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Artist Corazon Watkins' exhibit at Norman's The Depot encourages self-discovery


"Charlatan" by Corazon Watkins Image provided
  • "Charlatan" by Corazon Watkins Image provided

Many art connoisseurs view or purchase work with which they can identify.

In many cases, there is something that speaks to the viewer’s personality.

However, Norman artist Corazon Watkins wants the viewer to go deeper and find their personality archetype within her work.

For this reason, Watkins created Essence of a Man, which opens 6-9 p.m. Friday at The Depot, 200 S. Jones Ave., in Norman, as part of downtown Norman’s Second Friday Art Walk.

Essence of a Man consists of a collection of works that have blank faces, making the connection between art and its viewer all the more attainable. The titles include personality types such as “Demagogue,” “Apathetic” or “Non-Conformist.” They range from 6-by-6 to 60-by-60 inches.

“The reason why I chose this theme is because I am a people-watcher,” Watkins said. “The way I painted [the artwork in the show] is faceless. The reason why I did that is because it can be anybody.”

The show’s concept came from observations Watkins made at a previous show.

“This idea came up when I had a show at Mainsite [Contemporary Art in Norman],” she said. “I was watching people coming to the show. I was looking at the way they act, the way they interact with other people, the way they dress and the way they talked.”

The themes that Watkins likes to convey vary from painting to painting. Her material ranges from the culture and heritage of her native Philippines to commentary on social, political, religious and environmental issues.

Currently, Watkins is watching the immigration policies of the Trump administration and how it could affect her family.

Watkins has been trying to bring her brothers over from the Philippines to the United States since the 1970s.

“I do not paint something just for the sake of putting something on a wall to make it pretty,” she said. “I always want to work on something that sends a message to the public.”

The primary medium used by Watkins is oil “because of its richness and vivid colors,” she said. “Oil can be flexible. If I do not like it, I can let it dry and then start all over again.”

Watkins is also known to work in mixed media sculpture, using items as varied as windowpanes, wooden boxes and wood panels obtained from garage sales and flea markets.

“I collect them, and then I give new life to them,” she said.

Since obtaining her U.S. citizenship in 1976, Watkins has had a prolific art career.

Working out of Norman, her exhibits include shows at the former City Arts Center (now Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center), Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa and Leslie Powell Gallery in Lawton.

Watkins is also a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Art in Embassies program.

The State Department also owns four of her works in its permanent collection.

Watkins’ future shows include a three-dimensional mixed media exhibit at Leslie Powell Gallery.

“[I want people to] come to the show, view the artwork and start thinking, not just meeting with people,” she said. “Really get involved and interested in what art is all about.”

Essence of a Man continues through April 30.

Print headline: Find yourself, Corazon Watkins’ Essence of a Man encourages discovery. 

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