Seven-States Biennial Exhibition to open Sept. 23

Logo for the 2017 Seven-States Biennial Exhibition

Seven-States Biennial Exhibition to open Sept. 23


The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s Nesbitt Gallery will hold the opening reception for the 2017 Seven-States Biennial Exhibition on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 7p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. 

The juried exhibit will feature dozens of works from professional contemporary artists residing in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico.

Awards for this highly competitive showcase will be announced during the reception. First prize is $2,500, second is $1,500, third is $500 and five honorable mentions will receive $100 each. There will also be up to $6,000 in purchase prizes. 

“It was a pleasure to have this opportunity and see all of the work submitted,” said William Cannings, juror for the 2017 Seven-State Biennial. “I was drawn to work with a strong visual presence, where the artists show a strong connection to the material. I wanted to juxtapose well-executed 2D, 3D and installation pieces demonstrating a sensitivity to the materials and ideas. Where I could, I chose multiple works by artists to show the strength in their practice. My intent is that this selection invites the audience to consider execution and construction as integral to finding the meaning in each work.”

The exhibition will be displayed in the Nesbitt Gallery until Oct. 20. It will then be shown at the Goddard Center in Ardmore from Oct. 31 to Nov. 22 before making its last stop at the Museum of the Red River in Idabel from Jan. 23, 2018, until March 25.

William Cannings is a native of Nantwich, England, who received his master of fine arts degree from Syracuse University and his bachelor’s from Virginia Commonwealth University. His work focuses on inflated metal sculptures and installations, and has been exhibited in Basel, Switzerland; New York; Baltimore; Albuquerque; Miami; and Houston, Dallas and Wichita Falls. A review of Canning’s work has appeared in ART LIES, an international arts journal.

The Seven-States Biennial was created in 2001 to showcase the artistic talent in Oklahoma and adjacent states by Cecil Lee, who founded the USAO Art Gallery in 1997, which was renamed the Nesbitt Gallery in 2012. Lee began his long teaching career as an instructor in art for the University of Oklahoma in 1959. He helped create their bachelor of fine arts and master’s in art programs during the 1960s. After retiring from OU in 1988, Lee served as Regents’ professor of art at USAO for more than two decades.