“The Gifts of Time” is the title of a show featuring photographs of “people, rain, livestock and nature” by Sarah Harless in the North Gallery at the Oklahoma state Capitol.
Horses and cattle supply the subjects of many of the best photos by the high school art teacher, married to a cowboy and horse trainer in Sayre, who grew up in Oklahoma City and earned her master's degree at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.
Two saddle horses enjoy their “Break Time” at a water trough in a color picture, and a dark horse looks over the shoulder of a palomino in a brown-and-white toned photo she calls “Companions.”
Suggesting an earlier era of freedom from today's hustle and bustle is her sepia-hued photo of a line of horses “On the Run,” and a color picture of a solitary buffalo in front of fogged-over blue peaks, called “Visions of the Past.”
“No Fences in Your Way” is the evocative title of a second color photo of a herd of buffalo, grazing on pale yellow prairie grass, seemingly protected from the encroachment of contemporary life by ground-hugging fog or clouds, and a ring of blue mountains.
Dealing with the more mundane side of life on horseback are still life-like color pictures of halters and a pair of chaps hanging from horseshoes on a “Turquoise Trailer,” and of a cowboy getting ready to climb onto the empty saddle of a horse because it's “Time to Go.”
A spotted steer stares back at us warily, as if we were about to try to ride it, in a black-and-white photo of “The Contender,” while the daunting, curving horns of one of a group of “Longhorns” make the point for Harless in a color picture.
Excellent landscape color photos direct our attention to a “Lucky Strike” of lightning on dark hills, and to a pair of windmills under a potential storm cloud in a picture she calls “Need for Rain.”
Quieter and less dramatic, but no less appealing, are her color pictures of water trapped by giant, lichen-covered boulders in the “Wichita Mountains,” and of a field of yellow-orange plants or bushes, seen in close-up.
In two more close-up color photos, a “Cattle Guard Sign” is marred by rust and bullet holes, and a spiky cactus plant becomes a kind of “Christmas Tree.”
Sponsored by the Oklahoma Arts Council, the show is well worth visiting during its run through Feb. 3.
— John Brandenburg