USAO News Bureau

Metro Artist Seabourn Soars with ‘Flight’ Exhibit

Friday, November 10, 2006

CHICKASHA – If art reflects one’s deepest desires, then Connie Seabourn must dream of flying. Beginning Nov. 12, the Oklahoma City artist is coming to University of Science and Arts with a special exhibit in the USAO Art Gallery.

Her exhibit, entitled, “Flight, Dreams and Journeys,” is a colorful mixture of media portraying images in nature, religious icons, women and wildlife; particularly birds in flight. The public is invited to a special opening reception on Nov. 12 at 4 p.m. during which Seabourn will be available.

Seabourn said she calls upon dreams, music, books and “thought-provoking workshops” for inspiration. In fact, art is an everyday part of her life.

“I'm one of those people who can't remember a time when I wasn't making art,” Seabourn said. “I grew up with a father who was a visual artist, with parents who collected art. It was a very natural thing. Visual art and music are still the main topics of conversation at home. It's almost like we eat, sleep and breathe it.”

Seabourn’s solo exhibit at the USAO Gallery runs through Dec. 8. Her curious collection features paintings rich in hues of reds, blues and greens. While many pieces have a distinctly Native American influence, others seem more modern, with three-dimensional textures and contemporary imagery. Many of the pieces, however, reflect flight, whether birds, dragonflies, space or flying figures.

Additionally, Seabourn is displaying a set of water color paintings designed for a future children’s book. The set includes delightful portraits of children, puppies and rabbits designed for the young spirit.

Seabourn said children are important part of her art. In fact, they’re one of her biggest influences.

“I draw from things that I hear children say,” Seabourn said. “Especially if I can remember thinking or feeling the same thing, or if I've heard it from more than one child. This makes me think that it may be a universal feeling or thought.”

From the beginning of her career, Seabourn has dedicated herself to being a full-time artist, even while being a full-time mother. In 1981, she earned a bachelor’s degree in printmaking from the University of Oklahoma. She went on to finish her master’s degree in art education from the University of Central Oklahoma.

All the while, she supported herself and her daughter “solely and completely from sales” of her art, an occupation for which she is very thankful.

“I feel very grateful and fortunate to have a career that allowed me to stay at home with my daughter,” Seabourn said.

For Seabourn, art has always been a family affair. Her father, Bert Seabourn, made a name for himself as a prominent Native American expressionistic painter over the past 30 years. Today, her daughter, Elizabeth Seabourn Dean, is an artist of her own repute and an art teacher at Deer Creek High School, north of Oklahoma City. According to Seabourn, her daughter is familiar with Chickasha and USAO.

“She takes a bus load of her students every spring to the sidewalk chalk art contest at USAO,” she said.

Although Seabourn recognizes the artistic influences in her life, she attributes her affinity for art history to a local source – Regents professor of art and director of the USAO Art Gallery Cecil Lee.

“I not only enjoy using references to art history and artists in my work, but my love for art history itself came from having Cecil Lee as a teacher when I was at OU,” Seabourn said. Lee is in his 15th year at USAO.

A prolific artist, Seabourn has been exhibiting original pieces since the age of 18. Nearly 40 years later, Seabourn’s original paintings and mixed media works are in dozens of public and private collections around the nation, including some of the country’s largest and most recognizable corporations. Her works have been seen in more than 115 exhibits nationwide.

Seabourn’s exhibits and collections include the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City; the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.; the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Ariz.; and the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, to name a few.

Her original pieces hang in the headquarters of such companies as The Tyson Food Company, Xerox and a handful of hospitals and clinics throughout Oklahoma City.

Now that her daughter has a family of her own – Seabourn’s granddaughter Maya and family live only a block away – Seabourn shares her artistic experience and training with an up-and-coming generation. Over the past six years, she has instructed multiple art classes at Rose State College, from painting and drawing to watercolor and art appreciation.

“I love making art and find myself working harder and faster all the time,” Seabourn said. “Life seems shorter and I feel the need to go faster. I also have a lot to share at this time in my life and enjoy doing that through teaching.”

Seabourn’s art exhibit is on display Nov. 12 – Dec. 8. The 4 p.m. opening reception on Nov. 12 is free and open to the public. The USAO Art Gallery is located in Davis Hall on 17th Street between Alabama and Grand Avenue. Art Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. More information is available at (405) 574-1374 or online at www.usao.edu/gallery.