EASTLAND ARTIST RECOGNIZED BY STATE OF OKLAHOMA, Brings Passion to Museum Place Arts Incubator
01/10/2013 - By Jeff Clark
The Oklahoma Arts Coalition recently added a painting by Eastland artist Katherine Gordon Rice to its permanent collection, housed in the Betty Price Galleries on the first floor of the Oklahoma State Capitol building in Oklahoma City. A placard titled Highlights of the Collection describes the show as "more than twenty masterworks by significant artists…capturing a full range of style, subject matter and expression...From Charles Banks Wilson's Wilson Paints a Capitol Mural...to Katherine Gordon Rice's Tatiana, which portrays dancers preparing for a performance, these selected works represent mastery...in composition, color and principles of design."
This nationally-noted honor again recognizes Rice as a leader among today's practicing Texas artists, increasing the value of Rice's works already in private collections for their owners.
The large oil painting was inspired by Rice's friendship with Professor Victor Koshkin-Youritzen, long-time Professor of Art History at the University of Oklahoma. Koshkin-Youritzen mentored the painter in her early years, later nominating Rice for a coveted Guggenheim Fellowship in the Fine Arts. "Tatiana" is one of the dancers in the painting (seated, front, in profile), who was Professor Koshkin-Youritzen's mother.
"Victor told me about his mother, who was stunningly beautiful and truly courageous. She came to the U.S. from Russia by herself, and raised two boys dancing at Radio City Music Hall. I was inspired by her story. This painting is based on an old black and white photo from the 1930's. I had to make up the colors from my imagination. I took twelve years of ballet myself, so that helped," says Rice. "At the time (1995) I was working as a waitress, so the idea of dreams coming true was very personal for me."
For the artist, being encouraged by a person she regarded as a legend in the world of art was a real landmark in her career. It helped her persevere in her dream to work as a painter when most everyone around her thought the idea was crazy.
"My mother was the only one in my family who really believed in me. It was so special and appropriate for her to be with me when I saw "Tatiana" installed at the Oklahoma State Capitol," she said.
Young Eastland County people who are gifted in the arts must have appropriate mentoring and encouragement in order to thrive. That's why Rice is so passionate about building an Arts Incubator at Museum Place in Eastland.
"I want to see our young people grow up to have their dreams fulfilled, too," she said. "If our kids aren't allowed to be creative, they will turn destructive and no one wants that. The cost of a few art supplies and a place where it's okay to make a mess is tiny compared to the cost in human terms if we let them fall through the cracks."
The Eastland County Arts Incubator is slated to begin renovation of the fourth floor of the Museum Place building in 2013. It will house working studios and classroom space, as well as a gallery, research library and art supply store. Volunteers and donations are needed to get the incubator fully operational.
To learn more about the Eastland County Arts Incubator, or to donate online, please visit www.eastlandarts.org. Rice's paintings can be seen online at www.gordongalleries.com.
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