Ouachita Baptist University’s Department of Visual Arts is hosting six Arkansas artists for an abstract art exhibit, “Abstract ARt,” through March 29. The exhibit will be in the first floor Rosemary Gossett Adams Gallery in Moses-Provine Hall and is free and open to the public. The exhibit will coincide with another abstract art exhibit featuring Tony Smith, an artist from Liverpool, England. Both of these exhibits feature abstract art and will play off the same artistic themes.
“Abstract ARt” will feature Dustyn Bork from Batesville, Ark.; Justin Bowles from Little Rock, Ark.; Robyn Horn from Little Rock, Ark.; Sam King from Fayetteville, Ark.; Marc Mitchell from Fayetteville, Ark.; and Steven Wise from Rogers, Ark.
Guests will be able view a wide range of contemporary art including painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking. Each of these artists’ pieces continue a history of abstract art that rose in the early modernism of the 1900s and has transformed through history to the newer forms of abstraction that have been emerging since 2000.
“They will be nonobjective, nonrepresentational pieces, meaning they focus first and foremost on being made up of texture, shape, color and such,” explained Donnie Copeland, Ouachita associate professor of arts and chair of OBU’s Department of Visual Arts. “They are not abstract pieces in the sense of making an abstract image of something that is real, even though such works are commonly thought of as being abstract. In the case of these artworks, the artists are thinking of their pieces as being real and present with the audience.”
Dustyn Bork has been recognized as one of the most outstanding artists in Arkansas since moving from Michigan in 2010. His work frequently combines printed patterns with large blocks of color. “I explore cultural notions and decorative elements of design, architecture and pattern in my visual research,” Bork explained. “I am inspired to reveal contrasts of renewal and destruction in the constructed environment. I juxtapose the intentional design of architecture, signs and symbols and the incidental structure of visual forms around us in various stages of decay.” Bork spent time in Italy working as an artist and has been showcased throughout the world.
Justin Bowles creates nostalgic works that use cultural signs and tropes that derive from traditional Arkansas art works such as quilts and textiles used in the home. Bowles is a former Ouachita student and currently is assistant director for student support at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tenn.
Robyn Horn focuses on creating wood and stone sculptures, saying she thinks “in terms of wood and stone, of the things of which nature is made, of the ease with which nature develops into shapes and forms, created throughout centuries of accumulated time.” Horn said she seeks to create effects of light and shadow in her sculptures and focuses on visual grace and structural strength. Horn’s sculptures have been collected and displayed in many museums throughout the nation and world, including The National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England.
Sam King incorporates relationships between color, shape, illusionistic and actual space and his own personal experiences in his paintings, drawings and collages. His works explore unusual spatial relationships, often exhibiting strange, awkward or irksome spaces. King has had several of his paintings displayed throughout the U.S.
Marc Mitchell takes inspiration from contemporary digital culture and combines it with a sense of reminiscence. “I am interested in the ways we navigate the commercial landscape,” Mitchell said. “Each day, there are signs to follow, symbols to consume, people to text and images to take in.” Mitchell has had many of his works displayed throughout the U.S.
Steven Wise will display pieces reflecting a wide range of art styles. All of his pieces are titled alphanumerically, using both letters and numbers. His art investigates the abstract language of color, line and form, displaying a playful lyricism. Wise has competed in several competitive exhibitions throughout Arkansas and has had work accepted into the Viewing Program of the Drawing Center in New York City.
“Abstract ARt” will be in the first floor Rosemary Gossett Adams Gallery in Moses-Provine Hall on Ouachita Baptist University’s campus and is free and open to the public. The gallery is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Donnie Copeland at email@example.com or (870) 245-5559.
By Katie Smith
March 2, 2017