake of the Poet)", Medium –Hand Embroidery, image courtesy of the artist.

B. Ajay Sharma is Resonator's visiting artist for the month of October.

See our calendar for scheduled events with Ajay.


Q: What's the biggest influence that pushed you to pursue performance art?

A: Well, this is a bit of a complicated question for me, but if I had to explain in few sentences, I would say it was just happened. I was not able to understand what I did in the past that led me to this art form, but then one day while I was doing my daily Yoga practice I could suddenly see my body movement in the context of space and how it comes across as an image. So that's how I realized I had performance abilities. But that is not the end of answer. After some experiences in different situations, I found myself still struggling to find my language in performance. I was looking to alternative performance practices in Europe when I met Roi Vaara and several other members of Black Market.  They helped me to think about performance and myself as analogy and this idea help me evolve my art a lot.


Q: I read that you had a residency at a contemporary art festival in Budapest, Hungary this year. What was the aim of your performance? How did you prepare for it?

A: I had an idea for the performance when I applied to participate, but after going there and looking at the political and social situations I decided to create a performance with several more layers, which I feel made my performance more informed for the audience who would see it: art people and common people who don't have a lot of engagement with performance art. I also wanted to work in a gallery space as well as an outdoor space. And I've always wanted to work with all types of people and collaborate with them, whatever their background, through cultural exchange. To inspire in them that feeling of physical involvement in a place and time.

The method I used was satirical and mocked the oppressive parts of Indian, my culture, and Western culture. To confront air pollution and the politics behind it, I used a special breathing technique and meditation process. I also used in my drawings images sourced from the Second World War. This time frame is where I pulled a reference image of people protesting against the Hungarian government. So, basically it was a way to give the Hungarian people a reference point in my work to see what I'm trying to do.


Q: What draws you to Norman, Oklahoma? And what are your plans for working with Resonator?

A:  One year ago I met Jenna Bryan, from Resonator, at Flash Crises Performance Festival in Kansas City, MO. It is through her that I developed an interest in Norman. I am interested in creating layered performances. I am looking for the Norman community's participation in my research base community practice I plan to do at Resonator, where food is the main communicative element, as it usually is for any society on Earth. These particular performances function as a social practice where anybody can join and participate.


Q: Can you tell me some background on your video "Motherland and Other Stories"? Did pieces from that work end up in "Residue of Performative Acts"?

A: First of all my idea was not to make video. It was supposed to be purely a photographic project, but after awhile certain situations and experiences made me think of turning the idea into a short film.  As for the "Residue of Performative Acts" exhibition, I got my first solo show with Galerie Felix Frachon in Brussels. This is where I started working on the video with him. The concept behind the short film is to imbue the abstract performances with a feel for what is going on in my country in pictorial and choreographed way. My short film is very symbolic. It references the extremist right wing ideologies rising up all over the world, even in the U.S. or India. 

 


Artist Profile: Katy Seals by Helen Grant

Writer: Helen Grant
 

To cast your gaze upon Katy Seals' work is to take a brightly colored trip down "the last temptation of Lisa Frank" lane. Along the way there are images that may evoke a sense of quiet strength where women in the foreground loom large despite the chaos of the landscape behind them. There are also the more irreverent scenes depicted in Seals' prints, which read as if the cadre of muses are in the midst of something showy yet utterly mundane; dare I say "basic"?

                                                                     Jarrell, TX II and I, Katy Seals

                                                                     Jarrell, TX II and I, Katy Seals

In one of these portraits a barfly, rodeo queen waves to an unseen crowd. Her eyelashes are caked in heavy mascara and an unmistakable orange glow tints her otherwise flawless skin. Curiously, however, Chanel logos grace the barfly's background. The "Country Girl" in this context finds no immediate conflict between her "All-American" beliefs and her choice of French design house. Does "good" taste transcend politics? One wonders in an era where Freedom Fries are still on the menu in some places.

                                                    Doggy Style I&II, Day Drunk, Noodler, Katy Seals

                                                    Doggy Style I&II, Day Drunk, Noodler, Katy Seals

Then there are the women who eat pizza, burgers, and corn dogs. Some women "go" bad, drive hot like a $2 pistol, or suffer from day drinking gone awry. There's a performative element in these larger than life depictions and the resulting juxtapositions, for some, will be humorous.

                                                                     Untitled, Katy Seals

                                                                     Untitled, Katy Seals

"Diamond in the Wilderness: A Solo Exhibition of Works by Katy Seals" starts at 8 p.m. See this link for the details. Below is a Q and A Resonator conducted with Ms. Seals.


Q and A: KATY SEALS

Q: What is thematic arc of your new series?

A: The theme I have been working with has shifted focus to color choice/ color harmonies, and experimenting with opacities and layers. I have been trying to mimic aesthetics of 1950's and 60's advertisements of cosmetics/beauty products and deconstructing into my own mutant approach. 

Q: What are some of the stories that inspire you to make the portraits you create?

A: For portraiture, I admire all the grotesque and awkward expressions the face can make and try and mimic that in my work. The inspiration ranges from a cynical stay at home house wife to a forlorn factory worker. 

Q: I noticed your new work uses more screentone compared to older portraits. An OVAC article said you got a grant to study printing making at the Frogman Print and Paper Workshop in 2014, did some of that experience make it into this new work, and how so?

A: At Frogman's in 2014 I studied Intaglio from Kansas-based artist, Michael Krueger. I chose to sharpen my intaglio skills to aid my pedagogical practice. Typically my personal work utilizes serigraphy, mono print, and painting but I wanted to learn safer, less toxic approaches. I challenge myself to absorb new techniques to bring into my studio and classroom, O.V.A.C. allowed for that particular trip with their educational grants. 

Q: Looking back on past and current work I noticed white women are predominately featured in the lowbrow lineup. Now that Trump is President, will the politics of the women who elected him be explored in a future series? 

A: That's a great suggestion for a series! Living in a rural location, I unfortunately have a plethora of muses.

Q: Hypothetical and just for fun: The bots on Twitter acheive enough sentience to join forces with server farms across the world. Together they suddenly evolve into our new Robot Overlords, how are you resisting? 

A: OooHHHhhh my! I'd have to say maybe my secluded location would allow for me to go rouge and off the grid to escape the grips of the Robot Overlords! Sounds terrifying. 

                                                        Kali, Katy Seals

                                                        Kali, Katy Seals



Artist Statement:

Diamond in the Wilderness is a collection of drawings and prints creating a visual commentary on low-brow Americana culture and folklore through found photos, advertisements, old patterns and illustrative drawings. I enjoy the didactic and often democratic quality of printmaking, which was historically used to expose imagery to the public. I feel that printmaking appropriately aids my aesthetic and subject matter, and I embrace the uncertain outcome of the process.

Artist Bio:

Katy Seals received her BFA at the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor in 2008 and her MFA in printmaking from the University of Oklahoma in 2012. She currently teaches printmaking at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. Katy draws inspiration from cultural phenomenon of western society regarding the bizarre and the kitsch. Originally from Texas, her work often shows her Southern roots, however, due to journeys into the the depths of youtube and cable television, one can expect to see anything from a pageant queen with a bouquet of corn dogs, to giant granny panties and Snooky paper dolls.


Artist Website: http://www.katyseals.com/