A new exhibition, FELLOW, is now on view at the Tulsa Artist Fellowship’s Refinery studios at 109 North Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Curated by TAF fellow Shane Darwent, the show blends together the massive variety that exists inside the Refinery’s studios. FELLOW combines the work of 25 artists, both visual and literary, just steps from the studios where many of the works were created.
“The Refinery was full of potential,” said Darwent, who recently moved from Ypsilanti, Michigan to Tulsa as a 2018 TAF visual arts fellow. “I’ve done a lot of curating where I had to do the legwork to make the space look good, but all of the legwork had been done for me here. The beautiful bones were here, and it was ready to come to life. I just wanted to complete the blank page.”
Darwent said he hoped viewers would be lured in by Carrie Dickason’s rusting statue and colorful paintings by Cynthia Brown and Monty Little in the front foyer, while a double window by Emily Chase provides a glimpse both into the art and into the space. A series of panels by Jennifer Hope Davy leads viewers up the staircase, where they’re greeted with the artists’ statements, Crystal Z Campbell’s film stills and clay sculpture, Moheb Soliman’s playful “RECREATE” window, and Rafael Corzo’s playful and psychedelic ceramic teapots across from Akiko Jackson’s ceramics work and mirrors. Up the stairs, Nathan Young’s peyote flags pay homage to a church many might not know exists.
Farther on into the exhibition, Eric Sall’s deeply textured oil painting and the stark, sharp lines of Elspeth Schulze’s fiberglass-plywood sculpture stand in stark contrast to one another. Jave Yoshimoto’s work, several pieces of laser-engraved wood, weaves the serious in with the silly, presenting emojis alongside saints and refugees. Rena Detrixhe presents a series of patterned red dirt prints on linen across from a series of landscapes: a series of untitled and intricate pencil pieces by Tali Weinberg, colorful watercolors by Yatika Fields, and almost postage-stamp-sized landscapes by Christine Aria.
Many of the pieces, Darwent said, bounce off of each other to create strange layers of meaning. Such is the case with the juxtaposition between Adam Carnes’s multiple-panel portrait with audio and exposed male genitalia, which hangs across from Anita Fields’s 4’ by 4’ half-velvet, half-written-upon house. “They’re both fractured,” Darwent said. “It can work just visually, but also, if you start to unpack what those visual cues lead us into, then it allows for these small, different entry points. That’s the most exciting thing about the show: really trying to look at the fellowship as a whole—as a cohesive show.”
Soon, visitors are presented with large paintings by Codak Smith and Monty Little: while Smith’s work is explosive and colorful, Little’s work is tight, constrained, and greyscale. In a
room to the side is an installation by Walt Kosty: an immersive and introspective reimagining of the landscape of Tulsa.
Making their way back through the studios, viewers can encounter two more pieces in FELLOWS: a vinyl installation by Darwent, the curator, and a photo-realistic charcoal drawing by Joel Daniel Phillips.
“I want viewers to be guided by the visual excitement of looking—experiencing new pictures or objects or materials,” said Darwent, looking down the halls. “I hope people can be awed. There’s color, there are amazing applications. Follow the pleasure of looking and then look for connections between the works. There’s no right or wrong way to read this show.”
Exhibiting artists include: Cynthia Brown, Crystal Z Campbell, Adam Carnes, Emily Chase, Rafael Corzo, Shane Darwent, Jennifer Hope Davy, Rena Detrixhe, Carrie Dickason, Anita Fields, Yatika Fields, Heyd Fontenot, Elisa Harkins, Christine Hostetler, Akiko Jackson, Walt Kosty, Monty Little, Joel Daniel Phillips, Eric Sall, Elspeth Schulze, Codak Smith, Moheb Soliman, Tali Weinberg, Jave Yoshimoto and Nathan Young.
FELLOW will be open to the public during June’s First Friday on June 1, 2018 from 6 to 9 p.m.