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Norman MAINSITE to hold virtual reception for 'OKecoScapes,' 'Neuticles' joint art exhibit

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A painting from "Neuticles" by Richard McKown, which will be featured in MAINSITE Contemporary Art's dual exhibit with Douglas Shaw Edler's "OKecoScapes" through Sept. 12.

MAINSITE Contemporary Art will showcase the work of two Norman artists as the local art community grapples with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Local artist Douglas Shaw Elder’s exhibit, "OKecoScapes," features sculptures and two-dimensional ink drawings inspired by the Oklahoma landscape, said Norman Arts Council Executive Director Erinn Gavaghan. 

Gavaghan said Elder’s sculptures — molded atop plywood to represent the horizon line — depict what you see on the surface of the Oklahoma landscape and what you may see below the ground.

“They're really quite beautiful,” Gavaghan said. “I hope that people come and see it because a photograph just doesn't do it justice.” 

Elder’s work is juxtaposed with coworker Richard McKown’s paintings. Gavaghan said the two men were excited to exhibit their work together after working side by side for over 20 years.

McKown’s "Neuticles" embodies a more narrative style. Gavaghan said McKown’s monochromatic paintings on stretched cotton are set up as stills from his screenplay. The exhibit allows its observers to walk through pathways that guide them through the narrative of the play. 

According to his website, McKown describes "Neuticles" as a “cautionary tale” and “tragic comedy.”

“If you choose to follow along, I ask for your patience and open-mindedness. I hope that you understand that it was put together with the best of intentions,” McKown wrote on his website. 

Gavaghan said the museum is unable to host its usual opening and closing receptions for exhibits due to the pandemic. In lieu of the usual, public event, the gallery will broadcast an artist talk for the exhibits at 7 p.m. Sept. 10 on the MAINSITE Facebook page.

The Norman Arts Council typically supports other art organizations in Norman through grants funded by the city’s hotel tax. Gavaghan said the pandemic has dramatically slowed the hotel and tourism industry, leaving the arts council with a slashed budget and forcing it to reduce its hours of operation.

Until the situation improves, Gavaghan said she hopes the Norman community comes to support the exhibit and the museum.

“Our big focus right now while we're in the pandemic is figuring out a solution to keep the art funded,” Gavaghan said.

"OKecoScapes" and "Neuticles" are on display from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday until Sept. 12 at MAINSITE Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main St. in Norman.

Due to COVID-19, the museum capacity is currently 25 people, and masks are required to enter.

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