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JRB Art at The Elms Presents On The Surface

July 25, 2017 - Joy Reed Belt

JRB Art At The Elms Presents On The Surface

Featuring: Larry Hefner, Behnaz Sohrabian, and Laura Nugent

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma – The August exhibit of JRB Art at Elms will feature the work of three very skilled artists whose work often appears to the casual eye to be different than it does under closer scrutiny. The exhibitions will open with a reception from 6:00 until 10:00 pm on First Friday, August 4th, 2017, during the Paseo’s First Friday Gallery Walk and will be on view until August 28, 2017. Featured artists are: Larry Hefner, Behnaz Sohrabian, and Laura Nugent. Additionally, we have events that are free and open to the public in our Beyond Art Series: Artist Talk & Demonstration with Larry Hefner on August 12th and Artist Talk & Demonstration with Behnaz Sohrabian on August 20th.

When approaching Larry Hefner’s large, powerful abstract paintings the viewer often assumes that the work is three dimensional.  However, at close view, the viewer is presented with a somewhat glossy, smooth almost sleek surface. Hefner, Professor Emeritus of Graphic Design at the University of Central Oklahoma, has continued to experiment with forms and finishes since working on his MFA at the University of Oklahoma. Larry’s work reminds us of the “glass” paintings of his mentor and professor at the University of Oklahoma, Eugene Bavinger.  Like Bavinger, Larry exhibits a lifelong preoccupation with the properties of light and color and their interactions with the geometry of shapes and forms. What appear to be spontaneous shapes and colors are often the result of computerized experimentation which occurs before the paint is placed on the canvas. The images which are taken from life and nature are not readily recognizable. But sometimes the artist gives us a clue to the content in the title of the work.

A perennial favorite of JRB Art, Behnaz Sohrabian, whose colorful lush figures and abstracts never fail to please, is presenting a series of women’s faces that are beautifully appealing and, “without a care in the world”. But on closer inspection we see in their faces feelings and perhaps situations that are not superficially apparent. In fact, we cannot look at these women without creating a story about them. Behnaz was born and raised in Tehran, Iran, where she started painting as a small child. Her passion for art drove her to complete Bachelor Degrees in Art and Applied Chemistry and a Master’s Degree in Art Studies. She moved to Oklahoma as a young woman to be near her family.  When asked to describe her work Behnaz comments: “My work is about me, my life---about being a woman.” Behnaz paintings women as strong people with depth, power and options.

Kansas City artist, Laura Nugent’s work is all about the surface.  She collects abandoned wood, used canvases, and sand, scraping them with several different tools to create new surfaces.  Additionally, she layers her paintings with paint or plaster like mediums before assigning a meaning or a narrative to the work. She describes her work as aerial-view landscapes and tapestries that are tributes to ordinary objects. She believes that it is her responsibility as a painter to make small moments in life spectacular. Painting has been a lifelong pursuit for Laura who began her formal training in art as a young teen.  She graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a degree in painting and has lived and created art all over the world.

 

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JRB Art at The Elms presents a diverse roster of emerging, established, and internationally exhibited artists who create in a wide range of media including: paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, glass, fine crafts, functional objects, fiber art and photographs. This 8,000-square foot award-winning gallery in Oklahoma City’s Paseo Arts District changes its exhibits monthly in a gracious environment that fosters a dialogue between the arts and the larger community while providing quality art for first time buyers as well as individual, corporate and museum collections.

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