Oklahoma Contemporary
Low Tide (2020) detail by Danny Rose III
An abstract landscape composed of a circle, a quarter-circle and two rectangular shapes set against a soft yellow approximation of sky

New Light

July 14, 2020

#StudioInPlace: Old Roads to New Worlds

Join Danny Joe Rose III on a virtual road trip through landscapes real and imagined
By Danny Joe Rose III, Studio-in-Place artist
A seated figure in overalls poses for a black and white photograph in an art studio
Danny Joe Rose III

Travel has always played a role in my work, both aesthetically and thematically. I grew up on the plains in a small Oklahoma town, so being out on the land puts me right at home. If I ever feel lost, I can always count on a trip to clear my mind and set me straight.

Experiencing nature on the road is a universal pleasure and such an ingrained part of the human experience. We long to be out there. We long to connect with where we began. But when COVID-19 emerged, the way we travel — along with just about everything else in our lives — changed, seemingly overnight.

Over the last few weeks, I have received beautiful submissions for my Studio-in-Place project from friends, family and strangers. Landscapes and sky scenes have been one of the more consistent themes. I am drawn to these pictures with their vivid colors and gradients. My early pieces are still a work in progress, but they too are looking to the sky and longing for the road.

We might still have the option of traveling locally in these days of physical distancing, but what I really miss are the long trips. Trips where your lower body drifts to sleep from sitting in the car too long and roadside stores become a mecca on the horizon. Trips where you’ve crossed enough planes and time zones to feel like a time traveler. Trips where you’re in a foreign land, lost in translation.

In many ways, spending time with these photographs has given me a tiny moment to leave and be someplace else. I hope they can transport you for a moment as well.

An evening scene in the desert of West Texas, featuring the silhouette of distant mesas beyond a curving lonely road
Travis Longstaff: "This is one of my favorite roadside stops, just south of Alpine, Texas. It is beautiful and always deserted. It is always sad because our trip is almost over, but it is a great way to say goodbye to West Texas."
A black-and-white image of a butte surrounded by water
Andrew Williams: Elephant Butte, New Mexico
An image of a bare tree stump surrounded by desert vegetation on a cloudless day
Emma Difani: "The most New Mexican colors and textures, chamisa: so much sky and sun-bleached wood."
A formation of rock and boulder towers before a blue sky with wispy white clouds
Jen Mauldin: "Moab, Utah — our trek to the rest of our lives. Past, present and future. I love the colors, patterns of the rocks and the hieroglyphics. It is obviously a special place."
A large boulder arch stretches across a blue sky, speckled with patches of snow
David Dean: "Perfect day at one of my favorite national parks, Arches. Perfect memory."

Creating work from open-call submissions has been an exciting new challenge. I love looking at all the places and things people have sent me. In a time when we are spending more time at home, having the opportunity to engage with others digitally has been rewarding.

Although this project had its start in early 2016, what is emerging in this update has been very different. Using the submissions as reference material has challenged me in new ways and given me a more focused approach. I am finding that these new worlds are quieter than the earlier ones and seek to slow us down, if only for one moment.

I'll be sharing a few finished pieces in the coming days, along with hosting a live Studio Visit with Oklahoma Contemporary. Be sure to tune into the livestream on Wednesday, July 15 at 3:30 p.m. on the Oklahoma Contemporary Instagram page.

Danny Joe Rose III is an artist and educator living in Oklahoma City, best known for his shapeshifting paintings and minimalist collages. His work is inspired by colors and forms found in nature, specifically landscapes and memories from his travels.

He holds a BFA from the Art Institute of Dallas, and his work has been included in both national and international group exhibitions. Danny has had solo exhibitions at Jen Mauldin Gallery, Artspace at Untitled, The Charles W Eisemann Center for Performing Arts, Galleri Urbane and others. Danny has been a visiting educator at Oklahoma City University, Chandra Kumala International School and Art Class Dallas, and he will soon join the Oklahoma Contemporary as a Studio School instructor. He has been an Artist-In-Residence at Artspace at Untitled, the Guapamacátaro Center for Art and Ecology, the Moon Mansion Dallas, the Paseo Plunge and Oklahoma City University. Danny is represented by Objets Trouvé gallery in Oklahoma City.

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