Friday, September 7, 2012

The Art of Weather

by David Holland
Tony Abeyta (Navajo, b. 1965), Storm from the South, 2011, Oil on canvas, 36" x 48"
If you are an Oklahoma artist interested in weather, don’t dawdle. Seize the opportunity to submit your work to the upcoming National Weather Center Biennale.  With prize money of $10,000 for Best of Show, three additional prizes of $5000, their work in a slick exhibition catalog, an exhibition attended by many of Oklahoma’s movers and shakers  and an international audience of 10,000 or more,  you’d be crazy not to.

Claimed to be this first of its kind biennale featuring “Art’s window on the impact of weather on the human experience,” will take root in Oklahoma on Earth Day April 22, 2013.  Sponsored by the National Weather Center (NWC), the Norman Arts Council and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art; the event will take place within the 9,600 square foot atrium of the NWC building. 

Alan Atkinson, an art instructor at OU, serves as the exhibition coordinator and part of the initial selection committee. “It is exciting to see the different approaches that different artists are taking to the subject,” Atkinson said. “We are seeing everything from fairly straight representational work to abstract and non-objective interpretations of weather as an experience that influences all of us.”

Weather is big business in Oklahoma.  The NWC in Norman has attracted many new successful businesses that use the immense amount of technology and expertise that pours from the NWC to create commercial enterprises.  The NWC is a unique cooperative venture between a state university, the federal government and private business. It houses OU’s college of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, 5 NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) organizations and many weather related research and reporting organizations.  Many private companies have moved their offices to the University’s “Partners Place” buildings located next door to the NWC.

OU’s goal for this year’s exhibit is to make this new cultural event into an internationally recognized exhibition of the best art in the world representing the relationship between humans and weather and sights are set high for the exhibition’s future, to reach wider audiences as interest and awareness grows.

Every Oklahoman’s relationship with weather is respectful, unique and intimate.  We know the savage fury severe weather can bring, as well as the billowing beauty of a thunderstorm rising in the distance.  The theme of the biennale allows for artists to use their own interpretation of weather as the basis for their submission.  Whether you are an artist who sees the Earth’s dramatically changing environment as the focus for their work or a plein air artist whose work is literally affected by the weather there is no artist unaffected by it.  Submit your work; you’ll be getting in on the ground floor of what promises to be a new claim to fame for Oklahoma – being the art capital of the weather world.  For details on how to enter, check out their website   The deadline for entries is October 1, 2012. 

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