Momentum Spotlight: Sarah Engel

Sarah Engel, Buffaltopia Map Circa 1500, Mixed Media

Featuring young artists ages 30 and younger working in all media in Oklahoma, Momentum OKC opens March 4 & 5. 

Three artists were selected as Spotlight artists to develop in-depth projects, Sarah Engel, Alexandra Knox, and JP Morrison. The artists, who were chosen from proposals, each receive an honorarium of $1,750 and several months of interaction with the curators. This year’s curators are Clint Stone and Erinn Gavaghan. We will feature each Spotlight artist in a brief profile and video, to be posted in a few weeks, to help introduce their work and ideas to the public. 

Sarah Engel, Norman
Sarah Engel in her studio
Project Concept: Ghosts of Buffaltopia Past, Present and Future
“What if buffalos were the dominant species?” That question is the driving concept of Engel’s project. 
She said in her proposal that the conceptreferences Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, a work published in 1516, a time coinciding with The Reformation and the invention of the printing press. The culmination of these events reshaped society. My project reflects on the effects of such abrupt changes in technology and environment, and tension within disparities both caused and resolved by presumed progress.  In reality, American buffalo were slaughtered from an estimated 60,000,000 in 1492 to about 550 in 1889. The number has slowly risen via human intervention.” 
Engel has exhibited her artwork at the Norman Park Foundation’s Tree Show, multiple exhibitions in the Lightwell Gallery, and MSC Forsyth Galleries in Bryan, TX.  Also a homebuilt musical instrument enthusiast, Engel is a BFA Media Art major at the University of Oklahoma who expect to graduate this spring.  She won a 2010 Student Award of Excellence from the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. She also has a solo exhibition called Cigar Box Guitar Stars: Return of the Homebuilt Musical Instrument at Sonder Music in Norman this April.
Sarah Engel, Moon Landing Article, Digital
Engel’s project will include images of famous buffalo leaders, celebrities and events. Significant objects from scientific and historical events accompany these pictures in museum display cases.  Filled with historical maps, paintings, photographs and fabricated artifacts, the “museum” will fill a temporary room approximately 8’ square.

Knowing Engel’s attempt to recreate a museum experience curator Clint Stone posed the question, “How would buffalos display their artifacts?  What is the different of working with hooves?” On a more serious note, the curators have pressed Engel to focus on a small portion of the history she hopes to encapsulate to keep the project more manageable. 

Momentum OKC 2011 will open March 4 and 5 at the Farmer’s Public Market. Visit for more information. Read more about the Spotlight artists in the forthcoming issue of Art Focus Oklahoma that will be posted online on March 1.

Meet the Momentum Curators: Erinn Gavaghan

Erinn Gavaghan

Erinn Gavaghan serves as the Emerging Curator for Momentum OKC 2011.  OVAC recruits up-and-coming curators to assist the guest curator in working with artists who receive the Spotlight commissioned projects and overseeing the vision for the general juried exhibition.  See yesterday’s post for a profile of Guest Curator Clint Stone.
She became the Executive Director of the Norman Arts Council in 2010. There she provides leadership in all aspects of operations including planning their events and marketing.  Gavaghan received her MA in Art History and Criticism at Webster University, St. Louis, MO, in 2010.
Gavaghan (left) touring site
with JP Morrison
Previously, she worked as Manager of Donor Relations and Events at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis, MO.  Besides managing individual giving and cultivation, she oversaw the Contemporary Collectors program, including coordinating educational programming and travel programming to art fairs such as Art Basel Miami and The Armory Show and exclusive gallery and museum tours across the country

Before moving to St. Louis, Gavaghan worked for Ballet Oklahoma directing special events and volunteers and spent several years teaching photography at City Arts Center. 

Momentum OKC will take place March 4 & 5 at the Farmer’s Public Market, 311 S. Klein Ave in downtown OKC.  Artwork entries are due February 7 at 5 pm. See the full call for entries here

Bright Colors & Mind: Sandra Langenkamp

Guest Author: Richard Wills, Tulsa Art Studio Tour Committee Member
Tulsa Art Studio Tour artist Sandra Langenkamp (photo by RC Morrison)

From bright colors to elegant forms, and sometimes witty commentary, Sandra Langenkamp’s work shows the full versatility that her skill allows. An obvious student of art history, Langenkamp has studied several artistic styles, but is heavily influenced by Matisse. 

Tulsa Art Studio Tour artist Sandra Langenkamp (photo by RC Morrison) 
Her art represents the world that surrounds us from her cattle to the trips she takes with her husband.  Langenkamp will create an image that is stylized for the culture it represents while at the same time letting her artistic voice come shinning through.  While Langenkamp spends a majority of her time painting, she also enjoys working with ceramics and sculpture, imitating the style and craftsmanship of many different cultures.

