Unordinary people 

Cathleen Faubert

Oklahoma’s artists are leaping forward with a larger scope in the latest installment of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s (OVAC) Art 365, which aims to be one of the most ambitious exhibits Oklahoma City has seen yet. Starting February 28, Oklahoma spectators will have the opportunity to visit the highly anticipated exhibit at Oklahoma City’s own [Artspace] at Untitled.

The exhibit features five local Oklahoma artists picked by guest curator Raechell Smith of H&R Block Artspace.

“I reviewed seventy proposals from across the state,” she said. “It was really amazing to get that snapshot of the artistic practices that are going on.”

Smith had the daunting task of selecting just five artists whose ideas span a multitude of genres to tie together and explore the heart of Oklahoma’s cultural identity.

These locally renowned artists include wilderness photographer Bryan Cook, who photographed pristine locations, places and moments; Cathleen Faubert, who collected and distilled material from several of Oklahoma’s various eco regions; Eyakem Gulilat, who used aerial photography to explore the racial, political and socioeconomic impact of Oklahoma City churches and Sunday morning services; Alexandra Knox, who delved into her heritage by traveling to Ukraine to gather artifacts; and Romy Owens, who crafted a room-sized knitted installation to inspire peace and personal reflection.

The Art 365 exhibition is pushing the artists’ ideas to the next level by granting more time, money and resources than ever before.

“One of the biggest goals is to challenge Oklahoma artists to make really strong and innovative work,” OVAC executive director Julia Kirt said. “We want to support them logistically as well as artistically. That’s cash, which is important, but we also want to give them intellectual and critical support from the curator.”

This exhibit is a huge step for all the artists whose ideas very well could grow and evolve into something even more prodigious.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if this grew into a 10-year project that became a museum solo show for one or all of them down the road,” Kirt said.

Kirt hopes the questions posed and ideas explored will connect with the increasingly curious Oklahoma audiences.

“These artists are really exploring identity, community and their own thoughts and feelings,” she said. “I think that kind of super-curious inquiry that they do is something that can translate to viewers if they’re open to it. I think it can lead to a lot of discussion.”

To see that these works stay in the conversation, the exhibition is expanding beyond the traditional viewing experience by offering talks and panel discussions with the artists throughout the exhibition’s two-month run. [Artspace] at Untitled is already prepping for the opening reception and grand unveiling from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday. Art 365 will remain on display until May 10 before it heads to Tulsa’s Hardesty Arts Center.

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