Photography and Text by Terry “Travels with Terry” Zinn [email protected]
Travel before July 28 to experience the art and intellect of noted Oklahoma artist, Connie Seabourn, at the Oklahoma City University Nona Jean Hulsey Gallery, ion the Norick Art Center. Connie’s exhibition of 45 paintings, “The Feminine Face of God,” shows her thoughts on how God is not limited by gender, race or age.
“Several of the paintings deal with how God/Goddess/Spirit is understood through various religions,“ says Connie. “Myths and cultural stories help explain those things that we individually or as a culture, feel and know, but can’t otherwise explain.” Connie continues, “The overlapping of stories and differing version basically the same stories in various religions makes it even more real to me, rather than making me throw out or questions the entire myth.”
Connie Seabourn is daughter of veteran senior Oklahoma artist Bert Seabourn, and as such has always grown up in an artistic atmosphere. Connie says, “Growing up in a home filed with art and musical influences, I’ve been making art as long as I can remember. Although I was winning awards and selling artworks as a child, I began exhibition in adult competitions and museum shows at the age of 18.”
She received a B.F.A. from the University of Oklahoma and a M.Ed. in art education from the University of Central Oklahoma, in Edmond. Most of her career has been making fine art full-time, she also has taught part –time as an adjunct college professor for seven and a half years and taught art in public schools, grades K – 12 for nine years.
Her intellectual prowess shows itself in this current art showing where her paintings are inspired by “A God Who Looks Like Me,” based on a book by Patricia Lynn Reilly, and “God Holds Us In Her Arms Like a Mother/God Loves us Like a Mother” a reference to Isaiah 49:8-15.
Connie says, “When I pictured God in my mind, He was always male – that is, until Sister Klein told us about early, inspired writings, original texts (many of these from the Bible), that sometimes referred to God as She, which sometimes talked about God loving us as a Mother. That feels right; it rings true. God is neither Father nor Mother, but we can only understand God better by making those familiar comparison. God isn’t limited by gender!”
While the art is influence by traditions and myths, you need not know about or recognize these references to enjoy and appreciate her artistic craft and interpretation. Her ethereal painting style lends itself perfectly for this subject matter, where spirits and classical figures may float faintly around and in her current work.
Connie’s artistic talent doesn’t fall far from her artistic father, Bert Seabourn. In a mission statement Bert says,” Paintings should contest the creative elements. Order versus chaos: contemplative versus emotional; raw versus refined, I try to make each piece of art a unique fusion of design, color, form and composition, using a layering of texture with drips, smears, runs and splatters. The responsibility of the artist is to make a unique experience for himself and the viewer.”
Bert Seabourn’s artistic success is proven with inclusion in the collection of the Vatican, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, American Embassy, London, England, China’s national Palace Museum and Moscow University. In Oklahoma City his 23-foot tall bronze of “Wind Walker” is on exhibit at the southwestern Bell State Headquarters, and is a frequent exhibitor at the 50 Penn Place Gallery. Bert and wife Bonnie have been married 67 years.
Connie also is a veteran artist having exhibited in galleries from coast to coast and has her works in many public, corporate and museum collections. She also has produced art for greeting cards by Leanin’ Tree, of Longmont, Colorado. She has created covers for several books including 22 full page illustrations for “Rainbow Spirit Journeys: Native American Meditations and Dreams.”
A leisurely travel through “The Feminine Face of God,” is an intellectual, emotional and pleasurable visual experience, which often raises questions and inspires more investigation on the exhibition theme. With free admission it is an easy and natural retreat into the mind of an artist, in a cool atmosphere during the summer heat of July.
The Nona Jean Hulsey Art Gallery, located in the Norick Art Center on the Oklahoma City University Campus, is the center of the University’s participation in the visual arts. The gallery provides a contemporary exhibition space for significant and challenging exhibitions by local and national artists and art organizations. The Hulsey Gallery houses the Oklahoma City University Art Collection and affords the School of Visual Arts student educational opportunities related to collection management and exhibition of art in a professional gallery.
The mission of the Nona Jean Hulsey Art Gallery is to promote the understanding of and extend the audience for contemporary art, and to present exhibitions that inform, inspire and challenge the public, particularly students of Oklahoma City University. The Hulsey Gallery and the Oklahoma City University Art Collection are an integral part of the School of Visual Arts, and it is used daily by visitors, students, and faculty.
Looking forward, the annual Oklahoma High School Art completion of two dimensional artworks will take place November 5 – 19, 2017. There is an opening reception planned for Sunday November 5 from 2 – 5 pm.
For more information on hours and location: http://www.okcu.edu/artsci/departments/visualart/exhibits
Mr. Terry Zinn – Travel Editor
Past President: International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association
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