Haley Prestifilippo: Between Death and Life

Haley Prestifilippo, Norman

Haley Prestifilippo, It’s Just a Bed of Roses, Graphite on Paper, 4.25×3″ 

What was your concept and inspiration for these pieces that will be featured in Momentum?
Prestifilippo: In these pieces I use death as a device with which to question the connections between the real and the ethereal. Humans have always been interested in death. It is the final mystery, which we have sought to explain through both science and religion. Many recent technological and medical advancements have created new ways of thinking about the nature of death, often challenging once sacred views concerning the very essence of existence. 

The tension between the scientific world and the spiritual often translates into a strange sense of uncertainty, apathy, and resentment. Both seek the reality of life as fervently as the other, and we are often pressed to choose between them. We welcome the knowledge of science but desire the comfort of a life beyond death, while unsure if we can truly subscribe to both.

Haley Prestifilippo, It’s Just a Bed of Roses (detail) Graphite on Paper, 4.25×3″ 

I was always fascinated by the Dutch still lives depicting realistically painted piles of fruit and foods, often painted right alongside various dead game. This juxtaposition of this abundance and death was always very poignant to me. Similarly, I have also always been interested in the idea of a momento mori and the way they create this weird disjuncture of life with death. It’s as if your mind is simply taking in the beauty of an image, when it has a sudden violent realization that there is something dark, more meaningful to this image than just some simple bouquet of flowers, or whatever it might be. I was thinking about this type of imagery when I began creating these pieces. I have also always enjoyed drawing and painting animals, so they seem like a natural choice for depicting my ideas.

Haley Prestifilippo, Twins in the End (detail) Graphite on Paper, 4.25×3″ 

Please explain the technique and/or process you used to create your Momentum works.
Prestifilippo: These works are all graphite on paper. I generally start with a sketch, to work out the overall composition and basic idea of how this image is going to work on a piece of paper. From there, I then go to my ever increasing database of animal images – dead or sleeping animals – that I have collected through the internet, magazines, and just wherever I happen to find an image with an animal in a particular pose. I then use Photoshop to try to piece animals together in a way that fits with the basic compositional shape I am trying to achieve. 
From there, I often print out whatever preliminary image I’ve got, and sketch on top of that – adding in whatever extra elements I decide. Once I’ve got it all worked out, I then use the source image as the basis for my drawing – I usually try to stay close to my source image. Part of the fun is often trying to make it as small as possible while still retaining as much detail as possible.

Where else can audiences see your artwork?
Prestifilippo: Interested people can check out my blog, which has a few more of my recent pieces on it. haleyprestifilippo.blogspot.com

Momentum OKC  opens March 1 & 2 at the 50 Penn Place in Oklahoma City. View, experience and purchase art by Oklahoma emerging young artists. Learn more at www.MomentumOklahoma.org.

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Music Heads: Timothy Hearne

Tim Hearne, Moore

Tim Hearne, MusicHead IV, Color Pencil/Pastel, 24×18  

What was your concepts and inspiration for this piece/these pieces?

Hearne: The Musichead piece is part of a group highlighting the fact that people who would be referred to as “music heads” can be found in all parts of society. It is slowly being expanded upon.
My definition comes from more of a hip-hop/rap perspective, like the person that is always following the mixtape scene for new artists, etc. It can apply to all genres though.

Please explain the technique and/or process you used to create your Momentum work.
I typically envision a rough idea of the pose needed in my head and then follow that up by looking for references that best fit it. This can be done via the web or my own photos.
This image, along with the other aspects of the piece, are then worked with via a “digital sketchbook” process to play with colors and composition before committing the idea to paper.
I work with dry mediums but I plan to introduce paint into some of my pieces as the year progresses. I also work more loosely from time to time as a sort of “break”.
Where else can audiences see your artwork?
www.timhearneart.com This page will also provide links to my Tumblr and Facebook (where I post most of my in progress photos).
Currently, I am working to continue my rap/hip-hop related portrait series for exhibition this summer at Exhibit by Aberson in Tulsa, OK.

This artwork will be featured at Momentum OKC, opening March 1 & 2 at the 50 Penn Place in Oklahoma City. View, experience and purchase art by Oklahoma emerging young artists. Learn more at www.MomentumOklahoma.org.

