A Virtual Tour of Tulsa’s Galleries

Posted by Tasha on May 16th, 2012 in Arts and Theatre, Attractions, Culture

Tulsa Artists Coalition (TAC) Gallery Tulsa Oklahoma

Today’s guest post comes from Sarah Neal, a lover of all things beautiful and all things Tulsa. Follow Sarah on Twitter, @boldface.

I don’t think anyone can properly define what art is. Perhaps that’s part of its allure—it is without borders or limitations, and yet its undefined nature can articulately convey the deepest aspects of humanity without uttering a word.

It is this wild and philosophical beast that, as Picasso put it, “washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

For me, art is about seeing the world from someone else’s vantage point. Visiting a local museum or art gallery is a perfect opportunity to explore new territories, perspectives and stories. In Tulsa, we are fortunate to have two large museums, Philbrook and Gilcrease, and a few privately owned galleries that each strike their own distinct chords.

Tulsa’s art galleries promote and sell the work of various artists, many of whom are local. What I enjoy most about them is the constant churn of new work that’s being added. As pieces are sold, room is made for the new. It’s a perpetual metamorphosis.

Here’s just a few of my favorite galleries in Tulsa and sample of the beautiful work they offer.

M.A. Doran (3509 S. Peoria Avenue; madorangallery.com)

Doran front entrance by Sarah Neal Tulsa Oklahoma

Inside Doran gallery by Sarah Neal Tulsa, Oklahoma

Located on Brookside with its white, curved façade, M.A. Doran is known for its extensive collection of contemporary art and sculpture as well as its support of many renowned Oklahoma artists. The main floor features the active exhibits, while the upstairs loft houses a large supply of constant pieces that are available for purchase.

James Zwadlo Pedestrians Doran Gallery Tulsa Oklahoma

James Zwadlo Pedestrians Doran Gallery Tulsa Oklahoma

I appreciate the perspective and how the details lead your eye throughout James Zwadlo’s mixed-media composition, “Pedestrians” (36×36).

Clayton Keyes The Hunter, Legacy Fulfilled Doran Gallery Tulsa Oklahoma

Ceramic artist Clayton Keyes is a recent MFA graduate from the University of Tulsa and was recently invited to showcase his work in the 2012 NCECA Biennial Invitational Push Play in Seattle. His work is stark and poignant. There’s several currently on display such as this one, “The Hunter, Legacy Fulfilled” (56x16x18).

Ben Steele Campbell’s Crayons, Green Doran Gallery Tulsa Oklahoma

Loved this oil on canvas piece, “Campbell’s Crayons, Green” (44×40), by Ben Steele. Homage or criticism of pop art? It’s up for interpretation by you, the viewer.

Joseph Gierek, (1512 E. 15th Street; gierek.com)

Gierek Gallery Tulsa Oklahoma

Next time you’re driving down Cherry Street, stop by Joseph Gierek’s gallery. It’s an eclectic mix of paintings, sculptures, and installation pieces that range from modern to southwest. When I was an art student at The University of Tulsa, I would drop by frequently because of the quality and variety of work the gallery provides.

Shepard Fairey Woody Guthrie Centennial Gierek Gallery Tulsa Oklahoma

The day I dropped by, I found several great pieces by local artists, plus a few who are renowned in the larger art community, such as Annie Leibovitz, Jasper Johns, and this nice screen print by Shepard Fairey: “Woody Guthrie Centennial” (24×18).

I fell in love with this one.

Kate Rivers Thoreau’s Garden Gierek Gallery Tulsa Oklahoma

Kate Rivers Thoreau’s Garden Gierek Gallery Tulsa Oklahoma

Tulsa Artists’ Coalition (TAC) Gallery (9 E. Brady Street; tacgallery.org)

Tulsa Artists Coalition (TAC) Gallery Tulsa Oklahoma

My heart beats in the Brady District where the TAC Gallery resides. It’s unique in that it is a volunteer-run, non-profit organization that supports Oklahoma artists, many who are just emerging into the local art scene. The gallery features one artist per month, and hosts around 10 shows a year.

The day I stopped by, they were preparing for their acclaimed, annual fundraising event, 5×5. The gallery was closed, and I wasn’t allowed to take a peek inside since the public had not viewed the work.

What 5×5 is: Each year, artists from all over the state are invited to pick up a five-inch-by-five-inch canvas and create an original piece. Sales go to support the gallery and its mission. It’s become such a popular event that many people line up hours in advance to purchase their favorite pieces.

5X5 Tulsa Artists Coalition (TAC) Gallery Tulsa Oklahoma

This is an interior shot of the gallery during an opening reception I attended last year.

One of the high points of going to a reception is having the opportunity to speak with the featured artist candidly. It’s always an honor to hear an artist discuss the thought that was invested into their work.

“Art is approachable.”

A friend and local artist recently said this, and it resonated with me.

Art shouldn’t be intimidating or pretentious. It’s thoughts and emotions made visible for others to experience.

Go out and get lost in one of our local galleries. Tulsa’s art community is vibrant. Examine the work from different angles. Discuss it. Find a piece you love and one you don’t. Ask yourself why, because somewhere in all the brushstrokes, carved edges, and distressed finishes, we not only discover a different perspective, but a piece of ourselves.

Editor’s note: Keep tabs on the latest and greatest the Tulsa art scene has to offer on the Arts & Theatre page of DO WHAT.


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1 Comment to A Virtual Tour of Tulsa’s Galleries

  1. smith

    On July 5, 2013 at 6:02 am


    Wow, it seems the galleries are quite unique and showcase great art. I am visiting Tulsa next month for business purpose. For starters, I just had Woodland Hills Tulsa in mind which I wanted to explore. Now, I will add art galleries to my list as well; haven’t picked any favorite though!

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