The work of artist Osage Jarica Walsh incorporates the Earth and the sun
At first glance, Jarica Walsh seems to be working in two totally different artistic spheres.
But the Osage artist sees elementary connections between the creation of his sculptural ceramics – non-functional vessels designed to strike a balance between strength and vulnerability – and his distinctive cyanotyped prints with their sleek white shapes on a cyan blue background.
“When you work with clay, you are essentially working with soil. … It feels very natural to me to work with clay and the full sensory experience of it: the way it smells, the way it feels, and being able to create something from it, once we shoot it, ”Walsh said.
“I also really like the accessibility of making these cyanotype prints, involving the sun, involving this natural element as part of the process, because it is so vital to our lives.”
The active Oklahoma City artist has works on display at the 21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City, Commonplace Books Edmond, and the new First Americans Museum in downtown OKC, and she has created a ceramic piece for fundraising. Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s annual 12×12.
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“I love that the organization is working to support artists with education, exhibitions, grants and publications,” said Walsh, who was on the staff of the nonprofit from 2015 to 2019. “They work with artists from all over the state. Most states don’t actually have a program like the OVAC. There are only a handful that actually have an organization at scale. of the state that does the things the OVAC does.
The only annual fundraiser for OVAC, 12×12 features artwork from 175 Oklahoma artists, with each participant creating a unique piece measuring no more than 12 inches by 12 inches that is auctioned off at the event of one night. Three-dimensional pieces, like Walsh’s dark blue ceramic sphere titled “You, Me, and the Night Sky,” should be no more than 12 inches high, wide, and deep.
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“Mine is a bit smaller; it’s more like 6 by 6 (inches),” Walsh said. “It’s always so much fun seeing yourself what everyone else is up to and maybe trying something different.”
Director of Art in Public Places for the Oklahoma Arts Council, Walsh creates her pottery in a studio in the Paseo Arts District that she shares with her husband and fellow ceramicist Timothy Walsh, who also participates in the OVAC fundraiser of This year.
After the OVAC turned last year’s 12×12 into a virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s fundraiser is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on September 24 at Dunlap Codding on Film Row. The open-air in-person event will feature live music with a DJ as well as the auction, and customers will have the opportunity to browse, bid and purchase artwork through the auction. in person or online.
“The safety of our patrons, artists and staff is of the utmost importance,” OVAC Executive Director Krystle Kaye said in a statement. “We only want to come together if we feel it is safe to do so and having the event outside seems like the safest option.
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Circles of life
Walsh’s 12×12 piece represents much of his ceramic work, like those in his “Star Series”, which were inspired by the night sky and the idea that we are all made of stars. Although she sometimes works in different forms, she favors spheres.
“It’s kind of like having a favorite color; it’s kind of how I feel about circles. It’s just kind of a natural extension of me, so I even made a few pieces that I refer to self-portraits that had the circles engraved inside.… I feel like I’m looking at myself somehow, ”Walsh said.
She often carves small circle patterns in her pottery, a process the Native American artist compares to “reverse beading”.
“It’s very repetitive and methodical,” she said. “I just think the circles are such an important part of our entire universe, on a cellular level down to the shape of our planet and the shape of our sun.”
Inspired by the 2017 solar eclipse, Walsh began harnessing the sun to create her prints of cyanotypes or photograms, which are made by laying objects on paper or fabric treated with photographic chemicals and exposing them to the light.
“It’s an alternative photographic process.… It’s basically UV solar prints,” she said. “With the eclipse, it was like the sun and the earth met, and it was half divided by the moon. I just thought it was an interesting moment to record.”
Born in Pawhuska and raised in Norman, Walsh first made cyanotype prints of her ceramic pieces, but last year during the pandemic she took inspiration from the “corona gardens” that many Oklahomans planted. during confinement to create a series of “flags of hope”.
After receiving a micro-grant from the initiatives of downtown Oklahoma City and the Urban Land Institute of Oklahoma, she visited corona gardens to collect plant material to make small cyanotype-printed flags. She sewed the flags together in a traditional prayer flag format so that they could be hung overhead and create a public meditation space for collective healing.
She continued to use plants in her cyanotypes, including her print “We Are One, Despite the Distance” featured in the OVAC’s “24 Works on Paper” group show, which is touring Oklahoma. until January 2022.
“I think more about food sovereignty, which you start to see a lot more often with some native tribes. The Osage Nation has a farm where they grow food that they can help with school or school immersion. have available for tribal celebrations, “she said.” Some of it goes back to traditional foods, to cultural things that were eaten before other foods were introduced. “
As someone with an affinity for circles, it’s no surprise that these botanical elements are starting to show up in his ceramics, with Walsh recently carving pieces of pottery with squash blossoms and sweet grass.
“I definitely spent many, many hours perched on a magnolia tree in our backyard as a child … and I think all plants are like our partners on this planet. People tend to think of humans at the top. and everything else. serves us in a way, but I think it’s more that we’re all just part of the ecosystem together, “Walsh said.” I think we play a role in the stewardship of the earth and in working with plants Plants take care of us, and we take care of them.
“So it’s kind of a flyer.”
Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition 12×12 Art Fundraiser
When: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sept. 24.
Or: Outside Dunlap Codding, 609 W Sheridan Ave.
Tickets and auctions: www.12x12ok.org.
Artist information: http://www.jaricawalsh.com and http://walshpottery.com.