In the Classen Ten Penn neighborhood in Oklahoma City, like many neighborhoods, a back-and-forth exchange is happening between graffiti writers and the workers who “buff” the graffiti by painting it over, creating a fresh space for the cycle to continue. Artists Sarah Atlee and Randall Barnes are taking this cycle as inspiration for a new body of collaborative work to be made during the spring Artist in Residence program at Current Studio. Through this program, they receive one month of studio space, curatorial guidance, and financial support to create new work. An exhibition will open with an intimate dinner in the gallery on May 4 and continue through June 8.
Using photographs taken in the Classen Ten Penn neighborhood and fabric from nearby thrift stores, the artists are creating quilts based on images of walls where graffiti has been “buffed.” Through this process, they examine a divisive phenomenon and transform the evidence into objects signifying connection and inclusion. Cold, hard walls become warm, soft quilts.
The artists invite neighbors to participate in this dialogue. What do they think about graffiti? What does the buff mean to them? How does it affect their views of the neighborhood? These conversations will influence the artists as they work. During Current Thursdays: Quilt Show & Tell on April 13, 6-9 pm, the artists invite the public to bring their own quilts and share their stories.
Embrace will open with a limited seating Artist + Chef Dinner on Thursday, May 4 at 7 pm. Guests will dine with the artists in the gallery before the exhibition opens to the public. The vegetarian meal is inspired by the artwork and prepared by Patrick Clark II of Red Cup. Seats at the dinner are $100 and reservations are required.
The exhibition opens to the public with a free reception during Current Thursdays: Embrace on Thursday, May 11, 6-9 pm. Food is provided by The Wedge Pizzeria and attendees may also visit working artist studios at Next Door Studios and Current CO-OP.
Embrace will also be available for viewing during Sunday Soup on May 21 at 6 pm. This regularly occurring event helps fund upcoming Current Studio projects through a community meal. Sunday Soup is sponsored by Elemental Coffee. Reserve your seat with a suggested donation of $10.
Current Studio, located at 1218 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73107, is an experimental art space founded by artist-curators Kelsey Karper and romy owens. Location is sponsored by Mason Realty Investors. Current Studio experiments with new models for sustainable contemporary art practices and conversations about art, community, and problem-solving.
Current Studio is open with free admission May 5-June 8, Thursday-Sunday, Noon-6 pm.