Friday, December 3, 2010

Smoke & Mirrors: An International Juried Exhibition at OU's Lightwell Gallery

Smoke and Mirrors is an international juried exhibition curated by a group of graduate students at the University of Oklahoma and a project of Liz Rodda's class on curatorial work. The exhibition officially opens tonight, December 3, from 7-9 pm in the Lightwell Gallery inside the art building at 520 Parrington Oval, Norman. It will continue through December 10.

Lindsey Allgood is one of the graduate students who participated in the planning of this exhibition. Lindsey took some time to answer a few questions for us about the project.
What is the Smoke and Mirrors project?
Allgood: Smoke and Mirrors is a juried multimedia exhibit now on display at the Lightwell Gallery in the School of Art & Art History at the University of Oklahoma. A selection of graduate students and Associate Professor Liz Rodda juried from a submission pool of over 150 artists from 17 different countries.

How does this project relate to the work you are doing in the class?
Allgood: From my perspective as a first year graduate student, this undertaking is far more than a class project. It is a gigantic challenge and was a fantastic learning experience. I now know how to submit a proposal and represent myself on paper as an artist. After spending nearly an hour taping down electrical cords and painting the tape white to make the gallery look as professional as possible during install, I've scratched the surface of learning what it takes to curate a show.

Tell us a little about the process you and your collaborators went through to organize this exhibition.
Allgood: We spent hours reading proposals, scrutinizing tiny details like fonts on the posters, placement of pieces in the space, delegating odd jobs and maintaining professional correspondence with the artists. But every minute is worth it when I see students stop in the gallery on their way to class.

What has this project taught you as an artist serving on the other side of things, organizing an exhibition?
Allgood: I had the pleasure of driving visiting artist Aaron Finnis to the airport on his way home to San Francisco. He flew out to install his piece, which was an honor considering he studied at the prestigious Goldsmiths art school in London. Our chat was invaluable. He gave me artists to research, extensive feedback on my work and a few life lessons on the drive. These types of experiences allow networking, boost the school's name and broaden this region's art genre horizons. I think this show opens new doors for use of the Lightwell Gallery's space. It is so unique, which could and should draw equally unique and boundary-breaking works.

I've never seen a show as diverse in media as Smoke and Mirrors at OU. For me, being part of this curatorial class was one of the best decisions I made this semester.

Visit for more about the exhibition.

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