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Paseo gallery displays works from Venezuelan, Danish artists

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An exhibition featuring abstract-inspired art by a painter from Venezuela and a potter from Denmark opens Friday at JRB Art at The Elms, 2810 N. Walker.

The show spotlights the work of Thomas Batista, who came to Oklahoma from Venezuela when he received a scholarship to study fine art at Oklahoma City University, and Birthe Flexner, who hails from Denmark and has been in Oklahoma City since 1970, said Joy Reed Belt, the gallery's director.

Belt said she decided to pair the artists in an exhibition because their work is similar in their abstract nature, but different in others, such as in media used and colors chosen.

"I thought it was a, you know, kind of an exercise in contrast," she said.

She described Batista's paintings as abstract figures, flowers and landscapes bursting with color, whereas Flexner's pottery is more controlled.

FUNCTIONAL ITEMS
Most of Flexner's pieces in the exhibition are functional items, such as teapots and bowls, Belt said, and she uses a more limited color palette than Batista. Her ceramics are not necessarily abstract, but they are unique objects that were influenced by abstract elements of form, she said, describing a bowl created by Flexner as an example.

"That's a candy bowl," Belt said, "but that's not what you think of when you think of a candy bowl."

Despite the artists' differences, which Belt said represents a kind of point/counterpoint relationship, both are similar in the source of their artistic influence.

"They both reflect the influence of their heritage," she said.

The exhibition opens with a 6-10 p.m. reception Friday, and runs daily through Aug. 29. For more information, call 528-6336.

"?Will Holland  

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