For almost two decades, cubes defined Eric Wright's workplace reality.
Now, they are an integral part of his artwork.
The El Reno sculptor incorporates concrete cubes and found objects into many of his pieces, which are typically autobiographical and universal explorations of life.
“I worked for AT&T for 17 years and nine months in an office cube, and it's a confining space. It's also confining the person, more as an analogy. People are working jobs that might not necessarily be the path that they want to be on; they're in debt or Mom and Dad pushed them in that direction ... and their dreams end up being suppressed,” said Wright, who left his corporate career in 2008.
“Each cube is like a character, so if something is attached, it's like that character built it itself based on what it knows. So it's kind of a crude sensibility.”
From the roughhewn to the elegant, the shape is the thing in the new group exhibition “Geometrix: Geometry in Art” at the Satellite Galleries inside Science Museum Oklahoma. The exhibit features the art of six Oklahomans — Wright, Bryan Boone, Dan Garrett, Klint Schor, Noel Torrey and David Bizzaro — who all use different media, styles and techniques but incorporate geometric shapes in their work.
The exhibit will open with a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. The event is free and open to the public.
The museum is debuting “Geometrix” in conjunction with its Geometry Playground, which is also on its second floor, said Scott Henderson, the museum's new Satellite Galleries director. The popular playground, which opened June 30, incorporates shapes and spaces to teach spatial reasoning through interactive play. Bizarro has been working with the local nonprofit OHM Space to create a hands-on aspect to “Geometrix,” too.
“This shows another side of geometry that kids don't see all the time. It kind of shows the attractiveness behind math and what's beautiful without math. Because without math, none of this would be possible,” Henderson said.
“I'm an artist himself; I grew up painting and still do. But you don't realize a lot of the construction behind these pieces when you see them. By working intimately with these artists and questioning them and having them turn in their sketches, I've learned a lot.”
With his ties to the state arts community, Henderson was able to pull together a sextet of artists whose works are varied but complementary and prominently feature shapes. The pale walls and display pedestals in the Satellite Galleries are emblazoned with sketches that offer insights into the math that went into the pieces.
“That's what I do. It's architectural, mechanical, structural work. Getting started, I'll go find an architecture magazine. ... That's usually where I find my inspiration. I wanted to be an architect when I was a kid. I just am constantly in awe of the things we make in our culture, the big things, buildings and bridges and all of our infrastructure,” said Boone, an Oklahoma City mixed-media artist who primarily uses acrylic paint, pencil and pen on his canvases.
“I love the Geometry Playground. I think it's great. I've been getting lots of photos of it for inspiration. This experience could cause me to change what I'm doing next.”
A business trip about a decade ago inspired Torrey's vivid oil and watercolor canvases featuring brightly colored circles organized in precise grids.
“I brought my watercolor paints and some paper with me, and I wanted to paint but I didn't want to paint anything representational. I had a ruler and I just made a grid of squares and then I drew these little concentric circles. I started laying transparent layers of color down and just kind of experimented with what happened,” said the Oklahoma City painter. “Where two layers of color cross, they create ... a third color where the transparent layers interact.”
In contrast to Torrey's multicolored paintings, Schor crafted a collection of white geodesic lights called “Lumi-knots.” To make the LED light fixtures, he folded polystyrene strips, using the tension of the material and a few small rivets to hold their curvy shapes.
“That kind of skill comes naturally to me because I'm always playing with the limits of materials,” said Schor, an Oklahoma City artist. “That's kind of the magic of it. That's kind of what makes it interesting to look at, is that you wonder ‘how was it done?'”
The geometry theme effectively unites the diverse styles of the sextet and shows some ways artists use science and mathematics in their work, Wright said.
“I think it's nice to introduce art into a venue that is not necessarily for art or that you wouldn't expect fine art to be there,” he said. “It can expose people to art who might not go to other museums and to realize that you can make art out of geometry and math.
“It's not all about pretty pictures.”
“Geometrix: Geometry in Art”
When: Through Jan. 14.
Where: Science Museum Oklahoma's Satellite Galleries, 2100 NE 52.
Opening reception: 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Free and open to the public.
Information: 602-3760 or www.sciencemuseumok.com.