108 Contemporary is located across the street from Guthrie Green on Boston and Brady. This month from October 6 to November 18, they are showcasing one of TU’s very profound art professor’s gallery containing about 20 different pieces. Mark Lewis’s gallery is titled “Streets.” Within his artwork, he highlights several street corners both bustling and quaint.
Fortunately, I visited this exhibit with Lewis’s daughter Isabella. I heard her memories, opinions and contributions to her father’s art. Although she didn’t personally work on any of the pieces, she is a key element to his creative process. I learned there is a generous number of hidden gems and truly every single lid, paper and rope had significance within their family. As art enthusiasts, we merely see a various items placed eloquently and thoughtfully on wood or cloth.
The first piece we encountered was a grayscale collage called “Porch (Mt. Gretna).” It was an isometric view of a porch that Isabella is actually featured within. As a viewer, I admired the skill of the artist but never thought about the depth of the painting. Isabella shared that this was a place they visited during a family vacation to Mt. Gretna, Pennsylvania.
Lewis had two self portrait pieces: one made up of old paint rags and the other of dried paint dollops. They are crafted together and stacked in such a way to appear as if his face is sitting in the frame.
There were several large collages within the “Streets” collection. One of my favorites was painted, stacked and quilted onto a drop cloth. “Scene (Street Fiction)” is a powerful piece. It grabbed my attention like none of the others. It featured several people and two dogs within a street setting. Isabella shared that many of her own clothes, shoes and crafts went into the creation of “Scene (Street Fiction)” and quickly pointing out her garments. There is a man in the margin of the collage painting a currently black and white street scene which I connected to be the artist.
Throughout the scene, there is various eyes and phrases like “what I see,” “why” and “do you see what I see?” I really enjoyed this element because it reminded me art is the particular lens the artist sees through. It really spoke to me.
On the other side of the exhibit, Lewis’s collection of watercolor painting brings a whole other dimension to the table. These focused particularly on people. Demonstrating the relationship between people when passing them in a farmers’ market. Isabella mentioned these watercolor and paintings are based off the local farmers’ market on Cherry Street. That Tulsa charm was a sweet touch.
As I walked into this exhibit, I was slapped in the face by color. I immediately smiled because many local artists don’t quite manipulate colors so generously. Lewis’s skill is impeccable, and the small personal details really drove this exhibit home for me. This exhibit would have only been a collection of beautiful art. However, Isabella’s commentary created an experience that is valuable in understanding why artists do what they love.