Oklahoma Contemporary
Media tour of Nature's Course
A group of media people with large cameras and phones gather around the title work of the show. The piece has bright, yellow sunflowers at the bottom, a bright, blue sky with eagles soaring up top and charging bison in the foreground.

New Light

April 20, 2022

Inside Newsom's World: Media Tour

Tap into the artist's process and learn insider deets from the Nature's Course media tour

John Newsom’s Nature’s Course is an exhibition filled with “wonderment,” inspiration and conceptual depictions of living motifs. But how did these paintings come about? Where do they start? What was the process? Why do some have geometric figures and others not? Which is the last section to be painted? Is the process evolving, shifting into something different? The artist himself took Oklahoma media and Oklahoma Contemporary friends on a guided tour, talking geometry, landscape, music and more.

Sweeping installation view of the gallery with 11, large-scale paintings in view, including a pack of wolves on a red background and an autumnal scene of towering corn stalks with orange squares and field mice below
Installation view of Nature's Course

During the tour, Newsom and Director Jeremiah Matthew Davis dive deeply into half a dozen works and touch on aspects of many of the 31 paintings in the show — and where Newsom’s large-scale practice might go next.

“You’ll see the heavy texture in these triangles. You’ll see the heavy texture in the Father Figure painting,” Newsom says, “and that’s the geometry talking to me telling me they want to evolve, they want to become something else.”

A large bison head and shoulders take up most of the image. There is a gradient orange sky behind the bison who is framed by four white scissortails.
John Newsom's Homecoming (2021) (detail)

“Jeremiah had said there’s the garland of scissortails around the bison; there’s the eagles behind the other group of bison. And that, I see, as shapes becoming echoed in forms of naturalism. The bison paintings are the first examples of that — they don’t have the geometry in them, but these are acting as structural forms in the same way.”

Watch the tour below for insights and behind-the-scenes details from the creator of these monumental paintings. Want more? Check out our recent blogposts and explore media coverage of the exhibition, including this feature in Maxim. Then head to the galleries and witness Newsom’s world for yourself.


Installation view of the title work with the artist John Newsom during the media tour. 

John Newsom's Homecoming (detail), 2021. Oil on canvas. 84 x 60 in. © John Newsom. Photo: Alex Marks. 

Installation view of Nature's Course, including Harvest (2011-2016), Dense Armor (2008-2009) and In the Blood (2011-2013). © John Newsom. Photo: Alex Marks. 

Media tour of Nature's Course with Director Jeremiah Matthew Davis and artist John Newsom. Video: Dennis Spielman.

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