Science Museum Oklahoma taps a trio of local artists

In the constantly evolving landscape of Science Museum Oklahoma, new exhibits on gadgetry, chemistry, space and the science of athletics draw the attention of kids and adults alike. The Satellite Galleries, which previously housed exhibits for the International Photography Hall of Fame, have shifted focus to introduce other art forms in a new show featuring a trio of well-known state artists.

Coordinator Rick Sinnett, who directs and organizes events at the gallery, said that decisions are still being made as to what to do with the available space vacated by the IPHF, but in the meantime, the museum wanted to arrange an exhibit with Bert Seabourn, Bill Jaxon and Connie Seabourn, whose large followings he hopes will bring in new audiences.

The museum, in return, will offer enough wall space to showcase vast swaths of their collections and larger-scale works. Painter/printmaker Bert Seabourn said he plans to display 78 works alongside large pieces created by his daughter, Connie.

"In galleries, you don't get enough distance from the work. I don't have many opportunities to show off large works in their best perspectives," Connie Seabourn said. "You need to stand off away from large works, catch people's attention and then draw them in close to see some of the details. Wall space is such a premium at galleries that they don't want to put all their eggs in one basket with one large work. They'd rather have several smaller pieces."

Jaxon said that he's reached a point in his career where he doesn't travel as regularly and appreciates that there are more local opportunities for artists to present their work without leaving the metro. As a Western artist known for figurative paintings with dramatic landscapes, he said a recent rebound in the oil market has contributed to his ability to sell work within the state.

"Being from Oklahoma, I would say if you look at the oil market, that's where your demand has peaked and valleyed," he said. "Western art seems to be tied in with the oil business, and a lot of money is spent on Western art when they have it."

Bert Seabourn's work also taps into Western icons, and he had a American Indian-themed painting picked for the permanent collection in the Vatican's Museum of Modern and Religious Art. The works on display at Science Museum Oklahoma will veer into several diverse subjects, including ballerinas.

Connie Seabourn's work delves into themes of flying and journeys, which she sees as metaphors for maturity "? an idea that resonates with her more as she gets older. Although Science Museum Oklahoma's future as a permanent art venue is uncertain, she said the new show is indicative of an improving climate for professional artists in Oklahoma City.

"There is something going on here," she said. "I've always had a good collector base here, despite how few people we have. They also don't just buy my work here, but when they are out of state and find my pieces, they will buy them there as well."

The Art of Seabourn and Jaxon hosts its opening reception at 6 p.m. Saturday. The exhibit displays through Jan. 4, 2010 at Science Museum Oklahoma, 2100 N.E. 52nd.

"?Charles Martin

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