There is a fascinating interaction between the real and the surreal, the natural world and the otherworldly, in a 4-person show at Istvan Gallery, 1218 N Western.
On view are landscape photos by Norman artist Marvin Lee, ceramics and other works by Edmond artist Alesa Clymer, and mixed media works by Oklahoma City artists Amanda Bradway and William Struby.
Magnificent mountains provide magnificent backdrops in two superb color photographs by Lee.
Golden, sunlit trees on a hill in the foreground contrast with the cloud-shrouded and snow covered barrier of “Mt.Cook” in the first picture by Lee.
In the second Lee composition, an orange-leaved “Wanaka Tree” rises improbably out of the water in front of a majestic snowy mountain range.Other memorable Lee photos include a small, toned black-and-white study of “Doubtful Sound,” and an intriguing color picture of a long log and other weathered objects lying on the shoreline of “Ship Creek.”
Much more painterly and painting-like are Lee’s altered color photos, printed on canvas, of a blue and green “Rain Tree” with red leaves, and of the hilltop “Church of the Good Shepherd” under a starry sky.
Struby brings a well-honed surreal edge and sense of the absurd to his technically very well executed mixed media collage creations.
In one work by Struby, a hand holds a bird in front of part of a man’s sports coat and a woman’s bare torso, under three women whose smiles are advertisements for cleanliness, mouth freshness, and “Luster.”
In another Struby composition, a little chick looks admiringly up at a very large rooster that is not only “Alright,” but “just about the coolest thing you ever saw,” standing on one leg in front of the rising sun.
Somewhat surreal, too, is Clymer’s ceramic, acrylic and encaustic “Growth Cylinder,” a log-like column with holes in it through which pointed, worm-like creatures seem to be emerging.
No less effective in toying with and stimulating our sensibilities is a rough looking “Earthenware ceramic vessel by Clymer, held up by and filled with natural looking but perhaps painted branches.
Even more charmingly creepy and provocative is Clymer’s “The Early Wurm Gets the Bird,” a graphite and acrylic depiction on panel of a worm-like creature emerging from the ground to menace flying white water birds.
For her part, Bradway combines ornate, deftly executed graphite drawings and sculptural elements with what appear to be small bird and animal skulls in her mixed media wooden wall hangings.
A white animal skull seems to be poised over the top of a triangular mountain, with gesturing hand-antlers, like a bizarre wall trophy, in Bradway’s “The End is the Beginning Again,” to name a case in point.
The exhibit is highly recommended during its run through April 28 at the gallery.
Hours are from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Call 831-2874 or visit the website at www.istvangallery.com for information.