On View Now: Steven Wise’s “O…Is for Ozarks”

Steven Wise: O…Is for Ozarks
On view through Saturday, October 29, 2022
Loft Gallery, CALS Galleries & Bookstore at Library Square, Roberts Library

O…Is for Ozarks is made up of large pictures inspired by artist and naturalist Steven Wise’s study of the Ozark Mountains. (Click to expand the images.)

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Steven Wise says: “I believe that the search for beauty is a political act. My work forces people to stop, perhaps step out of conflict, and, for a moment, engage in the essential human experience of wonder. It is my hope that people viewing my paintings will take time to slow down, to look more closely, and to find themselves at a place outside the chaos of daily life. These pictures offer spaces that bring light, grace, and mercy to those who choose to gaze deeply into art works.

“I have titled my most recent project O…Is for Ozarks. This collection is made up of large pictures inspired by my study of the Ozark Mountains, the natural surroundings in which I live and which I consider home. These new works derive from my exploration of the natural world of northwest Arkansas as both naturalist and artist. I hike in the Ozarks and use a camera and a sketchbook to record my observations of the landscape to discover new forms and colors. These notes and sketches serve as a jumping-off point to help me develop a unique abstract language of line, form, and color.”

Steven Wise is a painter and a father of five children, with the younger three living at home. He lives in a duplex at the end of a cul-de-sac near soccer fields, bike trails, and a string of chicken-processing plants in Rogers, Arkansas. All the while painting and exhibiting work, Wise spends the bulk of his time teaching elementary art in the Rogers Public Schools and teaching drawing and painting at Northwest Arkansas Community College.

Wise’s paintings have been exhibited in solo shows at Simpson College, Henderson State University, Spiva Center for the Arts, Arts Center of the Ozarks, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and, most recently, the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. Additionally, his work has been exhibited in the most competitive exhibitions in his home state such as the annual Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock (2020, 2010, 2004, 2003, 2000) and the Arkansas Arts Council’s annual Small Works on Paper Exhibition (2022, 2018, 2017, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2004, 1999). Wise has curated two traveling exhibitions of contemporary painting. From 2002 to 2003, Perfect Fit featured the work of four artists exhibited at Widener University, the Walton Arts Center, and Simpson College. From 2013 to 2017, Abstract Arkansas involved ten abstract artists living in Arkansas who share a commitment to abstraction. Abstract Arkansas traveled to art centers in Little Rock, Tulsa, Springdale, and Batesville. In 2022, Wise was an artist in residence at CACHE Studios in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Roberts Library visiting information is here.




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