There's something for nearly everybody in a show of paintings by B.J. White, mixed-media works by Michi Susan, masks by Patrick Riley and sculpture by Holly Wilson — all of whom are among the state's master artists.
The four-person exhibit, which has a strong feel of autumn, is on view through the month of October at JRB Art at the Elms gallery, 2810 N Walker.
Oklahoma City artist White's acrylic paintings on canvas are semiabstract but have a strong landscape feel, dealing with such politically charged issues as urban sprawl in her “Habitat” series and others.
Clean, bare-limbed, stylized black and red trees stand out dramatically in front of flat white and red backgrounds, in three 48-by-48-inch works from White's “Red Tree Trilogy,” which may be hung together as a triptych.
Flame-hued, aspen-like branches seem to have been uprooted and be ascending, over the dark land toward a fiery skyline, suggesting some kind of forest fire, in White's “Out of Context Revisited” acrylic.
Closer to the “color field” style is White's “The Hatch,” a 60-by-40-inch canvas in which multicolored, birdlike “v” shapes seem to be rising, taking wing over the flat red picture plane.
Painted on upstretched pieces of paper, with holes for hanging, that make them seem to float, the works in Susan's “Landscape Tapestries” series have a lighthearted, celebratory feel.
A colorful, striped, crane-like bird stands over the quaint folkloric buildings in a village, as if trying to protect them from harm, in a charming landscape by Susan, a Japanese-born, longtime Oklahoma City artist.
Another almost Marc Chagall-like landscape by Susan contains such imagery as a miniature green stringed instrument, tiny figures, a line of eyes, and fabric patterns, enclosed within divided yet connected areas.
Silver and gold metallic shades, plus beads and other decorations, interact well with rich stains and natural colors in the stitched leather masks of Riley.
An array of hanging, beribboned small masks, hung from a support structure, provides a good focal point for Riley's one-room show, while larger, powerfully evocative masks are displayed on the walls or a pedestal.
Particularly powerful is the side-by-side, one-two visual punch of glowering “Buffalo Bull” and “Silver Eagle” masks by Riley, an Oklahoma City artist and art educator for more than 50 years.
Less festive and more psychologically probing are Yukon artist Wilson's small “lost wax” cast bronze figures, displayed on wooden sculptural objects, wall boards or panels, which deal with “nature, culture and family.”
Challenging viewers is her sculpture of a young female in a red dress, facing away from us toward the wall, as she asks herself, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”
The show is highly recommended.
— John Brandenburg