International art historian and author Garth Clark will give the keynote address at a dinner and lecture presented in conjunction with the opening of Dark Light: the Micaceous Ceramics of Christine Nofchissey McHorse at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12. The exhibition opens to the public Saturday, Sept. 14.
“We are honored to have Garth Clark, who has an international reputation as an art critic and historian, present the Wylodean Saxon Lecture this year,” said OU President David L. Boren. “The lecture will coincide with the opening of works by Christine McHorse, one of America’s greatest living sculptors in clay. It’s a privilege for the university to host both the lecture and the exhibition.”
Clark is the author of more than 50 books and 250 essays on 20th century and contemporary ceramics. He has received numerous honors for his work, including being made a Fellow the Royal College of Art, London, and honorary doctorates from Staffordshire University in Britain and the Kansas City Art Institute, among others. In 2004, he received the United States’ most prestigious honor for distinguished achievement in art criticism, the College Art Association’s Mather Award. In 2005, he was the recipient of the College Art Association’s Mather Award for distinguished art journalism.
In 1981, together with Mark Del Vecchio, he founded the Garth Clark Gallery in Los Angeles, and then New York and Kansas City. In 2007, the gallery was closed and a new entity, Clark + Del Vecchio, private dealers, was formed in Santa Fe, N.M. Since 1979, Clark has served as the founding director of the nonprofit group Ceramic Arts Foundation, a publisher and organizer of international conferences on history and scholarship.
McHorse is the fifth holder of the Jerome M. and Wanda Otey Westheimer Distinguished Visiting Artist Chair at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma. This exhibition is made possible through the endowment of the Jerome M. and Wanda Otey Westheimer Distinguished Visiting Artist Chair.
Dark Light: the Micaceous Ceramics of Christine Nofchissey McHorse is the first traveling exhibition by the Navajo artist. McHorse is considered to be one of the most innovative forces in Native American pottery today. By creating vessel-based art that is undecorated and abstract, her work relates more to modern sculpture than to Southwestern culture. As a result, she has been collected both by contemporary art and Native arts collectors. The mica-rich clay McHorse harvests from the riverbeds in Northern New Mexico fires to a black sheen that creates both sensuous shadows and highlights on her architectonic forms. This exhibition surveys her journey and gathers some of the finest works of the Dark Light series from 1997 to the present. Dark Light: the Micaceous Ceramics of Christine Nofchissey McHorse is organized by The Ceramic Arts Foundation, New York, N.Y., in association with Clark + Del Vecchio, Santa Fe, N.M., and is curated by Clark and Mark Del Vecchio.
The collection of McHorse works will complement other outstanding Native and Southwest collections held by the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, including the James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection and the Eugene B. Adkins Collection, both of which were given in the last few years. The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa are joint stewards of the Adkins Collection.
The Wylodean Saxon Memorial Lecture is funded through a generous gift from Mrs. Saxon’s husband, Bill D. Saxon, an OU alumnus and longtime benefactor. The gift, announced in 2005, was made in memory of Mrs. Saxon, who died in October 2003, and included an endowment for the directorship of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.
Wylodean Cornelison Saxon was a lifelong student of the arts. Her appetite for knowledge about art and art history took her to museums all over the world, but her heart always stayed close to Norman, the community where she was born and raised. This dedication was reflected in her ongoing participation on the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art Board of Visitors.
The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is located in the OU Arts District on the corner of Elm Avenue and Boyd Street, at 555 Elm Ave., on the OU Norman campus. The museum’s website is www.ou.edu/fjjma.
Limited seating at the dinner is available by reservation for OU students, faculty and staff, with overflow seating available to the public. For reservations, more information and accommodations on the basis of disability, please call OU Public Affairs at (405) 325-3784.