OBU Art and Design is currently hosting two art shows on campus, both running now through early November. “The Van Gogh Show” is currently on display in the lower level of the Geiger Center and “Unintentional Collaboration” is currently on display in the art gallery of the art building, located on the southeast portion of campus just west of Kickapoo and south of University Street next to Ford Hall. All students, employees and members of the community are invited to stop by and enjoy the exhibits.
“The Van Gogh Show” is an exhibition by Steve Hicks, who has recreated several of Vincent van Gogh’s famous self-portraits with modern twists to them. Hicks was the first Ruth Jay Odom Professor of Fine Arts at OBU and the second person to chair Art and Design, teaching at OBU beginning in 1980 until his retirement in 2016. He previously taught at universities in Arkansas and Louisiana and has served on the editorial advisory board for the Collegiate Press and Kappa Pi. He has exhibited paintings both locally and nationally and has work in several private and public collections across the United States.
Hick’s paintings of Van Gogh include modern twists such as Mickey Mouse ears, a Bass Pro Shops hat and various homages to different pop culture staples. Regarding the show, Hicks noted that Van Gogh completed 34 self-portraits, but that humor was not a major part of Van Gogh’s character.
“One of the functions of art is to connect a heritage to the living present,” Hicks said. “I have been quite willing to humorously experiment with his [Van Gogh’s] technique, color and distortions. You don’t have to be solemn to be serious.”
“Unintentional Collaboration” is a collection of pieces created by students in printmaking classes spanning over the last six to seven years. In these courses, students create a design and then expose it onto a screen. Once exposed, the image can be recreated onto a substrate using ink as many times as desired. Before creating their final prints, students are encouraged to perform several test prints over old test prints instead of using new paper. While the test images are never meant to be seen, the students and art professors save a number of them because of the unique style created by the overlaying of prints over the years.
Joshua Brunet, assistant professor of art, is excited about the exhibit and how it creates a connection between OBU art students and their work across the years.
“They are a natural outflow of our students’ sense of design and connection to our Creator,” Brunet said. “They did not intend to create an artistic image, but they could not help not to. And since these images are built up over a series of years, they are also a collaboration amongst a group of artists. Some of these students know each other, while some will never meet.”
Each student adding to these prints over a series of years gives each piece a unique feeling to them. The unintentional nature of these creations embodies the name of the exhibit since these students never intended to collaborate to create works of art.
For more information about Art and Design at OBU, visit okbu.edu/arts/art-design.