By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Kasum Contemporary Fine Art gallery will celebrate their new double exhibit season with a special tribute to fantasy. September 12 marked the one year anniversary of Kasum Contemporary’s opening in the Plaza District of Oklahoma City,
Gallery director, Tony Morton, says he and his wife built Kasum with creativity, whimsy and big dreams in mind.
“We wanted our season debut to pay tribute to imagination and there may be no greater extension to imagination than fantasy,” Morton said, “We are pleased to be opening our 2015-2016 exhibit season by presenting the far reaching creative works from three phantasmagorical artists in two very unique features.”
The public is invited to the opening reception on Friday, October 9, from 7 – 10 p.m. at 1706 NW 16th Street.
A native Oklahoman, Smith is well known for her animal focused acrylics on canvas. Morton suggests that she will soon be widely recognized for her work in sculpture as well.
“Diana’s new hand built clay figures are Canterbrian in many ways. They merge our own, very relative, character traits into a fantasy world of unfinished stories,” said Morton, “A place where we can pick up the pen and author our own world. It’s a place of impossibilities made possible.
“Over the last year Smith has formed, finished and fired a world of wizards. Each one is the creation of a new species clothed in the Celtic robes that reflect the artist’s heritage and topped with a proper wizarding hat,” he added.
Each piece comes with its own hand bound and stitched journal, a miniature version of the full scale Wizards Journal Exalted Tome of Quests, which will also be on display and for sale.
The Journal is a one-of-a-kind art book, created by Smith, which contains excerpts from the journal entries of questing wizards and will “allow readers to peer ever deeper into each character,” Morton added.
Smith received a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Oklahoma and her interest in masks led her into additional studies in anthropology. She has exhibited in numerous juried, group, and solo shows and has won awards for her paintings, masks and mixed media figures.
“I am very excited to show this new work alongside Katie O’Sullivan’s paintings,” Smith said. “I think it was a brilliant match-up on Kasum’s part.”
Smith has created a contest for the event where participants can write a journal entry for “Feidhlim the Steward of Wings” and post to Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #MythicalMenagerieGiveAway. Entry deadline is Nov. 9. Diana will award “Sioda, the Wizard’s Apprentice” to the winning entry on November 13.
A graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York City, O’Sullivan’s whimsical approach comes from her creative ability to discover something new in art each day Morton said.
“Katie’s compositions are an aggressively balanced combination of drawing media and acrylics on canvas.” said Morton, “They take on aspects of noted neo-expressionist and primitivist movements, inspired by creatives like Jean-Michel Basquiat, but the dichotomies they deliver are rooted in pure imagination.”
Running concurrently with “A Mystical Menagerie” will be the gallery’s first Satellite Exhibit of the season featuring surreal sculptures of Oklahoma artist Paul Medina.
“Paul’s works represent strong anthropological and contemporary social context; his most recent body of work is no exception.” said Morton. “Medina refers to his works as Balancing Acts which represent the quandary of power and of need in relation to food.”
Medina has exhibited at the Oklahoma Museum of Art, The Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, and the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. He has amassed collectors from around the world including writer Judith Blume of New York, and Yannick Noah of Paris, France.
Kasum Contemporary Fine Art’s closing reception will be held on Friday, November 13 from 7 – 10 p.m. For more information call 405-604-6602 or visit www.KasumContemporary.com.