Between Civilization and Nature: Bill Zorn

Bill Zorn, Tulsa

Bill Zorn, On the Fence, Mixed Media-Fabric, print, paint, 24 x 12″ 

What was your concepts and inspiration for these pieces?
I am interested in life and death and the potential for immortality through art. Some animals are preserved as trophies, or memorials, while others are swept to the side of the road. As the freeway expands, the wilderness deflates. As society moves faster, distractions grow denser, and the thought of death can be neglected. Humans have made a culture of attempting to overcome nature, and the primal nature within themselves. My work investigates humanity’s curiosity and drive to collect life, or it’s husk, while confronting society’s silence and disregard for “civilization’s” debilitating effect on nature.

Wolves being hunted and hung as trophies and “pest deterrent” inspired On the Fence. As we encroach on their habitat, wolves hunt livestock and threaten farmer’s herds. Historically, farmers would raise campaigns to eradicate the ‘pest.’ They would hang their kills on their fences as a warning to other wolves. The hanging wolves were also thought a message for surrounding farmers that wolves preyed nearby and killed livestock. While it is hard to argue against a farmer’s livelihood, the situation is a problem humanity has created. My work investigates the shifting equilibrium between civilization and nature.

Please explain the technique and/or process you used to create your Momentum work.
Mixed media constructions support the idea of nature’s layers. Similar to an animal’s layers of fur, skin, and bone, fabric is printed and painted, gutted and turned inside out to reveal the most repulsive and intimate spaces and events. Collage allows the work to come together while still maintaining conflict, bringing both harmony and juxtaposition to the surface.

Where else can audiences see your artwork?
My thesis show, Do Not Resuscitate, will open February 28,- March 28, 2013 at the University of Tulsa, Phillips Hall, Alexandre Houge Gallery.

My work can be seen on my website, www.billthegirl.com

This artwork will appear in Momentum OKC, opening March 1 & 2 at the 50 Penn Place in Oklahoma City. View, experience and purchase art by Oklahoma emerging young artists. Learn more at www.MomentumOklahoma.org.

Megan Curtis: Defining Stories

Megan Curtis, Stillwater

Megan Curtis, Exodus and the Frog Prince Portrait, Watercolor, Color Pencil, 30×22  

What are your concepts and inspirations for these pieces?
Curtis: This body of work is based on two separate biblical narratives and a child’s fairy tale  Genesis 19:26 (the death of Lot’s wife), Exodus 8:3 (the plague of frogs), and the fairy tale  “The Frog Prince.” I chose these stories for their trauma but also to examine the woman-inferior attitudes they reflect. We tell children stories like these to teach them morality, yet they tend to be inherently sexist, and as they are passed down from generation to generation, a woman-inferior attitude is passed down with them. Being both a feminist and a Christian, I wanted to tell these stories from the perspective of the women they portray, giving myself an ideal mechanism to express my concerns with this written tradition.

“Lot’s Wife” is based on Genesis 19:26, “But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” This is a perfect example of a common occurrence in the bible: a woman disobeys God (a man), and is swiftly and severely punished. I wanted to paint the exact moment she realizes she is dying, as if she were being swept away by wind. I used red and blue colors to mimic veins and muscle, and greys and blacks for bits of her skin and hair flaking away.

“Exodus and the Frog Prince Portrait” is based on Exodus 8:3, “The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed,” and the children’s fairytale, “The Frog Prince”. I chose to combine these stories into a single piece because of a striking parallel: in the original Frog Prince, a young girl must invite a frog into her bed, to sleep with her; in Exodus, frogs literally invade the beds of the Egyptians. In both stories, the most private, vulnerable, inner sanctum (the bed) is literally defiled (or raped) by frogs.

Megan Curtis, Lot’s Wife, Watercolor, Color Pencil, 45×28  

Please explain the technique and/or process you used to create your Momentum works.
Curtis: Both pieces I created with a predominantly wet-on-wet watercolor technique, adding small amounts of colored pencil in some areas for fine-detail work. Additionally, inspired by Lot’s wife turning into salt in the story, I dusted the entire Lot’s Wife piece with salt during the drying process. The use of salt not only literally ties the medium to the underlying narrative, but adds a unique textural quality to the piece.

Where else can audiences see your artwork?
Curtis: My website megandawn.com.

This artwork will appear in Momentum OKC, opening March 1 & 2 at the 50 Penn Place in Oklahoma City. View, experience and purchase art by Oklahoma emerging young artists. Learn more at www.MomentumOklahoma.org.

