All at Once

New paintings by Kate Petley

April 20th - June 1st, 2018

Opening reception - April 20th, 2018 from 5:00 until 8:00 pm


Kate Petley’s paintings command an incredible presence through luminous color and dimensionally charged form. Through an innovative conceptual process, Kate’s approach significantly contributes to the expanding story of abstraction today. 


Each step of her process impacts the final image.  Originating with a photographed collage made of simple materials like cardboard, the rough materials are transformed into a richly layered and subtle surface that defies explanation. Illusion and pure energy combine to create a hypnotic experience of place and sensation. 


Connecting the history of abstract painting with the contemporary digital movement, Kate proves that the idea that photography is “fast” and painting is “slow” is false.  Her process stems from a time consuming conceptual practice, investigating the marriage of mediums and initiating a dialogue between the viewer and the art of perception.


Experiencing the work in person, the viewer is drawn in to a visual realm where Kate’s sophisticated painterly touch initiates a visual pull.  As Ann Landi states in a recent essay, “Petley’s works are richly and immediately accessible, and they carry on traditions while adding a vibrant and provocative voice to the still-unfolding story of abstraction."


Kate’s work has been exhibited at the MCA Denver, the Museum of South Texas, the Nicolaysen Museum, the Martin Museum at Baylor University, the Museum of the Southwest, Diverseworks Houston, and the Center for Contemporary Art Santa Fe. Kate has been featured in twenty-seven solo exhibitions and has completed numerous public commissions and installations. 


Recently awarded a residency in Ireland, she participated in How to Flatten a Mountain for PhotoIreland 2017.  She is a Ucross Foundation Fellowship recipient and was granted an invitational residency at the Mayer of Munich Architectural Art Glass studio in Germany. Previous awards include an NEA Rockefeller Foundation Grant.  Her work has been included in four issues of New American Paintings.


Kate's work appears in the collections of the Federal Reserve Bank Kansas City, the Houston Airport System, the City of Houston, the Nicolaysen Museum, Casper WY; Polsinelli LLC Dallas, Chicago, and Denver; Fidelity Investments Boston and Denver, UCLA Hospital Santa Monica, and Morgan Stanley San Francisco, in addition to other corporate and private collections throughout the US. 



Paintings by Ward Schumaker

March 2nd – April 13th 2018



Painter, Illustrator and bookmaker, Ward Schumaker creates intimate compositions that derive meaning from memory, dream-scape, and literary sources. Earlier in his life he gained recognition illustrating for such clients as The New York Times, Hermès, United Airlines, Süddeutsche ZeitungLe FigaroThe New Yorker and Japanese Esquire.


But his true passion always centered on painting and during those years he secretly worked on fine art. It was in 2003, in a class at the San Francisco Center for the Book, that Schumaker first experimented with mixing bookbinding paste with acrylics to create hand-painted, one-of-a-kind books. The resulting work caught the eye of a Shanghai gallerist who offered to show the pages, unbound, as paintings for the wall. The work evolved and grew and has since drawn attention from many in the art world—finding its way into numerous private and public collections in the form of paintings, sculpture and books.


Employing text, cut paper, and gestural brush strokes, Schumaker’s work can be read as related to the work of Terry Winters, Cy Twombly, and Anselm Keifer. He enjoys the hard, tactile surface that the medium of paste and acrylic lends to his work, stating that its unpredictability adds an element of uncertainty which he finds necessary as a catalyst for breaking new ground. Through the abstract brushwork and incorporated text, a quiet, private space is presented, often harkening back to his childhood on the Nebraska prairie, provoking intriguing, intimate thought fields of past and present experience.


Ward will show 16 works-on-paper at Orth Contemporary starting March 2nd. Titled Stacking Up Adding Up, the show features paintings which include stacking shapes, from circular columns to globes to pyramids. The works appear architectural, but somehow spiritual, as well. Some are more linear in style while others lean towards abstract expressionism through the use of intense brushwork. Most often, the work draws the eye upward, evoking a positive construction, versus destruction. A much-needed visualization in a time of cultural dishevelment.


