Tulsa based Patrick Gordon isn’t your mother’s painter, though he might appeal to her. Reworking traditional still life with subversive eccentricity, the Oklahoma native depicts clear plastic wrap with the same romantic realism as the roses it protects. Born in Claremore, OK, Gordon graduated from the University of Tulsa in 1974 with a BFA in painting and worked almost exclusively in watercolor from that time until the late 90s. Then Gordon struck oil. He swapped his paper in for canvas (a very large one) and painted what would be the first of his Drag Queen Series. Decked out in a deep blue ball gown and pearls, “Mrs. Lennox” stood dignified; owning his corner of the room next to a black and white cat. Variations on this theme would continue into the mid-00s coinciding with a move to NYC. Despite this exciting detour, Gordon eventually moved back to Tulsa where he continues his still life exploration albeit with the oil and massive canvases of the Drag Queen Series. Gordon’s brush is careful, precise. His colors paradoxically flamboyant and familiar. The confidence of a master transferred to vases, rose petals, plastic ephemera, and wall paper radiates from larger-than-life canvases.
Metal, canvas, nails, and stitches make up the underlying layer of the work of Jeanie Gooden. This is then worked over with healthy amounts of color. Though this color application is rooted in Abstract Expressionism, she navigates the relationships between color field and action painting as a dialogue. Originally from Oklahoma, she now splits her time between San Miguel and Tulsa. While both cities are virtually center in their respective country’s land mass, both are (of course) vastly different cities. Tulsa’s art scene is on the rise while San Miguel is known for its Spanish architecture that dates back to the 1700s. If it’s difficult to see the visual influence from these different locations, that’s because it’s better found in her practice. Gooden’s work is physical, to hear her tell it: “I’m constantly trying to find a movement or a voice.” It’s found in an impulsive splatter of white shattering a long-suffering green. It’s found in the nails that fix her metal to the wood contrasting her fabric stitches that heal her canvases together. Gooden lives and works in both Tulsa and San Miguel.
Argentinean-born artist Pancho Luna has shown all over the Americas and in the UK, but he always comes back to his grandmother’s library. As a small boy, he began to find her collection of books interesting in their material presence rather than their contents. This curiosity drives his artistic pursuits today. Luna’s work is difficult to describe precisely because doing so sounds either mundane or fantastical: it looks a lot like a bookshelf, it also looks a lot like someone projected a kaleidoscope onto a wall. Technically it’s the prior, aesthetically the latter. Luna takes blocks of both clear and colorful acrylic in varying sizes, adheres an image of a book’s spine, and organizes them not unlike a professor onto an acrylic shelf. The resultant piece is captivating; light, image, and text are refracted, bent, and thrown around responding to every maneuver of the viewer. Not that this is all spectacle, the spines chosen for each piece weave complex unions and disparities. One centerpiece book (title illegible but with a seal from Buenos Aires) sits between a book that reads “sculpture” and another garbled with alphabet characters, as if to both reveal and conceal an identity, a meta-joke, or a comment on the “language” of sculpture. Luna knows that meaning, like light, image, and text, can be refracted, bent, and thrown around.