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Diana J. Smith

‘Mystical Menagerie’ provides a fantasy circus


Mystical Menagerie’ provides a fantasy circus





“Climbing Mountains” by Katie O’Sullivan.[PHOTO PROVIDED]


When: Through Nov. 15. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Fridays; and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Where: Kasum Contemporary Fine Art Gallery, 1706 NW 16. Closing reception: 7 to 10 p.m. Nov. 13. Information: 604-6602, 818-2174 or www.kasum

“A Mystical Menagerie” sounds like a fantasy circus, and that’s the feeling one gets visiting a show by Diana J. Smith and Katie O’Sullivan at Kasum Contemporary Fine Art Gallery.

Also on view is a satellite show of ceramics by Paul Medina.

Known for acrylics of dogs, Smith takes us into the realm of fantasy with her hand-built, animal-based clay figures, clothed in Celtic robes. Smith’s “Gwenvael the Protector” resembles a pale, pink-nosed dog (or skinny pig), with a fish and crow on its shoulders and a bat on its cap. No less ornate is Smith’s animal-headed “Midir King of the Isle of Falga ” wearing a cage-hat for what looks like a hand-puppet version of itself.

More human-looking is Smith’s “Morgan the Mariner” who has fish on wires sprouting from the almost fern-like vegetation atop his multiple stocking cap. Delightful, too, are smaller works by Smith, many of which bring to mind fantasy chess pieces, like “Taggert ” “Keller” and the wizard-hatted, goosefaced “Gair”

O’Sullivan, a New Jersey native who lived in Florida before moving to Santa Fe, N.M., two years ago, creates her fantasy figurative drawing-acrylic canvases spontaneously. She makes crude or at least rough drawing and painting work for her in her offbeat compositions, which depict bizarre, mythic creatures in limbo-like voids.

A strange orange, flightless bird, with faces incorporated in its body, appears to be looking back at its own tail, in O’Sullivan’s “Take My Hand ” for example. Droopy-eyed, vaguely cat-, goat- and dog-like creatures, seem to be “Climbing Mountains” in another weird, but strangely appealing O’Sullivan painting.

By contrast, veteran Oklahoma City artist Medina at least brings the search for balance, in relation to the world’s resources, to his clay and mixed-media “Balancing Act” series. Winged, mixed-media insects try to cling to and seek sustenance from three wavy, blue-gray ceramic wall wreaths in Medina’s “Circle of Bees” to name a case in point.

Faces, turned heavenward, attempt to keep multiple rocks and vegetables from falling off their foreheads, or an exposed cheek, in four more works by Medina, on wall stands.

The Smith-O’Sullivan exhibit and Medina’s solo satellite show are highly recommended.

Kasum Contemporary Celebrates Anniversary with Tribute to Fantasy

October 2, 2015 - Darla Shelden The City Sentinel

Kasum Contemporary Celebrates Anniversary with Tribute to Fantasy

Darla SheldenStory by  on October 2, 2015 . Click on author name to view all articles by this author. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
The Kasum Contemporary Fine Art gallery exhibit “A Mystical Menagerie” featuring new works by artists Diana J. Smith and Katie O’Sullivan, will open on Sunday, October 4 and run through November 15.  Photo provided.

The Kasum Contemporary Fine Art gallery exhibit “A Mystical Menagerie” featuring new works by artists Diana J. Smith and Katie O’Sullivan, will open on Sunday, October 4 and run through November 15. Photo provided.

By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter

Kasum Contemporary Fine Art gallery will celebrate their new double exhibit season with a special tribute to fantasy. September 12 marked the one year anniversary of Kasum Contemporary’s opening in the Plaza District of Oklahoma City,

Gallery director, Tony Morton, says he and his wife built Kasum with creativity, whimsy and big dreams in mind.

“We wanted our season debut to pay tribute to imagination and there may be no greater extension to imagination than fantasy,” Morton said, “We are pleased to be opening our 2015-2016 exhibit season by presenting the far reaching creative works from three phantasmagorical artists in two very unique features.”

The exhibit “A Mystical Menagerie”, featuring new works by gallery artistsDiana J. Smith and Katie O’Sullivan, will open on Sunday, October 4 and run through November 15.

The public is invited to the opening reception on Friday, October 9, from 7 – 10 p.m. at 1706 NW 16th Street.

A native Oklahoman, Smith is well known for her animal focused acrylics on canvas. Morton suggests that she will soon be widely recognized for her work in sculpture as well.

“Diana’s new hand built clay figures are Canterbrian in many ways. They merge our own, very relative, character traits into a fantasy world of unfinished stories,” said Morton, “A place where we can pick up the pen and author our own world. It’s a place of impossibilities made possible.

“Over the last year Smith has formed, finished and fired a world of wizards. Each one is the creation of a new species clothed in the Celtic robes that reflect the artist’s heritage and topped with a proper wizarding hat,” he added.

Each piece comes with its own hand bound and stitched journal, a miniature version of the full scale Wizards Journal Exalted Tome of Quests,  which will also be on display and for sale.

The Journal is a one-of-a-kind art book, created by Smith, which contains excerpts from the journal entries of questing wizards and will “allow readers to peer ever deeper into each character,” Morton added.

Smith received a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Oklahoma and her interest in masks led her into additional studies in anthropology. She has exhibited in numerous juried, group, and solo shows and has won awards for her paintings, masks and mixed media figures.

“I am very excited to show this new work alongside Katie O’Sullivan’s paintings,” Smith said. “I think it was a brilliant match-up on Kasum’s part.”

Smith has created a contest for the event where participants can write a journal entry for “Feidhlim the Steward of Wings” and post to Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #MythicalMenagerieGiveAway.  Entry deadline is Nov. 9. Diana will award “Sioda, the Wizard’s Apprentice” to the winning entry on November 13.

A graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York City, O’Sullivan’s whimsical approach comes from her creative ability to discover something new in art each day Morton said.

“Katie’s compositions are an aggressively balanced combination of drawing media and acrylics on canvas.” said Morton, “They take on aspects of noted neo-expressionist and primitivist movements, inspired by creatives like Jean-Michel Basquiat, but the dichotomies they deliver are rooted in pure imagination.”

Running concurrently with “A Mystical Menagerie” will be the gallery’s first Satellite Exhibit of the season featuring surreal sculptures of Oklahoma artistPaul Medina.

“Paul’s works represent strong anthropological and contemporary social context; his most recent body of work is no exception.” said Morton. “Medina refers to his works as Balancing Acts which represent the quandary of power and of need in relation to food.”

Medina has exhibited at the Oklahoma Museum of Art, The Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, and the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. He has amassed collectors from around the world including writer Judith Blume of New York, and Yannick Noah of Paris, France.

Kasum Contemporary Fine Art’s closing reception will be held on Friday, November 13 from 7 – 10 p.m.  For more information call 405-604-6602 or visit

Gallery pays tribute to fantasy

September 14, 2015 - Daily Oklahoman

Gallery pays tribute to fantasy

Kasum Contemporary Fine Art will host the exhibit “A Mystical Menagerie,” featuring new works by Diana J. Smith and Katie O'Sullivan starting Oct. 4. They approach fantasy through vastly different methods.

Photo - <p>Art by Katie O’Sullivan will be on display at Kasum Contemporary, 1706 NW 16, starting Oct. 4. [Photo provided]</p> <p><br /></p>

Art by Katie O’Sullivan will be on display at Kasum Contemporary, 1706 NW 16, starting Oct. 4. [Photo provided]


Running concurrently will be the gallery's satellite exhibit, the sculptures of Paul Medina.

An opening reception will be from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 9. The gallery is at 1706 NW 16. For more information, call 604-6602 or go to

‘Arcadia' opens theater season

NORMAN — University Theatre at the University of Oklahoma will kick off its season with the award-winning drama “Arcadia” on Friday through Sept. 27 in Weitzenhoffer Theatre, 563 Elm Ave.

“Arcadia” is set in an English estate as two researchers seek the truth behind the mystery of whether Lord Byron might have visited there 180 years ago.

For tickets, go to or call 325-4101.

Exhibit is inspired by outdoors

EDMOND — Atlas Pine presents North South West, a union of art and the outdoors, hosted by the Edmond Fine Arts Institute through Sept. 30. 

This mix of paintings, ceramics and sculpture is inspired by nature and the adventurous spirit of the late Luke Rider. It features the art of Joshua Webb and Andrea Kit Wijkowski.

For more information, go to or call 340-4481.

Classic radio starts season

Classic Radio Theatre's season begins at 2:30 p.m. Sunday with a selection of some of the best shows from the golden days of radio, performed by Oklahoma City area voice talent and character actors, at the ACTS Theatre, 20 NE 52.

The afternoon will begin with complimentary hors d'oeuvres and beverages.

Public shows also are scheduled Oct. 18, Nov. 15, Dec. 6 and Dec. 13.

For more information and tickets, go to

Comedic apocalypse continues 

The University of Central Oklahoma College of Fine Arts and Design will present a theatrical performance of the modern comedy “Some Things You Need to Know Before the World Ends (A Final Evening With the Illuminati)” at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the Academy of Contemporary Music at UCO (ACM@UCO) Performance Lab, 343 E Sheridan Ave.          

Written by Larry Larson and Levi Lee, the story follows character Reverend Eddie through the post-apocalyptic era as he prepares to deliver his final sermon while the unseen presence of the Illuminati lingers near.      

Tickets are free for students with a valid UCO ID, $5 for all other students with a valid student ID and $10 for members of the community. To buy tickets in advance, call the Mitchell Hall Box Office at 974-3375 or go to Tickets also will be available at the door.

Fine arts notes

August 25, 2015 - Staff Reporters The Daily Oklahoman

Double exhibit is tribute
to fantasy

Kasum Contemporary Fine Art’s exhibit “A Mystical Menagerie” is set to open Oct. 4, featuring works by gallery artists Diana J. Smith and Katie O’Sullivan. The artists use vastly different methods, but the content plays a perfect marriage in the realm of whimsy.

An opening reception is planned from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 9, and the closing reception will be from 7 to 10 p.m. Nov. 13. The gallery is at 1706 NW 16. For more information, call 604-6602 or go to