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LOST AND FOUND: Artist Kyle Larson’s Better Off Lost exhibit opens at IAO

Courtesy of Kyle Larson
"Man and Dog" by Kyle Larson
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OKLAHOMA CITY—They say that not all who wander are lost, and that can definitely describe the environmental art of Kyle Larson. Originally from Sacramento, California, he is the current Director of Visual Arts and Assistant Professor of Art at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. He said that most of the work included in his upcoming Better Off Lost exhibition at the Individual Artists of Oklahoma is inspired by his past couple of years of living in that “fairly isolated” area of the state in and around Alva.

Coming from mostly populated urban areas, at first the isolation, vastness and flatness really “terrified” him, and just as he got used to it, then came the constant earthquakes caused from the fracking in the region, something that still keeps him up at night. That being said, after taking a while to acclimate, he now finds plenty of beauty in his new home, much of which currently influences his work.

“The colorful evening skies and colossal cloud formations, and the way you can watch a storm approach gradually on the horizon…you really feel the weather here,” Larson said. “There are some amazing natural wonders here. The nearby salt plain, only 20 minutes east of Alva, is a spot I continue to return to. It truly feels like being on another planet. I really enjoyed going on a tour in the alabaster caves, 40 minutes west of Alva. The surrounding area is beautiful as well. Also, there are the sand dunes in Waynoka. The landscape is much more varied than one might first think. These things have also found their way into the work.”

Larson’s exhibit, entitled Better Off Lost, will hold its opening night reception on Friday, August 18th at 6 p.m. at the Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery, 706 W Sheridan Ave. Admission is free. Larson said the title of the show is a “bit of a joke” about not only moving to a small, rural and remote town but also the “process” in which he works.

“I rarely have a plan when I start a painting,” Larson said. “I have certain motifs I return to, but that is only the skeleton, a bit of structure. Painting and drawing for me are about being in the moment, responding and reacting to what I see. To be truly in the moment, you have to be lost. The second you know what you’re doing or you’re too comfortable, you’ll make stale, dead work. When you’re lost, searching for something, not even knowing what you're searching for other than some sort of thing that feels right -- that’s where the good stuff is found and where discoveries are made.”

Better Off Lost will be on display until September 23rd and features a series of Larson’s works that draw inspiration from not only travel and social/political landscapes but the effects of environment and time on the world around us. Believing that travel provides a “person with perspective,” he said that while he feels “lucky” to be living in the United States, we could—especially in light of recent events—“learn a lot from other countries.” It’s a lofty ideal that he said has “seeped” into his work.

“A lot of the imagery in my work undermines itself—clouds don’t act the way clouds do, stones aren’t stone-like, and objects and forms dissipate and lose their function,” Larson said. “What ends up staying after everything is gone, or when things no longer can hold their own mass? Sometimes it’s nothing but the wind. Sometimes it’s a table on some old floorboards with remnants of whatever was last placed on it. And sometimes it’s the monuments of, and to, our own undoing. Leonard Cohen once wrote, “You aren’t going to like what comes after America.”

Kyle Larson "Better Off Lost"
Friday, August 18th, 2017 6:00pm to Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 4:00pm
Individual Artists of Oklahoma
706 W Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
(405) 232-6060
Prices from: $0.00

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Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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