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Industrial materials, bold design 'steel' show

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href="#exhibit">EXHIBIT
OPENING UP

Studio owner Larry Pickering is a local designer and metal artist whose most recent work includes a commission to create the trophies for the 2008 PLUG Independent Music Awards. He has hosted exhibits at 31 Deuce since opening the site four years ago.

"It's a totally alternative space that's just a blank canvas," Pickering said. "It's not bright lights and white walls like a lot of galleries."

"Heavy Metal" will feature art in the yard around the studio, inside the space and also in a tractor-trailer on the studio's lawn called the "Trailer Trash Gallery." The art show will be a laid-back event where visitors can come and go, or stay for the day and mingle with the local artists.

"It's an experiment. That's why the art space is important," Pickering said. "It's a social experiment, as well as an artistic experiment."

EXHIBIT
The exhibit includes works by Pickering and more than a dozen artists, including Eric Baker, Rick and Tracey Bewley, Clinton Dean Bowman, Stan Carroll, Brian Fitzsimmons, Matt Goad, Skip Hill, Randy Marks, Paul Mays, Kenny McCage, Chad Mount, Don Narcomey, Kelley Oshel, Klint Schor, Asia Scudder, Joe Slack and Jim Stewart.

"There are about five or six artists who have never done metal work before," Pickering said. "I invited them to use my shop to do what they want."

He described his own art in "Heavy Metal as "conceptual abstraction rendered in steel." Although he works with functionality as a designer, Pickering is drawn to the "pure aesthetics" of sculpture and encourages other architects and designers to become involved with the artistic community.

"It allows cross-pollination to occur and diversifies people's perception of art and creativity," he said. "There's a lot of goings-on in this city, but a lot of people work in an insular environment."

31 Deuce Studio has an open-door policy and Pickering's shop is available for artists to work in, and for non-artists to come and learn about artistic processes.

"If the lights are on, the doors are open," he said. "I've always operated under the premise of a studio for artists to do what they want and see what their capabilities are."

OPENING UP
Pickering is one of a small group of people in Oklahoma City who have opened up their private studios to the public.

"Our commitment to the community is to provide more opportunities for artists to show work and get commentary," he said. "Galleries book years in advance, but some artists' work is about what is happening right now and it needs to be shown right now."

Three artists in "Heavy Metal" also have opened their doors to the community, with the Bewleys inviting visitors to their Art Fusion Studio and Slack hosting exhibits in his Line Gallery.

"We're trying to provide another opportunity for everyone to come out and see this creativity living in the neighborhoods around us," Pickering said.

The Bewleys will show three light pieces in "Heavy Metal," all of which involved texturing aluminum with a circular saw.

"This was an exciting opportunity for us to explore materials we do not ordinarily work with," Rick Bewley said. "Working with glass, it is natural to want to include lighting as part of the design. There was our starting point: metal, glass and light."

Their works are examples of the pieces in the exhibit that use metal as inspiration for new approaches to sculpture, functional art and mixed media. While each artist had the same summer temperature-resistant medium as a guide, the results offer a varied look into the work of some of the most dedicated members of the Oklahoma art community.

"?Allison Meier

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