Oklahoma Contemporary
Bert Seabourn, Red Tail
a red tail hawk spreads its wings against a blue and white background

New Light

July 21, 2021

Diversity rules the day in ArtNow 2021

A person with white hair and a tattoo on the right arm paints a figure on canvas
Bert Seabourn at Oklahoma Contemporary's fairgrounds location
Bert Seabourn honored with inaugural ArtNow Focus award at exhibition featuring 27 Oklahoma artists

Oklahoma's rich diversity is reflected in the art emerging from the state — it is, after all, home to Native Americans, immigrants, refugees, European Americans and the descendants of slaves. In Oklahoma Contemporary's new downtown home for the first time, ArtNow 2021 lives up to its name by closely reflecting that diversity of background and the variety of work created across the state.

Moving to a biennale schedule with no art sold off the walls, ArtNow 2021 features 27 Oklahoma artists, including 2021 Focus Award honoree Bert Seabourn. This first-time award recognizes the multitalented Cherokee expressionist painter, sculptor and printmaker, who taught at Oklahoma Contemporary for decades, for his contribution to Oklahoma's cultural landscape.

The exhibition, which opens to the public July 30 and runs through Sept. 13, features 115 works by Seabourn and the following artists:

Curated by guest curator Helen Opper and guest curatorial associate Liz Blood, ArtNow 2021 is boldly inclusive and includes startlingly innovative works, ranging from Worcester's nature-inspired bladesmithing and Vo's dreamlike underwater photography to Rojas’ densely layered mixed-media works and Ladwig's innovative furniture design.

ArtNow 2021 features the work of 27 artists whose practices reflect the vibrant diversity of Oklahoma and of contemporary art,” the curators said in a statement. “There is no one style or form of ‘Oklahoma art’ or one type of ‘Oklahoma artist’ — Oklahoma artists are Indigenous, Black, White, Latinx, Asian, Queer, Nonbinary, Immigrants, Native Oklahomans and everything in between. Art made in Oklahoma is a reflection and adaptation of long-held traditional creative practices as well as an indicator of innovative, investigative, global contemporary artistic modes of production.”

A poncho emblazoned with the image of a mother and child against a green backdrop hangs from a metal rod
Hoesy Corona, Climate Poncho Mother, 2020

Visitors will find that diversity throughout ArtNow 2021, not only in the artists' backgrounds, but also in their methods. Korean-American artist Karam uses innovative techniques to create her textured, 3-D canvases. Earles, a Caddo artist, employs centuries-old tribal techniques, avoiding modern conveniences altogether. And Corona, a queer Mexican artist, creates ponchos that depict the environmentally driven diaspora of Latinx people leaving areas impacted by climate change.

“In the spirit of continual evolution, the inaugural edition of ArtNow in Oklahoma Contemporary’s new building embraces a biennial model and expanded format,” said Oklahoma Contemporary Artistic Director Jeremiah Matthew Davis. “Featuring over two dozen artists from across the state, this exhibition celebrates and explores the rich array of creative expression present in today’s Oklahoma. From painting to video, ceramics to jewelry design, this edition of ArtNow is not to be missed.”

Reserve your tickets now at okcontemp.org/tickets.


Bert Seabourn, Red Tail, 2020. Acrylic on canvas. 36 x 48 inches. Collection of the artist. © Bert Seabourn. Photo by Alexis Austin.

Hoesy Corona, Climate Poncho Mother, 2020. Hand cut vinyl on vinyl, plastic rope, and metal rod. 54 x 48 inches. Unique CTP, Ed. of 20. Collection of the artist. © Hoesy Corona. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Tags tags
Bert Seabourn Rea Baldridge Hoesy Corona Chase Kahwinhut Earles Josh Jaiye Farrell Edward Grady Raven Halfmoon Melissa Jacobs Kreg Kallenberger Karam Carrie Kouts Sam Ladwig Kyle Larson Sarah Leis Kalup Linzy Amy Maguire Leigh Martin Simphiwe Mbunyuza Mandy Messina Nicole Moan Audrey Peck Gabriel Rojas Tanni’ (Tyra Shackleford) Scott Vo Dan Worcester XVALA fine art Oklahoma Contemporary Oklahoma City Oklahoma artists

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