Nesbitt Gallery's 10th Annual "7 States" Exhibition

Nesbitt Gallery Director Layne Thrift adjusts a painting to be hung in the Seven States Biennial Competition, now on display in the gallery through Oct. 8. The show occurs at USAO every other year. (Photo by Allison Crutchfield.)
Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Seven States Biennial Exhibition is back for its 10th year at USAO’s Nesbitt Gallery, with the most artists entered in its history, according to Layne Thrift, gallery director.

More than 60 pieces by 54 artists will be exhibited in the 2019 Exhibition, which is open to artists from Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas.

The show is not only an exhibition of art but is also a jurored competition. This year's juror, renowned artist Bert Seabourn, chose 28 paintings, 6 sculptures, 8 mixed media, 7 drawings, 1 print, 2 ceramic pieces, 9 photographs, and 2 collages. These will be on display and for sale for interested buyers, Thrift said.

First place will receive $2,500, second will receive $1,500, and third $500. Additionally, five $100 Juror's Merit Awards will be given. In addition, Thrift said, the gallery can spend up to $6,000 in purchase awards. This helps builds the school’s permanent collection, he said.

Thrift said the Biennial is an “eclectic show [that] never has a theme” and can sometimes be hard to make cohesive.

But that seems to be what makes the show so unique.

Thrift said artists are able to enter any kind of medium they want, as long as it doesn’t “weigh more than 150 pounds, and it has to fit through the door [of Davis Hall and Nesbitt Gallery].”

The biennial show has brought “big name” artists to USAO. Thrift recalled the 2011 juror and international sculpture, Jesús Moroles, who came back to campus in 2015 to teach an Independent Study session on working granite and led students in building and designing the Coming Together Park that is located in front of Sparks Hall. The park is a tribute to the late artist.

The Biennial winners will be announced at the exhibition’s opening reception Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m in Nesbitt Gallery. Live music and refreshments will be available.

The last day to view the exhibition at USAO will be Friday, Oct. 8. The show then travels to the Museum of the Red River in Idabel Jan. 14 - March 1. The show will also be featured at the Charles B. Goddard Center in Ardmore May 5 - 23.