Traditional potter Lisa Rutherford (Cherokee) and contemporary painter Jim Van Deman (Delaware) combine their unique artistic visions to present a one-of a kind exhibition entitled “The Potter & The Painter” on view at the Red Earth Museum in downtown Oklahoma City through September 28.
Lisa Rutherford is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and lives on her family’s ranch near Tahlequah, OK. Her passion is traditional pottery and 18th century clothing. She has only been creating her pottery since 2005, but has already won prestigious awards for her artwork at art shows throughout the country including the Red Earth Festival.
“I like to fire pottery in the dark when there is a full moon,” said Rutherford as she discussed her artwork. “I start my fire in the afternoon and work into the night. The wind gets still at dusk, it’s a peaceful time, and it’s not so hot.
“The most crucial time is after I put the pottery in and start slowly building the fire back up,” she said. “If I go too fast I hear that distinctive, dreaded ‘ping’ when pottery breaks. If not, I can finally relax a bit when it’s fully engulfed. I continue feeding the fire and making sure it burns evenly.
“When the fire get so hot that I can’t get close enough to add more wood and the pottery glows red hot, then I know it’s done and I let it burn itself out,” she said. “The next morning there is nothing like the joy of pulling my still-warm pottery out of the ashes and seeing the smoke clouds and colors. Every piece has its own beauty from the fire.”
Award-winning artist and Oklahoma City resident Van Deman began his career as a graphic designer and later in life, while traveling as an advertising and marketing director for a manufacturing company made frequent visits to most of the major museums in the U.S. He credits his face-to-face introduction to the Impressionist masters, Monet and Renoir that provided the spark of inspiration to begin his painting career.
He is a member of the Delaware Nation based in Anadarko, OK where, as a boy the influence of the local Kiowa and Comanche artists from the 1950s made a lasting impression on his painting career.
A career in graphic design led to his becoming a full time artist in 1990 – depictions of his Delaware heritage and other Native American subjects are represented in a broad range of creations from impressionist to abstract expressionist.
“Pushing Native American artworks beyond convention is just as important as working within traditional limits,” said Van Deman.
In addition to his paintings Van Deman has several unique banjos on display including two utilizing decorative cigar boxes and another made from an American Indian hand drum.
“The Potter & The Painter” is funded in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council and will continue through September 28, 2012. A reception to recognize the artists is scheduled Thursday, August 23 from 5-8 pm at the Red Earth Museum.
The Red Earth Museum is open free to the public Monday through Friday 10-5 pm and Saturday by appointment at 6 Santa Fe Plaza next to the historic Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. Visit www.redearth.org or call (405) 427-5228 for additional information. Red Earth, Inc. is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote the rich traditions of American Indian arts and cultures through education, a premier festival, a museum and fine art markets.