Elevate – Oklahoma City: Momentum Spotlight

About the Exhibition

The Elevate at 21c program presents exhibitions for local artists, living and working in the communities surrounding our 21c Museum Hotel. Elevate provides hotel guests with unique access to the work of notable regional artists, while featuring their work in the context of 21c’s world-class contemporary art collection.

 On view from through March 2022, Elevate – Oklahoma City presents:

Momentum Spotlight (Third floor)

This exhibition is presented in partnership with Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC) as part of their annual exhibition Momentum, which presents works by Oklahoma artists ages 30 and younger, working in any medium they choose. The age cutoff is intended to help younger artists gain experience and meet new audiences. Each year, a few artists are selected to receive a grant with which to make new work for Momentum. 21c Museum Oklahoma City is pleased to present a selection of earlier works by these designated Spotlight artists.

More info regarding Momentum, including exhibition dates and locations, can be found on OVAC’s website, http://ovac-ok.org/.


Carrie Kouts’s sculptures navigate the overlaps between civilization and nature, the built world and the organic.

Kayla Ohlmer is a multidisciplinary artist, with a focus on glass as her primary medium. Ohlmer is inspired by what she sees as the dualistic nature of glass: embodying the contrasts of strength and fragility, glass is able to reflect both reality and deception.

Shyanne Dickey’s paintings depict the history of her family, uncover historical truths, and shatter stereotypes. Drawing from historical texts, archival family photographs, and the colors and patterns of Kente cloth, Dickey celebrates the strength, power, and resiliency of Black women farmers.


Most of the works are available for sale; for purchasing information, contact artists directly.


Shyanne Dickey
Land Sold, 2021
Digital collage and oil paint

Shyanne Dickey
Exodusters, 2020
Oil paint on canvas

Shyanne Dickey
Tried and True, 2021
Digital collage torn and mounted on panel with oil paint


Carrie Kouts
Dominion, 2020
Cast concrete and organic materials

Carrie Kouts
Inorganic Nest #3, 2019
Reclaimed concrete and red dirt


Kayla Ohlmer
Narcissus, 2019
Glass, silver and mixed media

Kayla Ohlmer
The Worlds We Have, 2020
Silver and glass


Artist Statement: Carrie Kouts

A giant wasp nest chiseled from concrete and a miniature factory complex composed of red dirt: these works emphasize impossible combinations of the manufactured and the organic. In my sculptures I explore the collisions that occur between the natural world and our civilization. This exploration has led me to create installations that mimic manmade landscapes and biological structures while utilizing materials that appear contradictory to their essence. I create these distorted visages of our environment as allusions to our rapidly changing world and our role in its current trajectory. The intention of my work is the creation of dialogue examining the perceptions we have of our environment, both natural and manufactured, and how it is actively changing with the continuation of industrialized civilization.

Artist Statement: Kayla Ohlmer

As an artist I am fascinated by how people and objects can exist in both the physical reality and perceived one. My artistic exploration begins with deep self-examination. I have always felt that I have existed between two worlds and when I look in a mirror, I often see a person with whom I am unfamiliar. This disconnect between what is there and what I imagine is at the heart of my practice. I seek to create the intersection between what real and what is not. In my work I attempt to make this dualistic nature of existence visible through distortion, depth, reflection, and material.

The human desire to see the world and themselves the way that they want to rather than the way that it is, creates an intangible and unseen state of being that I continue to search for. Fascinated with the dualistic qualities of glass, I often use this material in my work. Glass encapsulates contrasting qualities. It is liquid and solid, it is fragile and strong, it is ephemeral and eternal. I draw inspiration from process, a long tradition of glassmaking, and I aim channel historical references into my artistic journey.

Artist Statement: Shyanne Dickey

My family’s legacy of being black farmers needs to be expressed, written, and painted. It is important to bring life to a history that has not been talked about, a history that is hidden deep in American soil. Our legacy begins with my five times great grandmother Liza Bradshaw whom we credit as the matriarch of our family’s success. It has been shared many times that the beginning of our journey began with the exodus of former slaves from slavery to freedom. (In The Exodus of 1897, ex-slaves migrated along the Mississippi River to Kansas and were able to apply the federal government for a homestead. This was the first general migration of black people following the civil war.) These ex-slaves were heavily motivated by the strong will and pressing words of Benjamin “Pap” Singleton (Activist and businessman who helped African Americans establish in Kansas.) Liza Bradshaw was part of this great movement. She was able to establish her value in a society that often -overlooked women as weak and unworthy.

My work challenges an American structure that whitewashes black history by depicting black woman farmers. I’m recognizing strong African American woman farmers. I’m celebrating who they are and what they have accomplished. The 1.34% voices need to be acknowledged for their hard work and perseverance. Our ancestor’s legacy has not died.

In my paintings I depict African American culture. I depict the traditional African culture to the present tradition of farming through pattern. Each Kente cloth is unique in many ranges, the bright and bold colors are identified showing representation of West African culture. The Kente cloth holds value for to the wearer, symbolizing their high status and class. Every color entwined within each other holds a special representation. For example, black is known for union with ancestors, blue symbolizes purity, and green is known for renewal. Steeped in the royal fabric is the depth of our fight to break systematic structures and renew our call back to our roots.

My work requires a substantial amount of research that I transfer onto my canvas through documentation and archiving photographs from family photos. I then paint over this rich and historical collage with oil paint. I create portraits of African American farmers who are God-fearing, educated, strong-willed, wives and mothers who are the leaders of their household. Farming was used as a tool to suppress black individuals during slavery. We are not property of the land that was used to bind us, but now we are owners destined to till, harvest, and sow our future as we please. My work challenges this stereotype of a farmer. A farmer can be successful, wealthy, educated, black, and a woman.

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