Orth Contemporary will also show three of Ward's hand-painted books: one one-of-a-kind plus two small, limited edition hand-stenciled titles.


At 7pm on Wednesday, March 28th, Ward will speak at Magic City Books in Tulsa about his life of books, art, and about his newest work, Hate is What We Need (published by Chronicle Books).


A reception will be held for the artist on Thursday, March 29h at Orth Contemporary from 5 – 8 pm.                      

Seldom will you encounter contemporary art in any medium of such relaxed, fearless confidence....Very rarely does a critic encounter new work that immediately rewards a lifetime of learning to look. No one who cares about seeing as a sensation of life should miss this chance to inspect Schumaker's albums."

Kenneth Baker, SF Gate 2013 (San Francisco Chronicle)




Molly Dilworth




January 12th - February 23rd 2018


"I moved to Tulsa in January 2016 for the Tulsa Artist Fellowship knowing next to nothing about the place. It was a leap of faith.

I’ve lived in NYC since August 2001, and every once in a while the whole city - 8 million people – are feeling the same thing at once. This can be great (first day of spring!) or terrible (9/11), but after the killing of Eric Garner, being in close proximity to two subway shootings and seeing the police barricade precinct entrances, I needed some faith.


In Tulsa, I learned about the oil industry, female incarceration rates, thriving contemporary Indigenous histories and the Greenwood Massacre. More vulnerable young people had their lives taken too soon, there was a tense election which the made the country more volatile. In the meantime, my studio was filling up with strange little sculptures that seemed to be little beings, both in their personalities and physical vulnerabilities. For the last six months I loaned this work out as an excuse to have conversations, to be vulnerable. I don’t know if it worked. 


The title for the exhibition comes from Don’t Call Us Dead, the most recent collection of poems by Danez Smith. The epigraph reminds me that I was privileged to go out to Tulsa and come back, that the work, sweet and candy colored, was loaned and came back. But the real reason I chose it was to remind me about the necessity of joy – of living - in the face of death."


Molly has created outdoor site-specific paintings in New York City and exhibited across the United States. She has been a resident artist at the Salina Art Center in Kansas and in the Art & Law Program with the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in NYC. Molly's work was part of Spontaneous Interventions: design actions for the common good in the U.S. Pavilion at the 13th  International Venice Architecture Biennale.  She has also been an artist in residence at Recess Activities/Pioneer Works (2012), in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Program (2013) and Smack-Mellon (2014). In the spring of 2013 Molly installed a permanent exterior painting for the Garden at The James Hotel in Lower Manhattan. Recent commissions include a 6,000 sq. ft. mural for Toledo, a temporary garden for a city block in Seattle, and a sculpture for a light rail station in Denver.



Molly Dilworth will be present at the opening reception, January 12th, from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. to meet the public and answer questions.  All are welcome to attend.


Eric Sall / Turn of a Slip

October 20th, 2017 - November 30th, 2017

Eric Sall's paintings embody fluid gesture, emblematic shape, and eccentric pattern to create abstract canvases that are seemingly familiar yet distinctly individual.

Ranging from the intimate to the monumental, Sall's signature, sophisticated approach employs an open characteristic throughout. 


Combining geometric shapes with gestural abstraction, pattern, and movement, Sall’s paintings are impactful and always interesting.  The work does not give you all its got at first glance.  Meaning emerges through use of clever titles that parallel the imagery, from canvas to canvas and from past to present.  

Eric Sall received a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Sall is the recipient of an Art in Architecture commission from the General Services Administration, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, a Virginia Museum of Fine Art Fellowship, and a Charlotte Street Fund Award. Eric is currently residing in Tulsa, OK, as a fellow of The Tulsa Artist Fellowship, a program of the George Kaiser Family Foundation.


