NORMAN — There is a lively interplay between the conventional and the less conventional, as well as between styles, content and media, in a faculty art show at the Firehouse Art Center.
Beverly Herndon uses the Oriental brushwork genre very well in her ink and watercolor depictions of flowers, a woodpecker on a bamboo stalk, and a “Koi Dance” in water under a blossoming branch.
Fitting into the category of Western art, but fresh and deftly handled, are three oils by Carol Armstrong, including one that offers us a close-up of an American Indian “New Bride” with her groom-to-be.
Two American Indians on horseback ford a stream in the second Armstrong oil, called “Splash,” and an American Indian woman sits on a log with two children, in the third.
Making the tradition of the still life work for her through exquisite technique is Kelli Folsom in her oil panels of a blue and white “Mexican Pitcher with Lemons” and of “An Oriental Vase & Peaches.”
More flat and folk art-like is “Three's a Crowd,” a large, humorously titled acrylic painting by Jane Lawson of a man, wearing outdoor garb, standing in a doorway with two dogs.
Abstract, freely applied fabric rather than paint “Brush Strokes” stand out on a deep maroon background in a needle-felted cloth wall hanging by Bobby A. Anderson.
Abstract, and downright serendipitous, are two small, whimsically gestural, earthen-hued “Tree Bottle” pitchers by Dan Harris, while orange “drips” enliven the surface of his “Crackle Pot.”
Pot-shaped forms also work well for Karyn Gilman, who relies on paper mache rather than ceramic material, to create her collage-surfaced “Burning Bush” and “Grassland” vessels.
Chris Burnett embraces order in a diamond-shaped, kiln-formed glass work, called “The Transfiguration of Blue,” but gives fancy free rein in a glass “Polychromatic Helix,” bracketed by drill bit-like uprights.
Bill Boettcher gives us holes, so that we can look through an untitled, red granite, sunburst-like sculpture, on a wooden stand, and an organic-looking, alabaster sculpture, on a slab of black granite.
Elyse Bogart offers us a striking “Knocker” neckpiece, made from silver and amethyst. Almost equally eye-catching are a silver and agate necklace by Lacy Jo Burgess, and a pearl pendant by Larry Tallent.
Graphically communicating the appeal of Norman street life are Richard Jepsen's black-and-white photos of a downtown diner and a helmeted newspaper vendor, pulling his cart toward us.
Alexis Rodgers brings a nice delicacy of feeling to two small “Hair Pot” vessels, and Joe Cox minimally decorates a small, bulbous, quietly appealing “Seed Pot.”
A Japanese lantern-like shape seems to traverse the picture plane almost cubistically, like an illuminated version of Marcel Duchamp's “Nude Descending a Staircase,” in a drawing by Pamela Bradford. Done in black, white and shades of gray, with a graphite pencil, Bradford calls her understated, but elegant composition, “Descending Lamp.”
Firehouse director Douglas Shaw Elder laminates many layers of polychrome plywood into a dark, one-sided, comma- or teardrop-like shape, cut off by the plane of the base, in a work from his “Totemic Series.”
The 2012 Faculty Art Show is highly recommended during its run through July 28.
— John Brandenburg