The Way of the Future

On Nov. 16 (that's this Saturday, folks), Lovetts Gallery invites you to Future Earth!

Our latest exhibition features the work of Susan Folwell and Jody Naranjo. The two Santa Clara Pueblo potters are superstars in the contemporary Native art world.

Susan’s work is firmly rooted in the traditions of the Santa Clara Pueblo, though her interpretations of native designs are influenced as much by current world events and her own personality as they are her people’s history. Susan was recently featured in film Pottery Rock Stars, which was produced by the Arizona State Museum.

Jody still uses the techniques and materials as taught to her by her mother, aunts and grandmother. She still digs and processes her own clay. She does not use a wheel, and she pit fires her pots instead of using a kiln. And yet, her designs are at the forefront of contemporary Native pottery and she is acknowledged as a master of the form. Each artist will be debuting 8-10 new pieces at Future Earth, as well as at least one collaborative piece, which is something they have never done before and will be available only at Lovetts.

Future Earth is both the show’s title and context to the work currently being produced by these talented Native artists.

“We need to go beyond selling Indian stuff to people who collect Indian stuff,” Robert Nichols, a Santa Fe art gallery owner and former archaeologist, said in a recent interview. “That’s where the market is and is continuing to go. This is one of the things that needs to happen.

“I hate the term traditional. It’s such a meaningless term. It’s a sales gimmick. There is a tradition in making pottery. There are traditional materials, but there is no one thing that is traditional Indian pottery.”

“This is, in North America, a 2,000-year continuous tradition of making pots. It has never ended,” said Garth Clark , noted art dealer and historian. “When we look at the contemporary side, that’s a small group of artists. That’s your cutting edge. It could change dramatically in the next decade, and I have no doubt it will. “We have a small group of artists in the Indian community leading the charge for ceramic art.”

Susan and Jody are part of that group, which makes sense as they’re cousins and grew up together. Susan’s mother, Jody Folwell, is credited with being a major influence on the current contemporary Native potters.

Being related in this case has extra significance as their family tree includes more than four generations of Native potters. Pottery is definitely in their DNA, as is their need to push boundaries. Let them push yours on Nov. 16.

We’ll see you then.

Trompe-l'oeil (The creepy Halloween short story)

Jack had left early. He’d said something about banks, taxes and traffic, grumbled, then stepped out the back door into the windy October evening. It was about half an hour until closing time, and I told him to watch out for the crazy drivers.

It’d been a slow day, so I’d spent most of it behind the keyboard catching up on inventory and getting photos of the new artwork up on our website. You’d think there’d be an easier way to do such things, but so far, the technology gods hadn’t provided it. So I kept clicking and kept watching the clock. At five of six, I got up and started closing the gallery down.

I had all the computers off and was locking the front door when my phone rang. I dug it out of my pocket, looked at the screen. Jack.

I answered, “Hey, what’s up?”

“I just remembered something. Someone might be coming by right after six to see the … after hours collection.”

He paused, letting what he said sink in. I inhaled, nodded to myself. It had to happen sooner or later, I supposed.

“Okay. I got it.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah.”

“You haven’t been here that long, so if you want me to come back and deal with it, I can.”

“No, it’s fine. Who is it?”

“Don’t remember his name, but he mentioned wanting to see the Angel.”

I winced. “Really? Did you try to talk him out of it?”

“Yes.”

I nodded again to myself. “All right. I’ll take care of it.”

“All right, dude. If you have any trouble, call me. Otherwise, I’ll see you in the morning.”

It’s not that I hadn’t shown the after hours collection, mind you. It’s that I hadn’t done it by myself. No job is perfect, I suppose. I walked back and unlocked the front door, then headed to the fridge in back and got a beer. I popped the cap, then went and camped out on the wooden ramp leading from the upper gallery room to the gallery floor. I leaned back and watched out the window.

Continued here.

Kaleidochromatic, the latest show from Lovetts Gallery, opens Dec. 7, 2013 at 10 am and features the explosively colorful works of Jeff Ham, Erika Pochybova and Benjamin Cobb.

Jeff Ham is no stranger to Tulsa. He’s long been part of the Lovetts family of artists, and last year was featured in the Natureworks show. Jeff has been creating art for most of his life. For a number of years, he was a commercial illustrator, and you have him to thank for Chester Cheetah of Cheetos fame.

Jeff’s work, if you’re shooting for understatement, could be described as “colorful.” He paints loudly – bright reds, purples, blues, oranges, yellows – each color meant to express an emotion and feeling. And when Jeff paints, you spread out a drop cloth and get out of the way. The paintings come together quickly has he hopes to avoid overworking or overthinking each composition. It’s fun to watch.

Then there’s Erika. Her paintings get to the point. Literally. As loose as Jeff paints, Erika applies each dot of paint with purpose and precision. Hers is a modern take on pointillism, blending contemporary compositions and aesthetics with European folk art. Erika’s paintings make you want to do two things: 1) step back to see the entire piece, and then 2) step close to see the detail. With Erika’s work, less is more.

Ben has worked with glass since he was a teenager. He’ll tell you he’s intrigued and inspired by the properties of glass that allow it to be both transparent and opaque. What Ben actually does is capture lightning in a bottle. He makes glass shapes inspired by human organs, and those pieces resemble their subject matter, and then also don’t at all. Some of Ben’s pieces look like alien artifacts. And like Jeff and Erika, Ben’s glass is loaded with color.

All three artists will debut more than eight new works each, and will be creating and speaking in the gallery. If you’d like to see Ben blow glass, he’ll be spending part of Saturday afternoon in the Brady District at the Tulsa Glassblowing Studio. He's also giving a lecture at the University of Tulsa on Friday afternoon, and we'll have specific details on that in the near future.

So December 7 ... mark it on your calendar and prepare your retinas for the color assault they're about to endure. We'll see you here!