Claire Dabney

Claire Dabney (Stillwater, OK), Midsommar’s Psychosis, 36” x 38”, oil paint and embroidery floss, 2021

The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition has selected Stillwater's Claire Dabney, a senior at Oklahoma State University, as one of two student fellowship award winners.

OVAC announced the awards earlier this week. Norman's Jason Cytacki and Tulsa's Skip Hill were announced as Visual Arts Fellows, while University of Oklahoma artist Dimani Barzbashi joined Dabney as a student fellow.

“The Fellowship and Student Fellowship Awards honor these artists’ achievements and offer financial support for visual artists here in Oklahoma,” says OVAC’s Executive Director, Krystle Kaye. “We are so proud of these artists and we look forward to the next chapter in their careers.”

Dabney, who is entering her final semester at OSU, works in photography, oil paint and fiber arts.

"Dabney’s photography focuses on feminist iconography, while her paintings confront social issues and mental health," the OVAC release reads.

Her work has been featured at the Modella Gallery.

"In my most recent work, I strive to create meaningful pieces that everyone can relate to in some way. In this collection of artwork, viewers will see subjects ranging from COVID and repressed anger to body image and mental health," she told OVAC. "My paintings titled 'Mommie Dearest' and 'Midsommar’s Psychosis' employ film characters to represent feelings that are too convoluted to simply describe—the state of mind of an uncontrollable addict, and the psychosis of a woman that has lost everything and is desperate to feel loved—these psychological challenges are common, but rarely confronted. The other eight pieces are more of an inward look into my own insecurities and health struggles, whether they be mental or physical. My photography solely looks into the complexities of bodily insecurities such as weight, age, and makeup. My remaining five paintings tackle the issues of being locked up during COVID and offer a look into emotional range, the aid of medication, and the idealization of contorted relationships.

"My newfound signature in my painting work is my use of embroidery floss. I have found that it creates a spectacular deepening effect in the work and makes the figures seem tactile enough to interact with. When experiencing my art, I hope that every person sees a part of themselves that just seems too terrifying to face alone. That those dark corners of your mind are brightened, with the knowledge that you are not alone in your situation."

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