Meet & see the working studio of Langenkamp along with 10 other artists on April 21-22, noon until 5 pm on the Tulsa Art Studio Tour. Read more in Art Focus Oklahomamagazine or purchase tickets here

Terri Higgs: Dying Color & Poems in Silk

Guest Author: Richard Wills, Tulsa Art Studio Tour Committee Member

Terri Higgs, Jacket, Silk dye on Crêpe de Chine
Terri Higgs has allowed herself to be pulled into the process of silk painting because it helps her to “connect with the world around her.” Higgs’ intent is to “create art that does more than sit on the wall.” Her art gets to go out, explore, go dancing, or wrap someone up in comfort or warmth. 
Tulsa Art Studio Tour artist Terri Higgs (photo by RC Morrison)
Expanding her style past traditional silk painting methods, Higgs often incorporates poems, prayers and nature into her designs. With the windows open, and the mood set, Higgs enters her studio leaving the world behind her, and letting the silk guide her path.
Meet & see the working studio of Higgs along with 10 other artists on April 21-22, noon until 5 pm on the Tulsa Art Studio Tour. Read more in Art Focus Oklahomamagazine or purchase tickets here

Large Scale History: Tommy Lee Ball

Guest Author: Richard Wills, Tulsa Art Studio Tour Committee Member
Tommy Ball, Central Bus Station, Watercolor, 22” x 30”

The watercolors created by TommyBall are full of bright colors, and studies of light reflections at different times of the day. He bikes around town with his camera, looking for inspiration, and when found he quickly puts his ideas into action. His subjects normally have a historical value, or something that is easily missed.  

Tulsa Art Studio Tour Artist Tommy Ball (photo by RC Morrison)
While he has studied past artists, he tries to not concentrate on their work while creating his own. Ball believes that many artists can get lost in the cloud of creativity and limit themselves to recycling of images.

Meet & see the working studio of Ball along with 10 other artists on April 21-22, noon until 5 pm on the Tulsa Art Studio Tour. Read more in Art Focus Oklahomamagazine or purchase tickets here

TAC’s Tulsa Taboo: More Than Naughty Bits

By Janice McCormick

Untitled, created by the curators of Tulsa Taboo: RC Morrison, Kara Greuel, and Steve Tomlin
The Tulsa Artists’ Coalition call for entries for its Tulsa Taboo asked artists to submit “art that expands boundaries, that asks hard questions, that challenges the status quo.” The resulting juried exhibit proves to be quite diverse, of high aesthetic quality and thought-provoking.  The size of the exhibit (twenty-nine works in all) precludes an in-depth description of each and every one. Hence, this review’s limited aim is to whet the appetite of the reader to come and see how these artists meet this challenge. Tulsa Taboo is on display through July 30th.

The usual “naughty bits” are well represented. Julie Strauss’s shaped copper tubing sculpture High Beams depicts a curvaceous female form, complete with headlights for breasts and a convex mirror for her face. This elegant and witty work in the Art Nouveau style received a Juror’s Choice Award as well as the People’s Choice Award. Clayton Keyes’ ceramic sculpture Circle Jerk consists of ten upwards pointing penises with their testicles, forming a circular enclosure – a sort of sexual Stonehenge celebrating masculine virility. 

Clayton Keyes, Circle Jerk
Political issues cropped in several works. Protest regarding the unjust treatment of Native Americans emerged in two works. Anna Muselmann’s Façade depicts a warrior, whose smiley face hangs askew, revealing his suppressed anger. This work won Best of Show. Talon Micco’s painting Andrew Jackson used the historical portrait of Andrew Jackson, with the word “genocide” painted in red across the bottom.  Red splatters mar the gilded frame. On the local level, John Gaskill skewers the feuding relationship between Tulsa’s mayor Dewey Bartlett and the City Councilors by depicting the politicos torturing one another in his Tulsa Mayor/City Council Coloring Book. Environmental concern meets political satire in Nancy Smart Carlson’s Testing, Testing! Inhofe Testing Worm Holes for Rising Temperatures and Global Warming. This dark cut-away image of the earth reveals a series of meandering worm tracks and a thermometer reading red hot. 

A compact, untitled installation is the result of an anonymous person’s challenge to the art community “…to do something that shows guns and violence should be Taboo.” For two months, this person thrust newspaper and magazine articles on this theme through TAC’s mail slot. The three curators (RC Morrison, Kara Greuel, and Steve Tomlin) decided that they themselves would turn this private cry from the heart into a public experience. They spread the articles and magazines across the top of a small desk, inviting the viewer to pour over them and to read the anonymous person’s annotated comments and underscored phrases, such as “GUNS – GUNS – GUNS,” “Home Invasion,” “Police gun deaths increase in 2009” and “lax laws feed the illegal gun trade.” The desk lamp symbolically shines a light on an issue that many would rather ignore. A pair of scissors and a tape dispenser encourage the viewer to imaginatively cut out more articles and tape them together, thereby making this issue their own. Even more magazines in a partially opened drawer suggest that gun violence will only escalate unless society does something about it.

As these works illustrate, Tulsa Taboo is not to be missed. The gallery is located at 9 East Brady in Tulsa. Its hours are 6pm to 9pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday.