An exhibition titled Secrets of the Universe and Other Works by Gary Shilling will open with an artist’s reception on Friday, January 14th from 6-9pm. The exhibition by artist Gary Schilling will consist of one large work comprised of 76 separate pieces hung tightly together titled Secrets of the Universe and a collection of other works by the artist. The exhibition will remain on view through February 5th, 2011.

Secrets of the Universe is a large scale work comprised of 76 smaller works created with mixed media paint and collage techniques. The works will be situated tightly adjacent to one another with push pins creating a look that has been compared to both the work of Robert Rauschenberg and the paneled layout of a comic book. The artist includes no easily discernable plot or narrative in the work and his aim is for the work to conjure more questions than it answers.

“The piece is an investigation into the BIG secret that the universe holds,” states the artist.  Shilling, who had spent much of the mid to late 1980s and early 1990s living an artist’s and musician’s life in New York City, returned to Oklahoma City in 1994 to care for his ailing mother. The day before his mother past, he created the first collage in the Secrets of the Universe series. “I’ve learned a few things. Most importantly is that death doesn’t exist. No one dies—not in the ‘End of the Road’ way.” The artist continues, “Energy doesn’t cease. We become part of the Universe.”

In the creation of Secrets of the Universe, Gary Shilling consciously attempts to not work in a set style. In fact, he deliberately tries to work from his subconscious to create many of the single works that comprise the Secrets of the Universe. The artist does use the imagery of airplanes, insects and birds to thread the smaller works into one larger more cohesive work. Unlike the majority of small compositions, these images of flight have a very specific meaning related to the spirit systems of the Congo. It is through the inclusion of these elements that the artist is able to unify the divergent pieces of the whole.

While Secrets of the Universe is deliberately not about style, the other works in his exhibition are. Shilling uses a mix of styles including expressionism, a collaged aesthetic, as well as pop art style that pays homage to the work 1980s New York City art scene.

Gary Shilling is an artist, writer and musician living in Oklahoma City. His work has been exhibited in solo, collaborative and group shows in Oklahoma as well as New York, Canada, England, Germany, Mexico, and Russia among others. His drawings and writing have been published in Oklahoma City; Pensacola, Florida; and Osaka, Japan. As frontman for Pulpit Red, he has toured regionally and their music has been included on more than 28 compilations as well as been used in film and television.


Individual Artists of Oklahoma (IAO), is a nonprofit arts organization with a multimedia gallery and event space located on historic Film Row, at 706 W Sheridan in Downtown Oklahoma City. 

Individual Artists of Oklahoma is committed to sustaining and encouraging emerging and established artists in all media who are intellectually and aesthetically provocative or experimental in subject matter or technique.

IAO creates opportunities for Oklahoma artists by curating and developing socially relevant exhibitions in one of the finest gallery spaces in the region. The IAO Gallery features works and exhibitions that display innovative and thought-provoking concepts and approaches that broaden the dialogue with the community and enhance public understanding of the role of contemporary art and the artist.


For more information about IAO and contemporary art in Oklahoma, please visit IAO’s Web site:


Contact:         Clint Stone
IndividualArtists of Oklahoma