Every three years, the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC) hosts the highly competitive program, Art 365, in which five Oklahoma-based creative proposals are selected to complete innovative artwork in consultation with a nationally recognized curator. In an unprecedented model for the region, the artists receive an honorarium of $12,000. Over the course of the last year, these artists have created a body of work that will culminate with exhibitions in both Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The first exhibition is opening on July 2, from 6-9pm, at Living Arts of Tulsa (307 E Reconciliation Way, Tulsa, OK 74120).
The artists for this iteration of Art 365 were chosen by guest curator, Grace Deveney, associate curator of Prospect.5 in New Orleans. The selected artists are as follows: Ginnie Baer (Edmond), Crystal Z Campbell (Oklahoma City), Naima Lowe (Tulsa), Marilla Martinez (Stillwater), and collaborators Maggie Boyett (Oklahoma City) and Marwin Begaye (Norman).
GUEST CURATOR BIO: Grace Deveney // New Orleans, Louisiana
Grace Deveney is a curator and art historian. She is Associate Curator of Prospect.5: Yesterday we said tomorrow, a New Orleans-based contemporary art triennial (2021). Previously, she was Assistant Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Exhibitions at the MCA include Christina Quarles (2021) Direct Message: Art, Language, and Power (2019) and Groundings (2018; with Tara Aisha Willis), as well as presentations of the work of Paul Pfeiffer, Amanda Williams and Ania Jaworska. She is currently a PhD candidate in Art History at Northwestern University.
Ginnie Baer // Edmond, Oklahoma
Project: Silver Valley,
Silver Valley is an expression of our shared humanity. It is a place that offers respite from the pain, loss, grief, and sadness we all experience. When proposing the project, I had no way of knowing that we would all be experiencing those things, around the world, at the same time. My own experiences of having an idyllic childhood, losing my parents before age twenty-two, and more recently, managing chronic pain and illness, have greatly impacted my desire to paint worlds that feel comforting and positive.
Crystal Z Campbell // Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Project: Hi, Hi, Hi, Highway
In Hi, Hi, Hi, Highway, I am working with this section of the highway that splits Greenwood, activated by performers who are working upon it. These performers play the highway like a song, activating the space with sonic graffiti, extracting sound from a site of a site of architectural violence that has noise pollution, as one of its perks. We have used debris from dead auto bodies to punctuate time, to ask the highway how it came to be here, and how it is an unintended monument of Black dispossession. The performance videos are spliced with archival footage, while banners mirror highway gestures, spatializing the exhibition.
Naima Lowe // Tulsa, Oklahoma
Project: A token is a stand in for something of value
This project is a formal and conceptual exploration of labor, valuation, numeracy and the unbearable weight of living through late capitalism with self-awareness. The sculptural, sound and text works that I’ve created borrow aesthetic language and conceptual considerations from the retail design shop that I created during 2020 in my latest attempt to free myself from the stranglehold of institutions more interested in the appearance of Black inclusion than the actuality of Black freedom. I needed a means of economic support that wasn’t dependent on the whims of philanthropic or academic patronage, which led me down the often precarious path of entrepreneurship and self-employment.
Marilla Martinez // Stillwater, Oklahoma
This project is an exploration of the Latinx community in Oklahoma, specifically Payne County. At the core, it is documentary photography showing the small intimate moments of a specific culture. While traditions and economical standings vary from household to household, there is an overall feeling of culture and shared sense of unity in celebrations such as quinceañeras and weddings. Concentrating on the comfort found within the growing group of Mexican-Americans and a subtle sense of danger and discomfort of documenting events amidst a pandemic, I wanted the focus of Payne to remain on the beautiful visual elements rather than any underlying political topics. I also use the landscape both as a backdrop and visual representation of freedom and opportunity that families find in this particular region.
Maggie Boyett and Marwin Begaye // Oklahoma City and Norman, Oklahoma
Project: Body Acknowledgement: The Body as Land
Through their collaboration Body Acknowledgment: The Body as Land, printmaker Marwin Begaye and performer Maggie Boyett investigate their identities as Urban Indians. Like many Native people, they have wrestled with the concept of "living in two worlds"—the idea that colonization has forced Indigenous people to navigate American culture and create space to live out their Indigenous values. This perspective fragments cultural experience, impacting their relationship to land and their communities. The recent uptick in land acknowledgments at public events and in the media inspired the artists to use the concept of land acknowledgment as an entry point for deepening their kinships with land, self, time and wellness.
In addition to the exhibitions, each artist will lead a free workshop or panel discussion that aligns with the themes of their project. These events aim to teach new skills while also talking about the content and processes the artists use in their work, providing the community a deeper connection to the artwork in the exhibition and the Art 365 program. Please check out our Facebook Event page for more details!