2023 Gussman Juror
Olivia Hogue Mariño received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from The University of Tulsa Art Department in the late sixties (BFA, MA). She has taught in a number of Tulsa educational settings over the years: at TU itself, B’Nai Emunah preschool, Bishop Kelley High School, Riverfield Country Day School, University School for Gifted Students, and also for the Arts & Humanities Council Artist-in-the-schools program, the Harwelden Institute, Summer Arts and others. For 17 years, she worked in the Philbrook Museum of Art Education Department as the Director of Interpretive Programs.
While Division Head of a private middle school, she attended The Principalship, a Harvard Summer Institute, and later was a participant in the Teaching About Asia consortium. She was also part of the Oklahoma State University Writers’ Workshop program. In addition to teaching painting at Tulsa Community College for many years, she has introduced an assorted set of topics to an equally varied set of students in other venues: Art appreciation, Art history, American history, English, Philosophy, Studio art—including Fundamentals, Drawing, Watercolor, and Ceramics. She currently divides her time between California and Oklahoma.
Too much art! I often liked at least three things from everybody—which tells its own story about talent and excellence. Kudos to the Seniors, whose semesters were impacted by the pandemic. They have prevailed in obtaining the training they will need to contribute and communicate professionally in our new digitally visual world. It was good to see some plain old hand-made self-expression, too: when else but in college years is this given space to be a priority. Explorations of identity, technical experimentation across mediums, explorations of imagery from other aesthetic eras—what rich arenas of engagement have these students encountered here in the School of Art, Design, and Art History.
There were over 250 entries to the show, with especially strong numbers from Photography and Printmaking students. It is always fascinating to see the range of responses to classroom projects—sometimes quite identifiable as assignments, sometimes very individually morphed into personal expression. What is also visible is the quality of teaching that has exposed these students to the array of tools and processes that undergird careers in art.
Design students offered employable-quality graphic arts work, and the basics of animation (thanks to the Bradley E. Place digital laboratory) are an experiential reality. In lens-based work, I was particularly pleased to see so many darkroom images wrestle with the classic photographic koans: studio lighting, frozen gestures, emergent geometry, among others. Many entries from Painting students included both apocalyptic landscape imagery with expressionist brush-handling, and smoothly-blended flesh tones in a series of self-portraits and figure studies. Drawing entries saw similar contrasts between stump-smudged charcoal studies, and meticulous handling of other drawing materials, such as pen and ink. Within the exemplary variety of printmaking techniques, there seemed to be a renewed excitement with the possibilities of serigraphy, with flat, fresh color in evidence. The several elaborate book projects, utilizing many image-making processes ranging from digital collage to the commercial Risograph, were truly culminating endeavors. The commitment and creativity of the entire body of student artwork commanded my attention, as did a three-dimensional outlier with impeccable craftsmanship.
It was a privilege, and a homecoming, for me to be invited to judge the 55th Gussman Annual—thank you Michelle Martin. Warm congratulations to all the participants and prizewinners! And many, many (personal) thanks to the Gussmans for making these exhibitions possible and ensuring their continuity.
About the Gussman Juried Student Exhibition
On average, over 300 pieces of art are submitted to the Gussman exhibit every year. Around 15,000 works have been submitted in total and approximately 7,500 have received awards.
The idea for a juried student-exhibit originated 52 years ago between Herbert Gussman, a Tulsa philanthropist, and Brad Place, the head of the school of art at that time. The two friends wanted some way to validate the students’ artwork and from that simple idea grew the art, design and art history department’s most prominent show. Because the pieces are evaluated by notable working artists in the field, the expected standard of work and the process is more stringent than normal course evaluation, and the selection of the award winners holds more gravitas.
Since its inception, the Gussman has been financially supported by the Roseline and Herbert Gussman family. In 2020, the exhibit received an endowment from the Gussman family that will continue this tradition of generosity and excellence.
Founded in determination, quality and imagination, the Gussman exhibit began a legacy of supporting and recognizing inspired and thoughtful young artists. Many winners have gone on to be internationally known artists, curators, art educators, a few lawyers and even a senator. But more importantly, it provides a legacy for valuing artistic expression and the creation of art, giving a voice and recognition to the creative spirit that lives inside all of us.