The Oklahoma State Art Collection, which opened on Nov. 17, includes more than 100 works of art. Its gallery space in the Capitol is the first permanent home for the collection, which started in 1971. Previously, selected works were shown at the Omniplex and in traveling exhibits.
"It tells our story and brings to light that our collection is a young one," said Amber Sharples, the Oklahoma Arts Council visual arts director and exhibit curator. "We have lots of art from the Sixties and Seventies, and we're still acquiring artwork. I think it's important to highlight what was happening in art at the time the collection was established."
The mission of the Oklahoma State Art Collection is to preserve the works of artists who have a meaningful connection to the state and to be an educational resource for Oklahomans and the art world.
"All of the artists in the collection were either born in or trained in or spent a significant amount of time producing art in our state," Sharples said.
The Oklahoma State Art Collection's initial acquisitions in the Seventies were purchased by the Oklahoma Arts and Humanities Council through a National Endowment for the Arts grant. As a result, there is a strong emphasis on art from that time period, including:
" abstract expressionism,
" geometric abstraction,
" optical art and
" post-painterly abstraction.
"You can see a lot of experimentation with color and people challenging the traditional canvas space," Sharples said.