Two uniquely forward-thinking artists collide in Fall Art Show

click to enlarge Two uniquely forward-thinking artists collide in Fall Art Show
Felted Wool Leaf by E.K. Jeong

Istvan Gallery and Verbode are ready to help you take the plunge into the sweater-wearing, cider-drinking nights of fall. To coincide with the one-year anniversary of the Auto Alley Shop Hop, real estate company Verbode partnered with Istvan owner Stephen Kovash to showcase two Oklahoma artists. The office could be considered an unexpected venue until you see the space.

“Verbode looks more like a gallery than a real estate office,” Verbode founder Sarah Bytyqi said in a press release. “It’s laid out for work [and] creative incubation.”

One of the two artists in the fall show is Dr. EunKyung (EK) Jeong, a fabric artist whose love of the tactile side of art — paper and fiber — led her on a journey to surprising places for herself and her audience. Jeong’s mixed-media creations are appealing to the eyes and touch.

Her leaf series has been a labor of love, something she has been drawn to since she was young.

“When I try to get away from it, I always find myself drawn back in,” Jeong said. “Ever since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated by leaves — the texture, so many different colors. You might say that I am obsessed.”

It wouldn’t be the first time she has been accused of it, but Jeong finds that they resound with viewers as well.

“I don’t really make my art to sell,” she said. “But there was this one customer, he took one look at one of my leaf pieces and he bought the whole collection.”

For her day job, Jeong teaches a variety of art courses at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, all in — you guessed it — the art department. She has shown her work all over the world, including the prestigious International Fiber Art Biennial in 2006 and 2008, and won numerous international awards.

In what seems like complete juxtaposition, the other artist in the show, Jesse Whittle, does semiabstract portraits of mundane objects with acrylic paint. His work is on display in several places, including the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee.

Kovash was happy to elaborate on why he selected these two artists and how they go together.

“While both EK and Jesse are art educators, I really put them together for this show because I love their work and it really felt like a good combination for fall,” Kovash said. “I’ve always admired EK’s fiber-based work and was delighted to have the chance to put up this show of felted wool leaves. The colors and shapes are just gorgeous.”

Istvan Gallery, 1218 N. Western Ave., has established a reputation for exposing OKC residents to cutting-edge and nontraditional art forms and artists. This month’s show at Verbode is no exception.

Thursday’s reception — which includes light refreshments and entertainment — is free to attend, and the show runs through October.

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Double-edged show