Winds of Creation at Norman Arts Council
“A Softer Storm,”by Elise Deringer
Norman’s MAINSITE Contemporary Art Will Be Home To A Localized Meteorological Phenomenon This Month, more about being weathered than weather itself, and resonant despite lacking the immediate impact of a tornado or hurricane – beginning August 8, artist Elise Deringer is sharing “A Softer Storm” with viewers.
It’s something of a homecoming for Deringer – though born on the Florida coast and possessed of a Master’s from Arizona State (“I needed to experience the strangely clarifying impact of living in the desert,” she explains), the OU alumna has had a mental foot in Norman for most of her life so far. “It’s been a real gift of time to be back in Oklahoma, and having the opportunity to show at MAINSITE – a space I have loved for many years, in my hometown – is a really meaningful experience for me.”
Journeying in general has been much on her mind during recent work, especially areas defined less by what they are than what they’re between. “Transitional places are important to me: shorelines, neither in nor out of the water, but both a dividing line and a blurred one. Imagining spaces I know, memories of how I felt in a particular place at a particular moment; these kinds of things arise in me when I’m working. ” Her intent isn’t to replicate the visual appeal of a certain spot in nature, but to allow the experience of being there to shade and shape the forms in her mixed media-on-canvas hangings.
The process of their creation means Deringer never has to worry about repeating herself, as they’re unable to be exactly reproduced thanks to the erosive effects of salt. Each piece is the result of layers of inks, dyes and paints that she applies, washes partially away with salt water and repeats, allowing the natural force to give a sense of time and continual transformation to her work.
The results aren’t meant to be instantly recognizable vistas or representations; they’re meant to be engrossing. “I can’t ask viewers to instantly engage with the work in my chosen headspace. What I can ask, however, is for them to slow down, to let things come into focus, to be willing to look and to look closely. A few moments to perhaps experience a shift in perspective, to recognize that everything changes. Slow down and really see it.”
Get to the Getaway
Deringer’s exhibit has company from fellow former desert dweller Mohammad Javaheri, an Iranian scholar of chemistry before he too began pursuing his creative muse in Arizona. His exhibit, “Line of Flight,” is a tight whirl of motion, stroke upon stroke upon stroke forming abstract and ambiguous surroundings from which figures emerge and into which they melt.
“It offers to the viewer, as it does to me, an experience akin to entering a tangible landscape: an exploration through which all the beings involved are in the process of becoming something new.”
Set Your Sights on Main
Elise Deringer’s “A Softer Storm” and Mohammad Javaheri’s
“Line of Flight” will be on display August 8-September 13
at the Norman Arts Council’s MAINSITE Contemporary Art Gallery
at 122 E Main St – visit normanarts.org or call 360.1162
for more details.