Desmond Mason's capitol gallery art show features bold, abstract works

For The Oklahoman
Modified: May 31, 2012 at 1:59 pm •  Published: May 31, 2012
Desmond Mason’s 10-year career as an National Basketball Association player may be over, but his artistic options are considerable, based on his work at the Oklahoma State Capitol, 2300 N Lincoln Blvd.

A bold use of color and manipulation of paint is found in many of the large, abstract, mostly acrylic paintings in Mason’s “Generation Next: Chapter 1” exhibit in the capitol’s East Gallery.

Six vertical and seven horizontal black marks accent a background that brings to mind a snowy forest in an acrylic and spray paint on wood composition called “Generation Next.”

Offering a commentary on this upbeat-sounding title, written between the marks, is a longer subtext, “The 13th Generation Will Be the Lost Generation,” which is scratched or written near the top of the work.

Reminiscent of a snowclad forest, too, is an untitled acrylic canvas in which evergreen trees are vaguely suggested, in front of a blue-violet winter sky.

Somewhat similar, but more abstract, is “Snowfall in the Forest,” an acrylic in which tiny specks of white paint dust a dark brown paper and canvas surface that resembles rusted metal.

Powerful, too, is a large untitled acrylic canvas in which broad or narrow gray-black and crimson marks provide visual punctuation for the work’s blue and white, sky-like, background spaces.

Even more ambitious are two very large, abstract expressionistic acrylic canvases, called “Nebula’s Aftermath” and a “Tribute to (Mark) Rothko,” which provide the show with giant bookends, of a sort.

Scrapes, streaks, floating marks and blobs of pure paint suggest the “Nebula’s Aftermath” in one, while a white vertical bar separates color field areas in the other, offering an offhand tribute to Rothko.

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