Friday, October 2, 2009

Momentum Spotlight Artist: Nick Bayer

Momentum Tulsa will feature a special program called Momentum Spotlight, which awarded three artists each $1,500 and a few months of interaction with the curators Scott Perkins and Frank Wick. One of the selected artists is Nick Bayer of Oklahoma City.

Guest Blogger & Intern Ashley Romano gives us a brief preview of Nick's project. To see the project installed, come to Momentum Tulsa on October 10 at Living Arts new gallery, 307 E. Brady in Tulsa's Brady Arts District. The exhibition will remain on display through October 24.

Nick Bayer:

Q: Tell me a little bit about the work you’re producing for Momentum Tulsa?
NB: I’m creating a kinetic, constructed, painting sculpture titled, Better Days. This large scale piece consists of a row boat riding a wave loaded with all sorts of objects and creatures that represent the emotional baggage we carry with us through life. The boat and the wave represent the sometimes tumultuous journey of life.

Q: What inspired you to create this work?
NB: We recently had to move my grandparents to an assisted living facility, and in doing so, had to clean out all their belongings. This is where I found one of my grandfather’s handmade whirly gigs. The work showed a frog rowing a boat and was powered by the wind. This lead me to analyze the relationship, or lack of one, between me and my grandfather. This spawned the idea for Better Days.

Q: How has your experience been working with the curators, Scott Perkins and Frank Wick?
NB: My experience working with the curators has been great. Anytime I get the chance to work with people who really know their stuff is really exciting, and they always ask the best questions.

Q: Your piece seems to have a lot of specific elements. Could you explain in more detail the process of creating Better Days?
NB: I often use symbolic imagery in my work to avoid being overly direct. It is almost like creating my own brand of iconography. Sometimes the image has a more personal connection and sometimes the meaning is more universal. The selection of the imagery for Better Days depended greatly on having a dual meaning. Because the work is about me and my grandfather, I needed the images to connect in one way or another to both of us. For example, the owl figure in the boat represents my pursuit of wisdom, or more specifically, the fact that I've spent most of my life in educational facilities. For my grandfather, the image has a darker connotation. In some cultures the owl is a symbol of death. My grandfather is very old and nearing the end of his life, and the owl is meant to be a reminder that all things must end.

Q: What have some of the challenges been, whether they deal with creating the work specifically, or site issues?
NB: My biggest challenge is time, or feeling like I don't have enough. The work will be done and installed on time; I just have to stick with the game plan.

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