Oklahoma artists show their work after a year of ambitious creating with ‘Art 365’

Pete Froslie didn’t set out to become a 21st-century alchemist with his “Art 365” project.

But in the process of studying the complex commodity chains that supply trace elements that go into computer components like hard drives, heat sinks and capacitors, the Norman artist began mining gold, silver and other precious metals from the pile of electronic waste now on view at Norman’s MAINSITE Contemporary Art gallery.

“Alchemy has been in my work probably for some time, but not literal alchemy. I didn’t land in the space where I’m like, ‘I’m looking for the Philosophers’ Stone,’ ” Froslie said. “I just landed in a space where I’m genuinely fascinated by lead’s reaction to silver and how much I can recycle these things, measure them back out, and reconfigure them as I sort of move forward.”

Reactions and reconfigurations are expected for artists who go through “Art 365,” the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s triennial project that offers state artists a year and $12,000 to create innovative artwork in collaboration with a nationally recognized curator.

“It’s designed to be a transformative experience for the artists,” OVAC Associate Director Lauren Scarpello said. “The ‘Art 365′ program kind of puts us on the map in the art world. We’re doing conceptual, ambitious projects here that are really on par with some of the larger arts communities in cities nationwide.”

“Art 365” is such a big undertaking that OVAC only offers it to five artists every three years. The nonprofit organization last year received a $25,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant to fund the 2017 cycle.

OVAC sifted through 78 applicants and selected six artists to develop five projects for “Art 365.” The 2017 participants — Froslie; Amy and James McGirk, of Tahlequah; Narciso Arguelles, Edmond; Andy Mattern, Stillwater; and Kelly Rogers, Oklahoma City — worked with Dana Turkovic, curator of exhibitions at Laumeier…

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