Referencing Tradition: Elliott Robbins

Elliott Robbins, Muskogee

Elliott Robbins, Whistler’s Brother From Another Mother, Oil on Panel,  35×25″

What is your concept and inspiration for this piece in Momentum?
Robbins: My initial idea was to depict myself in a composition that referenced an older work of art and this project presented a nice opportunity to explore that. Here I choose to reference James Whistler’s “Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1,” aka “Whistler’s Mother.” I really loved the simplicity and technique of that painting so in a way I set up my own painting based off of this reference material. 

Self-portraiture is something that I have been doing a lot of in my work recently so I thought it would be a good idea use that as well. Referencing older works of art is a recurring theme in my work, but unlike any other painting I’ve done this one most directly references a very well known pieces.

Please explain the technique and/or process you used to create this work.
Robbins: The painting is sort of a humorous homage to Whistler’s Mother. I painted it very traditionally and in certain areas distorted the form so that it made the figure look almost like a caricature or a cartoon. I was really trying to stylistically match artists like Whistler, and Sargent who would often time do paintings that looked very loose and impressionistic with a few crisp details in the face as the focal point of the piece. My hope with this painting is that people will walk away from this painting appreciating the humor in it.

Where else can audiences see your artwork?
Robbins: You can see more of my work on my Tumblr blog: bcrbyt.tumblr.com and on my Blogspot page: bcrtyb.blogspot.com

This artwork will appear in Momentum OKC, opening March 1 & 2 at the 50 Penn Place in Oklahoma City. View, experience and purchase art by Oklahoma emerging young artists. Learn more at www.MomentumOklahoma.org.

Layne Inselman: Lifeless Theatre

Layne Inselman, Norman 

Layne Inselman, Auditorium, Long Theatre (Keyes, OK), Digital Photograph, 16 x 20 

What is your concept and inspiration for this piece in Momentum?
Inselman: My photograph is of an abandoned and now-shabby movie theater in the panhandle of Oklahoma (the town of Keyes, to be precise). I spent a few years there as a kid and I traveled back there recently and explored some of the tarnished downtown area. All the chairs are gone from the auditorium, though it is still possible to make out the old screen used as a backdrop when they used to show movies there. 

I personally love the shot because I think it has that “dying small town” feel to it, plus the angle is the same angle you would view if you were to walk into the theatre to look for a seat some 30 years ago.

Please explain the technique and/or process you used to create this work.
Inselman: The print is of a digital photograph. It has been edited to black and white for three important reasons:
1. Compositionally, the stark lines of the wood frame and its shadows create interesting positive/negative relationships within the photograph.
2. Conceptually, the monochromatic image evokes a sense of yesteryear, as most films that were shown in this theater were likely in black and white themselves.
3. The colorlessness adds bleak and almost sorrowful emotions, which I personally think enhances the idea that what once used to be a gathering place for happy moviegoers is now all but destroyed.

Where else can audiences see your artwork?
Inselman: I am in the process of creating a website, but in the meantime I will post photographs from time to time on my Facebook page: facebook.com/LayneInselmanPhotography

Maybe eventually you’ll be able to see my work in other galleries too!

Momentum OKC  opens March 1 & 2 at the 50 Penn Place in Oklahoma City. View, experience and purchase art by Oklahoma emerging young artists. Learn more at www.MomentumOklahoma.org.

Plug Projects: Momentum Guest Curators

Momentum Guest Curators: Plug Projects Team 

OVAC welcomes Plug Projects as the guest curators for Momentum OKC.  

Plug Projects is a curatorial collaboration by five Kansas City artists, Amy Kligman, Misha Kligman, Caitlin Caitlin Horsmon, Cory Imig and Caleb Taylor, who share the mission of bringing fresh perspectives and conversation to the local art community. 

Founded in 2011, the group seeks  to energize artists and the public at large by exhibiting challenging new work, initiating critical dialogue, and expanding connections of artists in Kansas City as part of a wider, national network of artists. 

They already have been noticed nationally for their thoughtful work as they have introduced new avenues for engaging the community. Besides keen exhibitions, they have launched critique nights, a new art journal and thematic films series and have served as guest writers for a national publication, Temporary Art Review

You may see them at Momentum on March 1 and 2. Also, Plug Projects will visit the University of Oklahoma School of Art and Art History to give a lecture and visit MFA student studios on March 1. They will present a free talk at Artspace at Untitled on March 2 at 3 pm. 

Momentum OKC  opens March 1 & 2 at the 50 Penn Place in Oklahoma City. View, experience and purchase art by Oklahoma emerging young artists. Learn more at www.MomentumOklahoma.org.