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Art unwraps hidden gems

By Susen Foster

A while back you were introduced to Simply Oklahoma, an art gallery of unique proportions and vision. Its Guthrie location, off I-35 in the north central part of the state, makes putting a visit to Simply Oklahoma on your calendar an easy decision since the historic city is an easily reached, well-known travel destination.

Today I will introduce you to several reasons why the Robisons' dream became a reality--the artists and artisans themselves. Carie and Randy, who are both talented artists, took time while working at their own careers to re-create a 12,000-square-foot historic 19th century building into an exquisite showcase for Oklahoma artists.

As the saying goes, "build it and they will come," and so they did. There are now thousands of creations from over 140 Oklahoma artists and artisans on exhibit at 108 South Division in Guthrie at Simply Oklahoma Art & Crafts.

It would take volumes to tell you about all the fascinating characters whose talents extend beyond imagination; and believe me when I tell you they are each as unique as their works of art. So I chose a couple of ladies who have very different ways of presenting their view of the world around us.

Sharon J. Montgomery explains in her own words, "I create assemblages with found objects on wooden stages generally painted as checkerboards. Incorporating mirrored Plexi-glass to represent color fields seen in the human aura, I draw symbols from spiritual traditions representative of the different walks of life. The ageless, mystical, one-eared, baldheaded Lollypop Man is central to my work. His soul-searching experiences are a narrative that instructs and guides. He can change colors as well as body shape. He loves to tease by deconstructing our realities and creating alternatives that feed our emotions and spirit."

Linda Rous is the Mother of "No-Face Dolls" who she refers to as "My People."

"These are not idols, kachinas or toys. They are keepers of history and teachers of morals and tradition. No face indicates an overall message of vanity--because what is in the heart is more important than what is seen on the surface. My People are carved by hand with only a small knife; one at a time so they may receive their spirit as each one emerges from the wood."

Did you know that I, too, am an artist whose creations are on exhibit at Simply Oklahoma? I design jewelry created solely with natural stones. Each step in the life of the stones I use is unique and virtually unrecognizable from the last. The earliest stage I might use is a broken piece of untouched rock; from there flow many choices. My art often includes a variety of stages within one creation. Cut and rough to shaped, and tumbled; the differences are almost magical. Colors come forth that are unseen in the original form. And amazing worlds exist inside the stone. It is a passion.

There are about 140 more Oklahomans who have poured their hearts into their personal vision of beauty and truth, and are fortunate enough to be showcased at Simply Oklahoma for all to see. For a glimpse of this magic visit www.soartgallery.com or www.facebook.com/simplyoklahoma. There are frequent events at the gallery and in Guthrie. You can call the gallery at 405-260-1558 or check out www.TravelOK.com for more information.

Editor's note: Susen Foster is the owner of Pecan Cottage Bed & Breakfast in Pauls Valley, Okla. She is the author of numerous travel books. Susen can be reached at www.greatersuccess.com or call 580-622-5408.

Date: 8/20/2012



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