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Exploring 'The Unexplored'


Amy Coldren's Inkblot 1-a

For Vincent van Gogh to receive any adulation for his now-classic works of art, it took death. Luckily, these days our culture does a much better job giving accolades to artists while they’re still alive.

Still, it’s our job to seek them out and discover them. Mainsite Contemporary Art’s latest exhibit, The Unexplored, happily has done the biggest part of that task for us.

“We are bringing new artists to the Norman community, for them to have exposure and to show we’re really all just one big community,” said Erinn Gavaghan, curator of the show and executive director of Norman Arts Council. “All six of the artists in this show are new to exhibiting in Norman.”

Unexplored’s artists are Zach Burns, Krystle Brewer, Christie Owen, Amy Coldren, Cindy Coleman and Tim Kowalczyk.

we were pulling [the exhibit] together, I was thinking, ‘What is it
about these six artists that is particularly attracting me to them at
this time?’” Gavaghan said. “I realized that each has approached their
career in very different ways. Each has a unique direction, and I’m
hoping that other artists can come and see that, understand it, and
think of new ways to approach their career that maybe they haven’t
explored yet.”

Oklahoma City-based photographer and designer Burns agrees, his own
trials have made him look inward for a more personal meaning.

am still relatively new to the art world. I take ‘unexplored’ to mean
that I have yet to fully explore myself and my own work,” Burns said. “I
do not know where my work will take me, what form it will be in, or
what thoughts and insights and influences will lead me there.”

blind in his left eye “almost from birth,” he believes his work lives
up to Gavaghan’s idea that each artist’s direction makes him or her
unique to the local art scene.

of my pieces in the exhibit explore obscured stereoscopic photography
using 19thcentury technology, mimicking my own unique visual
impairment,” Burns said. “I see a world half-blurred and half in-focus.
This way of seeing inspires my photography, and the stereoscopic
technique allows me to share this visual experience with others.”

He and Gavaghan also agree on the importance of showcasing Oklahoma’s emerging artists, if only to avoid the van Gogh scenario.

brings the newest art that’s being created to the public, so they’re
getting to see the freshest things that are being created — not just by
artists in their own community, but outside of their communities as
well,” Gavaghan said.

it’s important for the artists, too. Getting your foot in the door can
be one of the most frustrating things for young artists.”

Burns, “It is also important because new work from new artists must
continuously be exhibited, or else the art community will become
stagnant and won’t evolve with the times.”

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