NORMAN, Ok. – MAINSITE Contemporary Art: Home of the Norman Arts Council is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition of work by Marilyn Artus and John Hadley. These two influential artists use personal experiences as inspiration for their work. Exhibition Dates: October 14th, 2011 – November 19th, 2011 Opening Reception: Friday, October 14th, 6:00 -9:00 p.m. Hours of Operation: 11:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday and by appointment MARILYN ARTUS hails from a long line of female needle and cloth artists. She infuses this history into her own art by embroidering her canvases that tell stories about the interaction between religion, femininity and mass media. Graduating with a BFA from the University of Oklahoma in 1991, ARTUS began her career as a designer for United Design Corporation and Relevant Products. In 2004, she co-founded the Girlie Show, a two-day annual all-female art and craft show in Oklahoma City. After creating the Girlie show, she founded the Oklahoma City branch of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti Art School where she serves as headmistress today. Artus describes her work as “Neo-pop and desires to share with her audience her explorations into the American culture and the expectations that are ever present for women.” Her process involves designing and printing her own canvas and then through a mixture of painting, drawing and embroidering she renders feminine figures. She hopes that by combining feminine images with traditionally feminine skills like embroidery she can “define what it means to be a woman, define an aspect of the female persona and show how female experiences are unique from most men’s.” JOHN HADLEY is inspired by music, family, and words in both his songwriting and visual art. The influences of his family and his experiences in the music industry can be seen throughout his work. He uses his work to tell stories about music, words, his wife Judy, their four children and three grandchildren, utilizing both his own imagery and imagery created by family and friends. Not only is his family an inspirational part of his art they are active participants as they contribute to his series of collaborative drawings. Hadley is a former professor of art at the University of Oklahoma where he taught from 1965 to 1987. Living between Norman and Nashville, Hadley has long been known as an award-winning songwriter for world-famous musicians. Beginning work with the Smothers Brothers in California and then signing on with Sony Music, Hadley has to date written nearly 1,000 songs and has had over 18 million copies of his songs sold worldwide. Hadley’s experiences in the music industry and his passion for family allow him to give his work a more personal feeling. The family stories that he shares are witty, sentimental and inviting. As you look at the work you become a part of his family for a brief moment. Artists who have recorded songs either written or co-written by Hadley include Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller, Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks, John Hiatt, Joe Cocker, Trisha Yearwood, Wynonna, Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy, George Jones, George Burns, Dean Martin, Jerry Reed, T. Graham Brown, Tim O'Brien, David Olney and Sergio Webb, Gary Nicholson and Asleep at the Wheel, Jools Holland (formerly of "Squeeze") Bobby Bare, Moe Bandy, Del Reeves, Sammi Smith, Byron Berline and "California, Country Gazette, The Maines Brothers Band, The Bama Band (Hank Williams Jr.'s) band, and many others. During the opening reception on October 14, 2011, Hadley will play a selection of his songs. Also included in the exhibit will be an exhibit by Tara Najd Ahmadi, the first of six featured artists. The Norman Arts Council introduced the Individual Artists Awards this year. Exhibits will be on display in the MAINSITE Contemporary Art library between October 2011 and June 2012. One of the featured artists will be a Norman high school senior. The selected artists will each receive a $600 honorarium for their project to be paid at the conclusion of the exhibit. Ahmadi states that “place has always been one of the main themes of artists who have moved and been displaced. Immigrants as growing groups of people, who don't own any place and constantly move through different borders, form a sort of resistance – a resistance against the geopolitical rules that shape borders, maps and countries. Immigrants carry the images and memories of different places and juxtapose and adapt them to the pictures of the actual places that they live in. I am interested in working in the intersection of memory and place by creating imaginary maps based on actual places. The idea is influenced by Guy Debord's texts on moving cities that are in perpetual construction and deconstruction.” The exhibit will consist of six silkscreen prints on 20 x 20 inch pieces of paper, which form historic maps. The imagery will be representative of two places that Ahmadi has lived and collected photos: Tehran, Iran and Norman, Oklahoma. Both Tehran and Norman are built around railroads and contain a lot of abandoned empty buildings. Life in both of these places has a slower pace than most urbanized areas. Each of the maps will have its own time and narrative from places that are identical and special to her. The images are composed of silkscreen prints of photos and faces and drawings. For more information on MAINSITE Contemporary Art or the Norman Arts Council, visit or ###