Phil in 

John-Paul Philippé (pictured) departed Henryetta decades ago for the art hubs of New York, London and Japan, but Eastern Oklahoma’s hilly landscapes left an enduring impression that has re-emerged in an exhibition opening Friday at [Artspace] at Untitled, with a 1 p.m. Saturday artist talk and walk-through.

“Being back here brings up all these associations about Oklahoma, and I’m finding that certain motifs are coming out from my past” Philippé said. “I haven’t lived here in a long time, but this has given me an opportunity to engage in Oklahoma — not just in the gallery, but the world I grew up in.”

He arrived weeks ago to design the pieces for Untitled’s unique space. The ability to adapt his work to locations is a specialty he honed while designing store interiors for Barney’s stores worldwide.

For “In Design” at Untitled, Philippé has worked with Oklahoma artists to bring his ideas into reality.

Metalworker Joe Slack assisted with steel sculptures, while J.D. Upton has animated Philippé’s drawings.

“I wanted to see what would happen if I gave someone a few perimeters to work with,” Philippé said, “and then I’ll respond to that.”

Recently leaving New York for rural Connecticut, Philippé has noticed his work shifting to a style reminiscent of Oklahoma days.

“I’ve kind of closed the circle, because I’ve lived in cities since leaving Oklahoma, and now I’ve gone back to the country,” Philippé said. “Working on the land, being surrounded by nature, it is making my work more landscape-orientated again. It’s the same type of work I was doing as a child, but filtered through everything that has happened in between.”

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Charles Martin

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