A joint exhibition featuring two dozen pieces of paper-based art soon will begin touring throughout Oklahoma for more than a year. Currently, 24 Works on Paper can be seen at the Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery, where an opening reception is scheduled for Friday.
IAO and the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition collaborated to exhibit prints, drawings, paintings and photography of 24 artists from 10 different Oklahoma cities, said Julia Kirt, OVAC executive director.
Every other year since 1985, IAO has organized this traveling show to history museums, art galleries, libraries and universities in order to reach large and small communities across the state, she said. All of the pieces fit in two sizes of frames, so they can travel easily during the year-and-a-half tour.
“It made sense for [the exhibition] to be a simple, two-dimensional style of art,” Kirt said.
24 Works on Paper showcases how the artists explored different techniques using the same material, said Kirsten Olds, this year’s guest juror and curator.
“I attempted to create a cohesive show, based on two key themes I saw emerging across the entire body of submissions, in order to present just one view of what contemporary artists working with paper are engaged with at the moment,” she said.
An assistant professor of art history at the University of Tulsa, Olds selected the featured works from more than 200 submissions. Kirt said all of the pieces were completed within the last two years.
A member of OVAC since 2011, Zach Burns of Oklahoma City contributed the photograph Hotel Duncan 63, a self-portrait diptych, which pairs two images to be viewed as one. The right image is in focus while the image on the left is blurred, which Burns said he did to illustrate how he is legally blind in his left eye.
“I have grown up seeing the world half in focus and half blurred, which is a unique visual experience,” Burns said.
He noted that the exhibition as a whole demonstrates exciting results, despite artists starting with the same flat object.
“It just shows that simple limitations can actually be new opportunities to think or approach something differently,” he said. “I find that encouraging.”
Burns may have the opportunity to give gallery talks or workshops to show new audiences his photographic process at various tour stops, he said.
Olds plans to visit several of the 10 remaining stops of the tour, which officially ends in January 2015 at the Leslie Powell Foundation and Gallery in Lawton. She will hold a gallery talk on Aug. 3 to close 24 Works’ premiere run at IAO.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for artists, both emerging and established, to reach a new audience and to be shown alongside the work of other great artists they might not have met otherwise,” Burns said. “I am ready to get this show on the road.”