The artist will be present for his reception in Tulsa, October 20th, from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. to meet the public and answer questions.  All are welcome to attend.


The Gratitude Project by Danica Phelps

September 8th, 2017 - October 13th, 2017


Danica Phelps was inspired to create The Gratitude Project after listening to stories on NPR about refugees leaving their homes with nothing after suffering indescribable trauma in war torn countries.  She wanted to try to do something to help not only refugees but other people in need of assistance due to their specific circumstance    The process began with the creation of 41 drawings of simple and modest things in Danica’s life that she was thankful for.  The drawings created were then auctioned on Facebook. Each drawing chosen was paired with a different organization working to make the world a better place.  The price was set by the winning bid, after which, anyone could purchase a generation of the drawing at that price.  The purchaser received the drawing when Danica received the check made out to the specified organization.  The resulting diptychs contain the final generation of the original drawing, paired with a new drawing of the work that the chosen organization does to help bring positive change and growth. 


The Gratitude Project has traveled to numerous venues both Nationally and Internationally. It will now come to Orth Contemporary.  10% of the profit from each of the pieces sold will be donated to the organization that the drawing illustrates. We hope this exhibit will keep the dialogue alive about how art can help make a positive global impact.


Please join us for the opening reception on September 8th, 2017 from 5:00 until 8:00 pm.  Danica will be present at the opening reception.  All are welcome 



Tara Thacker

July 30th, 2017 - August 18th 2017


Throughout time, utilitarian tools and nature have been used by people to prosper.  For sculptor, Tara Thacker, these elements have abstract aesthetic appeal.  Dissecting each component, Thacker focuses on the linearity of the overall form and its basic parts.  It is the underlying fluidity of these elements that Tara emphasizes and recreates as elegant works of art. 


Highly tactile and monochromatic, repetition is central to the process. The works begin with a single component which serves as architectural building blocks that are then combined in various ways to discover how they interact visually. Thousands of porcelain parts are tied and woven together to create ambiguous surfaces and landscapes. 


Most recently, Thacker has taken her sculptural work as a reference to create two- dimensional pieces.  The shadows cast from the sculptures are captured through photography and made into inkjet prints.  In this way, the idea of linearity is punctuated yet retains the elegance of form.  These prints are enhanced in size, further emphasizing the notion of elegance in simplistic abstract shapes.  A dialogue to the three-dimensional work that retains a quiet appeal. 


Thacker received her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and her MFA from the University of Washington in Seattle and has had numerous shows throughout the US.



Henry Jackson 

May 12th, 2017 - July 16th, 2017


In Jackson’s work, there is a strong lineage to artists who have embraced the figure in their work, relying on its significance to communicate experience. Jackson has taken this shared tradition to a compelling level, conveying a complexity of contemporary humanity in it’s ever-changing state.  


In Jackson’s youth, storytelling played a significant role, stemming from local folklore passed down to him about his Pacific Island ancestry. It is within the influence of these compelling myths that Jackson harnessed the power of visual storytelling; the ability to reach a deeper reality. Jackson approaches his painting process instinctively, allowing for an unrestricted and less confined outcome. This practice allows him to trust his artistic approach, freeing the work to become more universal and less personal.


By abstracting of the form, the figure is continued in an evolutionary way, departing from the obvious subjective body to a more inner focused reflection. Through color and shape, there is often an energetic physical appeal, a climax to a higher state of awareness. Jackson says his personal struggles growing up as a gay man, allowed him to appreciate the hidden freedom abstraction permits; this slow reveal to better comprehend complexity. It is within this camouflage that Jackson is provided with the ability to convey the power of complex existence.


Jackson’s skill as a natural storyteller enables his paintings to reach deep into the soul, touching upon what connects us on a primitive level; a sensation of something that is universally identifiable. The figure acts as a catalyst for personal exploration, speaking to the viewer’s sense of self and our awareness of what unifies us.