I’m a visual artist, not a verbal artist, so I’ll keep this short. My sculpture could be defined as primitive inspired art with a modern spin and a touch of humor. I am self taught in many aspects, hut have received a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Oklahoma City University. Power tools and power carver are my tools of trade. People should sum up my art and titles with their own perspectives on the work – not mine, which is what’s great about art. It’s interpretative, not concrete.Download Joe Slack's printable statement.
Primitive art and mid-century modern design is what inspires Joe Slack’s figurative abstract steel sculptures. The Oklahoma City artist intuitively works with simplified forms and repetitive patterns influenced by human observation and the effects of positive and negative space. Tongue-in-cheek sentiments often find their way into his titles, and Slack encourages viewers to find their own meaning when it comes to his art.
“I want people to walk away with their own perspective on the work,” explains Slack. “Once you create it and put it out there, you can’t control what people think. I want them to see their version of my piece. And I hope people walk away a littler happier than before they saw it.”
Slack attended art school at Oklahoma City University and began his sculpting career with wood, a material he’d been drawn to since he was a kid building skateboard ramps in his backyard. Woodworking was his primary medium for several years after college, but once he discovered the magnitude and the permanence of steel, he shifted his vision.
“I like that with steel you can work on a monumental scale,” says Slack. “I like seeing people walk up to a piece and look up.”
Steel allowed Slack to think bigger, which has landed him quite a few public art opportunities in Oklahoma. Slack currently has 11 permanently placed pieces, plus two major installations with 8 to 10 sculptures on site (see these pieces under the “Commissions” tab on this page.) Even though the bulk of his pieces are monumental, Slack works in a range of sizes from four-inch “pocket sculptures” to pieces that stand up to 12 feet high. View his outdoor sculpture at the gallery and explore more about the artist’s process on our blog.Download Joe Slack's printable biography.
Boulevard median, Edmond, Oklahoma: “Cloned Cube” purchased by Barry and Dorene Shadid in partnership with the Edmond Visual Arts Commission, June 2010 and placed on the Boulevard median off Wyane Avenue. “Cloned Cube” is steel with powder coat finish, measuring 104″ x 52″ x 12″.
Infant Crisis Services Center Commission: a 10 piece commission that consisted of eight outdoor powder coated steel sculptures ranging in size from 36″ to 78″ tall. The commission also included two 120″ long by 20″ tall wood wall sculptures. These were installed February 2009 at 4224 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Earlywine Park: “Intestinal Fortitude” purchased and installed February 2009. This work is located at the entrance to Earlywine Park in S.W. Oklahoma City directly in front of the YMCA. It was purchased from the Oklahoma City Public Art Competition where it had been on display at the Oklahoma City Municipal Building from October 2007 – September 2008. It is powder-coated steel measuring 77″ x 24″ x 12″.
Classen Circle: “Who in Motion” purchased and installed February 2009. It’s located on the SW corner of Classen and NW Expressway in North Oklahoma City. “Who in Motion” was purchased from the Oklahoma City Public Art Competition where it had been on display at the Oklahoma City Municipal Building from October 2007 – September 2008. it is powder coated steel measuring 72″ x 23″ x 10″.
Line Gallery, Oklahoma City, May 2007
Individual Artists of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, February 2005
Ozmosis Gallery, Bethesda, Maryland, September/October 2004
Omniplex Kirkpatrick Gallery, Oklahoma City, July/August 2003
Selected Group Exhibitions:
IAO: “Know Thyself” self portraits by Oklahoma artists, Sept. 3 – Oct. 10, 2008
Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts: Environs furniture exhibit & sculpture park, April 22-27, 2008
Co-designer of “Creature Comforts” with Brian Fitzsimmons, Oklahoma City, OK
OVAC: “Momentum, Art Doesn’t Stand Still”, Jan. 11, 12, 2008, Oklahoma City, OK
City Arts Center: “Illumination, the Art of Lighting & Furniture”, Nov. 15 – Dec. 22, 2007, Oklahoma City, OK
The Oklahoma City Public Sculpture & Competition and Exhibition: two powder coated steel sculptures on display at the entrance of Oklahoma City Hall, Oct. 15, 2007 – Sept. 30, 2008
OVAC: “Momentum, Art Doesn’t Stand Still” Jan. 12-20, 2007, Oklahoma City, OK
JRB Gallery: “Small Works Show”, Dec. 1, 2006 – Jan 5, 2007, Oklahoma City, OK
City Arts Center: “Heroes and Outlaws”, 100 Oklahomans by 100 Oklahomans, Nov. 11 – Dec. 28, 2006
IAO: “One Off Broadway”, furniture show Oct. 5 – 31, 2006, Oklahoma City, OK
Leslie Powell Gallery: “Vision Makers”, March 11 – April 3, 2006, Lawton, OK
City Arts Center: “13th Annual City Arts Invitational”, Jan. 27 – Feb. 7, 2006, Oklahoma City, OK
Eleanor Hays Gallery: “Smile Show”, Northern Oklahoma College, Jan. 26 – Feb. 28, 2006, Tonkawa, OKIAO: “Edge Art”, 14th Annual Mixed Media Exhibition, Aug. 7 – 30, 2005, Oklahoma City, OK
OVAC: “Momentum, Art Doesn’t Stand Still”, June 2 – 9, 2005, Tulsa, OK
Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts: “Environs”, furniture exhibit, April 20 – 25, 2005, Oklahoma City, OK
IAO: “Vision Makers”, 3-D exhibition, Feb. 7 – March 1, 2004, Oklahoma City, OK
Dishman Gallery: “Disman Competition”, Lamar University, Jan. 1 – 30, 2003, Beaumont, TX
Norick Gallery: Senior Exhibit Oklahoma City University, April 4 – 30, 2001, Oklahoma City, OK
Norick Gallery: Student Art Show 2001, winner of 3-D Best in Show, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City, OK
Norick Gallery: Student Art Show 2000, winner of Overall Best in Show, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City, OK
Bachelor of Studio Fine Arts, Oklahoma City University, 2001