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Oatman & Father, Signmakers: Gordon and Michael Oatman
September 24, 2016 - October 28, 2016
September 24 – October 28, 2016
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 24th, 4 – 6 pm
This event is FREE and open to the public.
Gallery Hours: Tues – Fri 12 – 5 pm, Sat 12 – 4 pm
Michael Oatman calls his practice ‘the poetic interpretation of documents’. His collages and installations integrate thousands of found, modified and handmade components, including artifacts of material culture, painting, drawing, video, and food. With a focus on animals, this exhibition will feature Michael’s working drawings and other studies for his large scale collages, as well as the collages themselves, presented within frames created by his father, Gordon. Gordon Oatman will exhibit a selection of his frames (unfilled) and his studies and drawings for those frames. The frames are a geometric abstraction of animal forms (thunderbird, butterfly, bat, fish), with some up to 8 feet in length. Michael says “there is a connection between the two bodies of work – in my mind this relates to the early lessons I received from my Dad about nature via hunting, fishing and general fascination with the animals around us growing up in rural Vermont.”
Gordon Oatman was trained at Keene State Teachers’ College and taught Industrial Arts in the South Burlington, Vermont School System for over 30 years. His many subjects included woodworking, metal fabrication, photography and printing in three areas: offset, silkscreen and hand set type. He earned a Master’s Degree at RIT and the University of Vermont, finishing his career teaching architectural drafting and the newly invented CADD. A lifelong outdoorsman, he custom manufactured steam-bent fishing nets for the Orvis Corporation in the 1970s. He later produced hand carved dealership signs for the H. L. Leonard Rod Company, a rival fishing goods firm. For over 30 years Oatman and his wife, Shirley Oatman (a retired home economics teacher and cooking school owner) have produced material works for the many art projects of their son, Michael. At 79, this is his first art exhibition.
Michael Oatman earned his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, and his MFA from the University at Albany. He has exhibited extensively in galleries, museums and public spaces throughout the US and abroad. Recent projects include All Utopias Fell, a permanent commission for MASS MoCA, open until October 2020; the 52-artist extravaganza “An Armory Show” for the Opalka Gallery at Sage College, Albany; and “ABECEDARIUS” with Colin Boyd at the Arts Center of The Capital Region in Troy. He is represented by MillerYezerski in Boston, MA; Lenore Grey in Providence, RI; Mayson Gallery in NYC and Stremmel Gallery in Reno, NV. His accolades include the Nancy Graves Foundation Award for work in new media; the Brown Fellows Award from the School of Architecture at RPI; Purchase Awards from the University Art Museum at U-Albany and the Albany Institute of History and Art, as well as grants from the New York State Council on the Arts. In 2009 he was voted Best Artist of the past 30 Years in the Capital Region by editors of the Metroland newspaper. He has taught at Harvard, UVM, University of Albany, St. Michael’s College and Vermont College. He has been a visiting critic at RISD from 1986 to the present. Since 1999 he has been a faculty member in the School of Architecture at RPI. He is the juror for the 2016 Mohawk Hudson Regional and is currently working on a solo project for the Bell Gallery at Brown University.
Exhibition Review online: Albany Times Union