A look back at Oklahoma Contemporary's inaugural celebration of light and place
Few images from the 1955 musical Oklahoma! are as iconic as the film's cowboy protagonist on horseback, broad shoulders against the blue sky as the "bright golden haze on the meadow" inspires him to burst into song. This opening line from "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" was the inspiration for Oklahoma Contemporary's inaugural exhibition, exploring the way contemporary artists use light to create a sense of space and place. As the first show at our new home at NW 11th and Broadway in downtown OKC — a light-reflecting work of art in itself — Bright Golden Haze set Oklahoma Contemporary's intention to enter its new phase with a bold and beautiful splash.
The landmark group exhibition ends its run today, so we're looking back on a few of our most illuminating stories about the artists and works featured in Bright Golden Haze. While we're sad to see the show close, there's still plenty to explore in our archive of blog content surrounding the exhibition — from video tours to artist interviews, photo galleries and a whole lot more. We've got a few standouts below to help you get started.
Bright Golden Haze: Virtual Tour
From the mesmerizing rotation of Olafur Eliasson's Black glass eclipse to the interactive wonder of Camille Utterback's Entangled, each work in Bright Golden Haze provides a unique perspective on how environment, identity and perception are shaped through the medium of light.
This stunning video by Nils Timm, presented by the exhibition designers at Chu + Gooding Architects, gives viewers a sense of the splendor and surprise that made Bright Golden Haze truly unforgettable.
#ThursdayThree with Yatika Fields
Yatika Fields' own memories of light and land are bound up in works like Eternal Sun, commissioned for Oklahoma Contemporary's inaugural exhibition. A staggering large-scale landscape that feels both organic and out of this world, the work reflects the Osage/Cherokee/Muscogee Creek artist's own experience with jaw-dropping environments across the globe.
In this #ThursdayThree installment, you'll learn how these intimate, fleeting moments with the natural world come to dazzling life in the artist's work, engaging the themes of light, place and space in Bright Golden Haze.
#ArtistSpotlight: Robert Irwin
Irwin's immersive light sculpture Lucky You (2011) cycles through four different variations of colored light, shifting the viewer's perception of the surrounding environment. This has been a hallmark of the artist's, since he pivoted to installation art after launching his career as a painter in the 1950s. “If you’ve been a painter, you learn all these things about how colors act and interact with each other," he told The Los Angeles Times. "Here, we’re playing with light.”
In this #ArtistSpotlight from October, you'll get a sense of how Irwin's spellbinding installations ask us to consider our senses and surroundings.
Illuminations with Eva Schlegel
The disorienting work of this Viennese photographer challenges viewers' perceptions through a delicate play of light and architecture, such as her Untitled (231) on view in Oklahoma Contemporary's delayed inaugural exhibition.
"It's not what it seems. It's not a door where the light comes through," Schlegel said of the work. "If you watch the angles and search for it, they're not right angles. It's not what it should be. But still you have the feeling that it's drawn or it's painted with light and shadow."
In this installment in our Illuminations video series, Schlegel discusses the development of her practice, her collaborations with architects to produce site-specific works and her use of light to create a sense of space.
In the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as we keep our distance from each other in the name of public health, many are left feeling more isolated than ever. But with the limited-access opening of Oklahoma Contemporary's inaugural Bright Golden Haze exhibition, visitors could connect with others safely through interactive installations that bring us together — at a distance.
This blog post from September explores how Oklahoma Contemporary's limited-access, timed-ticketing system allows visitors to experience interactive works like those from Bright Golden Haze at their own pace, with plenty of room to explore.
Want even more Bright Golden Haze content? Check out the full archive here.
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