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National Weather Center Biennale exhibit opens in Norman

Art inspired by weather focus of national juried art show on view in Norman
BY JOHN BRANDENBURG Modified: April 26, 2013 at 4:30 pm •  Published: April 27, 2013
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— There are some spectacular images of tornadoes and other severe weather, and quite a few surprisingly subtle and indirect approaches to the subject, in the National Weather Center Biennale exhibition.

Dealing with “the impact of weather” on our experience, the 100 works in the show, depicting everything from dramatic tornadoes to drops on a windshield, are on view at the National Weather Center.

Falling into the latter category are the circles of water and balls of green and yellow light, presumably from “Pershing Square, Los Angeles,” seen through glass, in a large colored pencil drawing by Elizabeth Patterson.

Patterson said in the catalog that the “Best of Show” work is part of her “rainscapes” series, based on watching and taking reference photos of windshield “patterns created by water and night light” during rainstorms.

A Pennsylvania native who has lived in Los Angeles since 1979, Patterson began drawing again in 1999, after overcoming a severe injury that resulted in the complete loss of the use of her drawing hand.

Patterson will receive a $10,000 cash prize for the “Best of Show” composition, which was done on vellum paper, and a one-page ad for her work in Southwest Art Magazine.

Equally offbeat are the tops of some eight anonymous gray-white cars, and one yellow car, which seem to be partly submerged in murky gray water, in an oil panel by Tom Berenz, of Madison, Wis.

“Society's ambivalent attitude of both pillage and protection lies at the thematic heart of my work,” Berenz said of the enigmatic, but evocative oil, called “Flooded Car Lot,” which won the show's $5,000 best painting prize.

Small and understated, but well handled, is a pastel on paper by Tom Heflin of dark gray “Approaching Winter Storm” clouds, lowering viselike over a furrowed corn field, a distant farm and a thin red horizon line.

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