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New Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center Presents John Newsom

by Ron Bernthal

Apr 20, 2022

© Scott McDonald


The construction on Oklahoma Contemporary’s new building began in 2018. The original art museum opened in 1989, but, shortly after the new Rand Elliott Architects-designed Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center opened in its new location in 2020, its aluminum façade and 53,916 square feet of space began attracting national attention.



© John Newsom Studio


One of its current exhibitions, called Nature’s Course, is a mid-career retrospective featuring 31 John Newsom paintings from the last 20 years. Best known for his richly textured, large-scale oil-on-canvas paintings of flora and fauna, Newsom’s work layers and combines elements of abstract expressionism, minimalist geometric shapes and hyper-realistic representations of animals to create complex allegories of the natural world.


Originally from Enid, Oklahoma, Newsom has been based in New York for his entire career, participating in more than 100 national and international exhibitions since the mid-1990s. Focusing on the artist’s body of work, from the turn of the century to the present, the exhibition will present large-scale paintings from multiple series alongside several more intimate works. The exhibition will also include the brand-new, nine-by-18-foot Nature’s Course.


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© John Newsom Studio


“Growing up as a youth in Oklahoma, I had a yearning to travel and explore the world as a painter,” Newsom said. “Nature’s Course is the culmination of that journey.”


The Oklahoma Contemporary encourages visitors to explore art and creativity through exhibitions, performances and a wide variety of educational programs. The exhibition of the Oklahoma-raised and New York-based artist will run until Aug. 15. Admission to Oklahoma Contemporary’s exhibitions and most programs is free.


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