Lindsey Morris doesn't adhere to most traditional art conventions, which is why she was surprised to learn her work was selected from hundreds of entries for one of the metro's largest exhibitions.
The free-spirited, contemporary Lawton artist submitted three linocut prints to the "Momentum" show in Oklahoma City, an annual event highlighting works from up-and-coming artists under 30.
"To be honest, I really didn't think I was going to get in," said Morris, a Cameron University senior. "As an artist, you always have your doubts about your own art. Everybody brought these really refined paintings. I brought these raw prints, like block painting."
Morris' linocuts "? a form of relief printmaking carved in linoleum "? usually incorporate broad social or political messages. Suicide is depicted in her print "Dead Eyes," a stark image where black ink details bullets and flowers surrounding a skull.
"The things people don't want to talk about or consider depressing are kind of beautiful to me," she said.
More than 450 artists submitted pieces for "Momentum," said Kelsey Karper, marketing director for the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, which organized the eighth annual event. Roughly half that number were selected for the show, which opens 6 p.m. Friday inside a former mail distribution center at 320 S.W. 5th.
Friday's opening is intended as a more formal art gallery preview. Dubbed the "Momentum: Downtempo" event, it will feature local performers The Bridgewater Band, The Work Week, Penny Hill and Early Beat.
The exhibit continues 8 p.m. Saturday with "Momentum: Full Speed," a high-energy night accompanied by music from Junebug Spade, The Romantic Disaster and Jabee.
Karper expects 2,500 visitors this weekend. "Momentum" reopens March 11 and will be on display for free through its March 14 closing.
Chandra Leming, a University of Oklahoma art senior and first-year "Momentum" artist, will display a sculpture and two screen prints laden with pop-culture symbolism. "Virgin Madonna" depicts the Virgin Mary holding a vinyl record bearing the words "Like a Virgin," and "Elvis Christ" shows Elvis Presley holding a similar record with the word "Sun."
"Elvis is the king of rock 'n' roll ... and Jesus is of course the son of God," she said. "You have a lot of play on words and symbolism in those words "? Madonna with her first hit being 'Like a Virgin' and having as much notoriety as Elvis."
Morris has been featured in other exhibitions and is eager for her first "Momentum" showing. She said her contemporary approach to art represents a generational shift in art styles "? a counterculture she thinks will one day become mainstream.
"I make it because it makes me happy, not because I feel like I'm going to get notoriety for some reason," she said. "I'm just really excited about the show and the space."