Artists Marissa Raglin and J. Chris Johnson Bring Solo Exhibitions to MAINSITE Contemporary Art

Memories and the emotions tied to them act as a binder between artists Marissa Raglin and J. Chris Johnson, who will each occupy MAINSITE Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main, Norman with solo exhibitions that open this June.

The exhibitions will be celebrated with an opening reception from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 8 and run through Saturday, July 14 with a closing reception scheduled for 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, July 13. Both receptions occur in conjunction with the free 2nd Friday Norman Art Walk — presented by Norman Arts Council — that takes place monthly in the Walker Arts District of Downtown Norman. 

Nest IV by Marissa Raglin

Nest IV by Marissa Raglin

Raglin is an Oklahoma City visual artist and the 2017-2018 Skirvin Paseo Artist in Residence at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel located in downtown Oklahoma City. Currently working in analog collage and resin, she can be found knee-deep in old illustration books and magazines plucked from thrift stores and half-priced book shops. 

Raglin earned her BA in Studio Art from Oklahoma Baptist University with an emphasis in painting. However, she always found herself gravitating to works on paper. It was not until 2014 that Raglin picked up the Xacto knife and began working in collage. 

“Creating with images delicately removed with a cutting blade from vintage magazines, books, and postcards, I favor the endless assemblages of collage imagery,” Raglin said in an artist statement. “Using original, unaltered imagery and basic design elements, the images are compiled and become unified, telling one story. I am drawn to repetition, color, and pattern. Using these elements, I focus on the story that develops between the images” 

Her artist residency program — Cut & Paste OK — has seen her guiding guests at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel to create their own handmade collage postcards, using family photos, magazine clippings, found art and more to assemble their own story through collage. This exhibition, titled Horizons, is her largest showcase since undertaking the artist residency. 

Raglin will provide that opportunity during her exhibition as well, leading an Undercover Artist workshop on collage from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 16 at MAINSITE. Guests are invited to bring reproductions of family photos, postcards and/or family recipe cards to create their own handmade collage work on paper under Raglin’s direction. Registration for the workshop is $25 and available now.

J. Chris Johnson

J. Chris Johnson

Johnson is a prolific, Norman-based oil painter interested in exploring the lives of people around him and bringing into focus that which many people tend to overlook. Johnson got started primarily in portraiture made of dark colors and lines that focused on themes of struggle. The works on display in his MAINSITE exhibition highlight his evolution as an artist as he delves deeper into what it means to confront the viewer with his art. 

His vibrant paintings depict objects engulfed in flame and smoke. They seek to immerse the viewer in the disaster taking place. The juxtaposition of the inviting colors and the tragic subject matter forces the viewer into a struggle with subject. The result is at once unsettling and calming.  

Photographer John Schaefer will have works on display in the Library Gallery. A practicing lawyer, Schaefer’s exhibition features images taken in the enchanting and mysterious countries of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. 

MAINSITE Contemporary Art is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday during the summer. Special appointments can be made for viewing on Saturdays.