MAINSITE: Works: O. Gail Poole, Transitions: John Seward, September 10th – October 30th, 2010

MAINSITE Contemporary Art is pleased to announce the exhibition of works by artists O. Gail Poole, and John Seward, Seward show titled “Transitions”.
Exhibition dates: September 10th through October 30th, 2010.
Opening Reception: Friday, September 10th, 2010, 6-10pm
Midway opening event: October 8th, 2010, 6-10pm
Both events are a part of the Norman Arts Council 2nd Friday Circuit of Art.

O. GAIL POOLE
“Poole,” as he is affectionately known by his friends and collectors, has painted for more than half a century. A native Oklahoman, born in the small town of Marlow in 1935, many of his works depict both the landscape and the subtle attitudes of the untamed Southwestern plains. A dedicated artist, untamed in his own right, Poole successfully manages to transcend easy and traditional classification. Of his work, Poole simply states, “I am influenced by the world around me, and the world always provides me with new information.”  He thus nurtures his passions for artistic experimentation and design and has quietly, steadily created a diverse and inspired body of work – an artist’s portfolio eagerly collected and highly respected by his art peers across the country.

Prior to making the decision to become a full-time artist, Poole worked as an award-winning advertising artist and illustrator for almost two decades.  He created and served as chairman of the Oklahoma City Art Directors Guild, and opened a groundbreaking advertising art studio in Oklahoma City, Poole-Hobbes, Inc., which grew to be the most influential and creative studio of its kind in the state. In 1972, Poole was invited to participate in an international exhibition of Western art in Düsseldorf, Germany. That show was a catalyst for Poole; it encouraged him to abandon the creative limitations of advertising art and forge a new career as a full-time fine arts painter. Since that time, he has become an internationally sought-after talent, both as an artist and an art instructor, respected as much for his mastery as for his love of experimentation. A life-long student himself, Poole has personally enjoyed the tutelage of some of the finest American artists, including his mentor and great friend, the late Richard V. Goetz, as well as Mark Daly, David Leffel and Sherrie McGraw, to name just a few.

Sherrie McGraw describes Poole eloquently. She says, “Poole’s artwork directly reflects his renegade attitude throughout his entire life. His work demands closer examination as his style changes as frequently as the Oklahoma wind. In a commercial world, this diversity is not understood. The public demands – or perhaps it is the demand of marketers – that an artist stick with one vision so the work can be easily pegged. This easy identification of one’s painting is an untenable position for Poole, who has never been one to take direction from anyone. Though in demeanor, he is polite and gregarious, do not be fooled. O. Gail Poole is a maverick and is, as yet untamed. Perhaps, he is like a volcano at rest, occasionally letting off a puff of smoke or steam, a glimmering of molten lava, waiting for the moment to fully express his passion within. I am honored to know such a talent as O. Gail Poole.”

John Seward
John Seward, 'Transduced'

JOHN M. SEWARD
John Seward was born in Oklahoma City, OK in 1950. Throughout school, his interests included music, science and art, which were nurtured at Putnam City Schools.  He attended Oklahoma City University where he majored in psychology. John married Mary Walsh in 1971 just prior to beginning a twenty two year relationship as the cofounder of Hobby Lobby Stores.  John’s career as an artist began in high school with courses and competitions including Young Talent in Oklahoma.  He began seriously painting in watercolor in 1970 which resulted in a series of botanical and still life paintings exhibited at local art events including the OKC Festival of the Arts from 1974 through 1982. A growing business refocused his art in the 1970s and 1980s to hand rendered advertisements for Hobby Lobby. Although he continued to paint occasionally, it was not until he retired from Hobby Lobby in 1994 that his interests in painting and photography could be pursued with a full time commitment. John has two photographic bodies of work that premiered in Oklahoma City in 1998, “Deux Fois”, a portfolio of ten images produced as in camera, double exposures and “Homage to Contemporary Painters”, a twenty piece body of work combining painting and photography.  Another body of work, Color Photographic Series #3, consisting of ‘graffitied’ figures was exhibited in Norman at the Mainsite Gallery in October of 2001 and in Santa Monica, CA at the BGH Gallery in January, 2003.  A photographic series, “Distorted Figures” is part of a collective traveling exhibition titled Four Photographers/Four Visions.  Seward both curated and exhibited in a photographic exhibition titled Visions in the Flesh for Mainsite Contemporary Art in Norman in October of 2005.  Many of his other photographic works have exhibited across the US. In 2007 and 2008, he served as the interim executive/artistic director of Artspace at Untitled in Oklahoma City. Seward has served on the board of trustees at several Oklahoma City arts organizations including Allied Arts, Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, Oklahoma Arts Institute, Oklahoma City Ballet, and Artspace at Untitled as well as the Mayors Arts Commission. He is currently working on several photographic series in color and in black and white, printmaking projects and a collection of mixed media works.

Brian Hearn, film curator of the Oklahoma Museum of Art, had this to say about John Seward’s work:
John Seward, most recognized as a fine art photographer, has decades of experience in that medium. Since the 1990s he has quietly been experimenting with various printmaking techniques including intaglio, monotype, and chine-collé. Printmaking opened up new avenues of altering the color, texture, and context of Seward’s predominantly figurative and botanical imagery. In his latest body of work entitled “Transitions,” begun in 2005, the artist plays with the linguistic prefix “trans” in the title of each assemblage.  Seward’s dynamic assemblages repurpose his own photographic imagery with fragments of text in multilayered prints while adding an amusing array of three dimensional found objects: bottle caps, currency, origami, match boxes, insects, leaves, feathers, ticket stubs, etc.; the decorative detritus of nature, culture, and commerce. The neatly composed assemblages suggest sophisticated souvenirs of travel and experience both real and imagined. In the spirit of Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell, and Robert Rauschenberg, “Transitions” reveals a mature artist literally moving across, through, and beyond his own artistic oeuvre.

For more information please contact Christian Pitt, Director at mainsite@mainsite-art.com, or mainsite@gmail.com.
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