by Patrick B. McGuigan, editor
OKLAHOMA CITY – Edmond artist Reian Williams won acclaim for presenting the “Best of Show” collection at the 40th annual Paseo Arts Festival, which continues Monday, May 30 in the historic Paseo Neighborhood in the heart of Oklahoma City. The Paseo district is rooted around the corner of N.W. 30th Street and Paseo/Dewey) and the blocks immediately south of there.
Two other artists were recognized with “Awards of Excellence” – glass artist Chris McCarthy of St. Louis, Missouri, and photographer Matthew Parks of Arkansas.
Festival director Amanda Bleakley and Paseo Arts Association board member Collin Rosebrook praised Williams paintings, deemed examples of “emotive realism.” In an interview, Williams said he was self-taught. “I began drawing pictures when I was seven years.” From those initial pencil sketches, he has devoted a distinctive style. Originally a muralist, he studied architectural design at the University of London.
Williams, spending the Memorial weekend working his Booth #18 on Paseo Drive, grew up in Edmond and attended Edmond Memorial. After years out-of-state, including time in Florida, he returned home to Oklahoma.
His gallery “home” is Hue Fine Art, at 6900 North Western Avenue (Nichols Hills Plaza). He told The City Sentinel he is aiming eventually to move his gallery works to Edmond. He encourages communications at [email protected].
McCarthy’s daughter Emma joined him at the Festival (Booth #67). He describes his work as “a complex mix of both the hot and cold side of he glass medium,” saying he is “fascinating with the ability to play with fire to create form.”
His website includes many examples of his work, which he designates as “functional and sculptural.”
The second “excellence” award went to Parks, whose wife Julie was with him at Booth #41 for the Festival. They met while each attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. His formal training was in landscape architecture.
While his photographs are aimed at a wide range of subjects, he says,
“My favorite place to take photos is out in the wilderness far from civilization. I love to go out in search of the next waterfall, alpine lake or mountain vista.” He says he is “most happy when out exploring nature and campturing my experiences through photography.”
Dozens of talented artists are exhibiting their works and offering them for sale in the course of the Festival. Carol A. Klimek (booth 82), from New Mexico, is one.
Klimek’s provocative series of “Kitty Joe Wash” paintings are rooted in her reflections from observing the changes in a wash (“worn away by the action of water”) she has often visited. In a poem about that place, she observes, “Colors change season to season. Worn smooth from repetitive beating. Wash or laundry? Are they the same? The land the clothes we wear? Dress up, dress down, pretend, dress for success.”
Klimek says, “Painting is a healing process; a necessity as complex and as simple as breathing. It grounds me; it quiets and stimulates at the same time.” For more about her work, visit www.caklimek.com.
The artists from around the United States who came to this year’s Festival enjoyed a fine breakfast on Sunday morning, provided through the efforts of Jean and Kent Larason, “slow food” movement leader Kamala Gamble and volunteers.
Check out the website for more information on the Paseo Arts Festival.