Northwestern Artists to be Featured at The Art Hall in Oklahoma City

May 10, 2022

Northwestern visual arts minors Samantha Friday and Sydney Endsley will have paintings featured at The Art Hall gallery in Oklahoma City through August.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University visual arts minors Sydney Endsley and Samantha Friday will have paintings included in an exhibition at The Art Hall in Oklahoma City beginning the third week of May through August.

The Art Hall, located at 519 NW 23rd Street, is a nontraditional gallery space that opened in early 2016 in the revitalized Uptown District of Oklahoma City where it organizes curated group exhibitions and special events in their space located in The Rise Building. They maintain an online marketplace featuring the work of participating Art Hall artists.

The Art Hall has traditionally focused on showing artists of all media and backgrounds who live and work in Oklahoma and maintain an occasional guest artist program. It is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on weekends 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This exhibition represents the culmination of a semester-long exploration of individual themes and methods within associate professor of art Kyle Larson’s advanced studio course.

“I am proud of Sydney and Samantha for all their dedication and hard work throughout all of the visual arts classes they’ve taken at Northwestern,” Larson said. “Both artists continue to challenge themselves in the studio, often utilizing unconventional methods, and both have developed ambitious and dynamic bodies of work this semester in their Advanced Studio course. It’s been a pleasure to witness them develop and strengthen their creative voices while becoming more confident in their individual processes of making.”

Endsley graduated from Northwestern on May 7 with a degree in speech and theatre. She recently completed her theatrical senior capstone project, which required her to design most aspects of Pat Cook’s “Clockwork,” in addition to her duties as a director. Larson said Endsley also has been involved in cosplay, which includes costume and makeup design. Her multi-media, heavily layered paintings explore horror, the grotesque and notions of anguish and struggle.

“My artwork is meant to be weird, unsettling and gross at times,” Endlsey said. “It is meant to make the viewer question. Some may even be grosser than others. Some may also tug at the emotions more than others. My art is meant to make the viewer uncomfortable and make them question what they are looking at.”

The Ringwood native said her process was difficult at first.

“I couldn't find what I wanted to do,” she noted. “With a little help from Professor Larson, I was able to find my voice. I began slapping paint on a canvas and moving it around with my hands. I threw coffee grounds and crackers in the painting to give it a gross texture. I moved it all around till I got what I wanted. As for the paintings with the figures in them, I take those more personally because they express my emotions and how I think they would look.”

 Larson said Endsley’s work has really transformed this semester.

“She’s fully embraced her interest in the horror genre and has not only honed her painting skills but also has learned to incorporate and utilize her interests in cosplay, costume and makeup design and her ample experience in theatre in her paintings.  Her surfaces have become dense and active spaces. They feel lived-in and full of drama. There are guts and gore – and not just mere illustrations of the idea of guts and gore – but visceral embodiments, sometimes even scatological in nature, and they impact the viewer on a gut level and further drive home the narrative predicaments and anguish that the disembodied figures move through within the compositions.”

Endsley said she is grateful and thrilled to have her art exhibited in an Oklahoma City art show. She said she thinks it will open many doors for her in the future as her goal is to become a designer in any field. She also would like to strengthen her art and potentially get commissioned and become a better artist through hard work.

Friday, a psychology major from Lake Dallas, Texas, who just finished her junior year at Northwestern, had a painting featured in March at the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition “Momentum” Exhibition in Oklahoma City and is grateful for this newest opportunity as she loves the atmosphere for the artist community in Oklahoma City.

Friday, whose paintings utilize humor and exaggerations of color to depict figures immersed in precarious environments and psychological predicaments, said she has now finished all the classes she needs for a minor in visual arts. After completing her senior year at Northwestern, Friday said she plans to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting.

“This summer and next year I plan on building my portfolio and creating a unique voice for myself,” Friday said. “I also plan on getting my art out there and seen. Kyle Larson has been a tremendous help in teaching me the fundamentals of painting and also rediscovering my passion for visual arts.”

Larson described Friday as “a painter’s painter, through and through.”

“From the first class I had her in, I was immediately impressed with her ability to seamlessly incorporate her unique sense of humor into her work,” he said. “This, coupled with her vast and ever-expanding painting and drawing skillset, make for incredibly honest, often humorous, but always hard-hitting compositions, filled with inventive mark-making and dynamic, off-kilter environments that intertwine bodies, objects and language.  Samantha’s paintings keep the viewer on their toes – each work is inventive and fresh, and she follows the paintings’ lead, a true exploratory painting process.”

Larson explained that the two students’ exhibition at The Art Hall represents a collaboration with its director and independent curator Helen Opper.

“I am so thankful to Helen for working with Sydney and Samantha, giving them new professional experiences and providing them the opportunity to share their work in the context of a larger, urban setting,” Larson said. “Helen works tirelessly to provide platforms for artists throughout the state of Oklahoma, and we are so fortunate and thrilled to work with her for this exhibition.”

To learn more about Northwestern’s visual arts program, visit www.nwosu.edu/school-of-arts-and-sciences/fine-arts/visual-arts.

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