The OBU Division of Art and Design invites the community to enjoy a special exhibit of works by Julie Marks-Blackstone, recently retired assistant professor of art who is now teaching as an adjunct professor of art on Bison Hill. The exhibit, titled “Fibers,” includes her hallmark French knot embroidery pieces, including work from her “Knotty Girl” series, as well as several weavings.
The exhibit is on display inside the Art Building Gallery, which is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekday through Sept. 18. The show will likewise be open Sunday, Sept. 13, from 2 to 4 p.m. The Art Building is located on the west side of Kickapoo, between University and Midland. All visitors are asked to wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing while enjoying the exhibit.
Some specific examples of works on display include “Ching Shih/Pirate Queen,” “Hester,” and “Princess Caraboo,” all from Blackstone’s Knotty Girl series, along with, “If Owassa-Tanner had Ringgold's Palette,” from her Art History Series. These works are embroidery, made primarily of French knots, with cotton embroidery floss.
In 2019, Blackstone was awarded the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest award given to any professor. She joined the OBU faculty full-time in 1997, although she began teaching on Bison Hill in 1981. Yet, her connections to the University go back much further. Her grandparents graduated in the 1920’s and her father in 1950. Numerous other family members are alumni, including her great-uncle Fred McCaulley, who brought “Ka-Rip” to OBU.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Central Oklahoma and a Master of Education, also at UCO. Early in her career, she served as an intern with an advertising agency in Leeds, England. After her graduation from UCO, she worked as an artist/designer at the Glasshaus Stained Glass Studio while teaching as an adjunct at Oklahoma City Community College. Her first work at OBU began in 1981 in the ceramics lab. In the years before she became a full-time faculty member, she helped run the lab, sold artwork in galleries and taught private lessons.
Although she teaches a variety of mediums, she is best-known for her textiles and fibers. Her work has been accepted in numerous prestigious shows, on both a regional and national level. Her embroidery piece, “Knotty Girl XI: Empress Wu,” was displayed as part of the 2019 Irene Rosenzweig Biennial Juried Exhibition at The Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas (ASC) in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Two of her other works, “Always Thinking of Fibers” and “Nandi, Zulu Queen,” were displayed in the FiberWorks 2019 show in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 2017, her work was accepted into Small Expressions 2017, the Handweavers’ Guild of America’s annual international juried exhibition of small-scale fiber works, hosted by The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.
In addition to her teaching, Blackstone is a member of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, as well as a member of both the Fiber Artists of Oklahoma and the Handweavers’ Guild of America.Learn more about the Division of Art and Design at OBU.