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Oklahoma Contemporary
Obstruction (2010) by Keli Mashburn
A black-and-white photograph depicts a handful of scrubby trees on an open prairie, with dark poles sticking out from the ground

New Light

Nov. 04, 2020

Lays of the Land

Learn more about the Oklahoma Contemporary's Shadow on the Glare exhibition and see it before it's gone
A masked figure holding a clipboard speaks in front of photographs hanging in an art gallery
Oklahoma Contemporary Curatorial Fellow Pablo Barrera speaks during a virtual gallery tour of Shadow on the Glare in the Mary LeFlore Clements Oklahoma Gallery at Oklahoma Contemporary.

In the N. Scott Momaday poem "Plainview: I," the Oklahoma literary giant writes: "There falls a final shadow on the glare / A stillness on the dark, erratic air." Oklahoma Contemporary's inaugural exhibition of photo and video works by Oklahoma artists takes more than its title from this line of verse, exploring the way these artists navigate light and space in relation to the landscape of our home state.

"[Shadow on the Glare] serves to show the way these artists use their medium of photography to push their artistic interpretation beyond just mere representation," said exhibition curator Pablo Barrera in a Thursday Night Late gallery talk. "Instead, they take the medium of photography under multiple different themes and variations in order to showcase their vision of the place they call home."

The result is an arresting group show of deeply diverse artists whose unique perspectives illuminate something new about the light and landscape of the 46th state. From the dramatic cityscapes of Gary Mason (nosamyrag) to Kelli Mashburn's meditative prairie fires, the otherworldly creations of Sam Charbonneau and more, Shadow on the Glare responds to the themes of light and space explored in our inaugural exhibition, Bright Golden Haze, putting emerging Oklahoma artists into conversation with their globally recognized peers.

A close-up photo depicts a spider interacting with discarded food
Josh Tonsfeldt's video installation, Quentin — on display in Oklahoma Contemporary's Shadow on the Glare exhibition — captures with disarming detail the minute experiences of a family reunion in northeastern Oklahoma. In this captured image, a spider interacts with discarded food from a family picnic.

"Light is one of the most fundamental elements necessary for photography. One cannot create or re-create the images and the subjects they hope to represent without light," Barrera said. "That beholdenness to light is part of the reason why photography was chosen as a particular medium for this exhibition regarding the themes of Bright Golden Haze on the second floor."

For creators like Josh Tonsfeldt, the only artist with works on display in both Bright Golden Haze and Shadow on the Glare, the medium of photography offers an opportunity to explore new perspectives on the familiar. "It's all about observation and going out into the world and finding new ways of looking at things that might otherwise seem very familiar to you, or things that might seem very banal or uninteresting," he said. "I think that, in a way, led me to look at objects or materials you might not otherwise consider or find so interesting to look at, and reconsider them."

Shadow on the Glare ends its run on Nov. 30, giving visitors just a few more weeks to experience this unforgettable show for themselves. Reserve your free, limited access timed tickets now and learn more about a few of the exhibiting artists and their work in Barrera's virtual gallery talk below.


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Oklahoma Contemporary Shadow on the Glare Pablo Barrera photography


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