Interdisciplinary project includes the OSU Museum of Art, OSU Frontiers Ensemble, OSU Art students

Oklahoma State University’s new Museum of Art, joined by the OSU art and music departments, is teaming with acclaimed artist Yatika Starr Fields for an outdoor performance to celebrate the completion of a ten-panel mural for installation in the Seretean Center. “Live Painting with Yatika Fields” will be held at the OSU Student Union on April 5 at 6 p.m.

Fields, a Stillwater native and member of Cherokee, Creek, and Osage tribes, is a contemporary artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Fields iscurrently working remotely with OSU students to create a series of mural panels for the Seretean Center that explores the concept of synesthesia – the idea that the senses are all connected and music could be represented by color and shape. Music students are preparing an improvisational performance of composer Terry Riley’s landmark 1964 composition, “In C,” inspired in part by the color palette and basic forms used in the cycle.  They will perform their composition during the live painting event.

Fields will be working hands-on with students to design transitions and surface elements across the mural panels they have been preparing.

“I am really excited to work with the concept of synesthesia with the students. I feel it does all work together: music, color, and all around sharing of ideas—the end process will be very beautiful,” Fields said.

The OSU Museum of Art visiting artist project will culminate on April 5 at 6 p.m. in an outdoor live painting performance at the StudentUnion Plaza in conjunction with Native American Awareness Week at OSU. The event will feature the Music students’ soundtrack, performed live by the Frontiers Ensemble, while the Art students, with Fields, will complete the mural cycle.

Fields was born in Tulsa, OK in 1980. His parents, artists Tom and Anita Fields, encouraged his pursuit of art—and by the time he graduated from Stillwater High School in 2000, Fields had won the American Vision Award. Field states that his work creates “a synthesis of symbolic objects floating and bending on the canvas at all angles; negating the horizon and the rule of linear experience.  The creation mythology of this space is narrated in my work where Oklahoma meets NYC meets Boston meets Santa Fe.” 

LouiseSiddons, Curator of OSU Collections, notes that his work has been described as combining influences of street art, abstract expressionism, and surrealism with traditional and contemporary imagery of American Indian culture.

In addition to this special visiting artist project funded by Ken and Mary Ann Fergeson, the artist has been commissioned to paint a mural in the OSU Museum of Art’s new Postal Plaza Gallery location under renovation in downtown Stillwater. This work will interact with The History of Payne County, an existing mural painted by Grace Hamilton in 1963 for the Postal Plaza lobby. The History of Payne County represents a visual history of the settlement of Stillwater and the surrounding area, including a vision of Plains Indians being displaced by settlement. Fields’ mural will be installed in the lobby, adjacent to Hamilton’s mural, creating a visual dialogue between the two, while keeping in accordance with the aesthetic intent of the renovated, historic building.

The Postal Plaza Gallery, a 1930s era WPA building, is the OSU Museum of Art’s new downtown facility. It will include teaching and research space as well as multiple exhibition spaces and storage for the growing permanent art collection. The building is currently undergoing renovation and will open in the fall of 2013.

The evening performance on April 5 will follow the Oklahoma Native Artist Project Open Air Market, held on the Student Union Plaza from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The market is sponsored by the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program at the Edmon Low Library and includes artists who have been interviewed for the project as well as some who have not yet participated. Artists willexhibit work for sale in a variety of media, including beadwork, pottery, painting, and prints.

“Live Painting with Yatika Fields” is a free event and is open to the public. Parking is available in the Student Union Parking Garage on University Avenue. The activities on April 5 support programs during NativeAmerican Awareness Week, sponsored by the OSU Native American Student Association from April 7 through 13.

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