In the calming space of the Modella Art Gallery, for the rest of this month, is an exhibition featuring art that seems to jump out from the canvas.
Through Aug. 31, visitors can come to the nonprofit gallery to see “Morphing into Nature,” featuring the work of April Dawes and Sam Dee Thomas. Both artists use vibrant colors in their paintings, with Dawes taking a more humanistic approach to Thomas’ abstract style.
Ulli Schoenknecht, a board member at Modella, has been volunteering for the past two years and enjoys having exhibitions such as “Morphing into Nature” to differentiate from other art in the area.
“We want to bring something different to Stillwater,” Schoenknecht said. “Not the usual pretty flowers and Cowboy art. We want to be a little more edgy and show people here in Stillwater that there is other art out there that might also speak to them in a way that is not the tradition Western.”
Thomas, who died in 2015, grew up in Pennsylvania and started painting when he was 12. A teacher for four decades, he specialized in biomorphic abstraction, a painting style that can be found from other artists such as Robert Matta and Arshile Gorky.
Dawes is a native Oklahoman who uses a passionate approach in her art, with many of her subjects modeled after her daughters. A graduate of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha, Dawes has a background in graphic design but has always had a expressive feeling for painting.
“I love the colors and how colorful it is,” Schoenknecht said. “I like the contrast between the two artists. Thomas is really an abstract painter. There are some natural elements in these paintings by Sam Thomas. It’s more abstract than April Dawes. I like that about it. There is a contrast between the two and makes it more interesting. If there were only the abstract paintings, it would get boring pretty fast so this makes it more interesting for our visitors.”