Great State: The First Weather Biennale

Great State
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NORMAN, OKLAHOMA -- For most of his life Alan Atkinson looked outside like the rest of us to see what the weather was doing.

But for a long time now he's been inside thinking about weather and looking at how different artists interpret it.

"So weather is not just the way people reflect on the beauty of the planet," he says. "It's also something that moves people internally, spiritually."

The Fred Jones Museum of Art and the Nation Weather Center teamed up for a first of its kind art show called 'The National Weather Biennale'.

Curator Atkinson condensed 400 entrants down to 100 portraying the impact of weather on the human experience.

"There's never really been a show like this," he points out.

At this show, he also says, "You have to find the weather. You have to think about it in a different way to find weather in some of the art we're exhibiting here."

As you can imagine, there are a lot of clouds in this exhibition, big ones, the kind that make humans seem very small in comparison.

There are also several works that include what clouds produce, rain and snow, even the lack of rain and snow.

"All kinds of weather," says Alan, "in all kinds of media in different styles by artists from all over the country."

Tornadoes get their due here. The winning photograph is Mitch Dobrowner's show of one roping out over Kansas.

Another shot came from a meteorologist named Roger Edwards who happens to work upstairs in the Weather Center.

The very canvas that Norman artist Debbie Kaspari painted on was actually in a tornado.

Atkinson holds up the back of the frame to show, "some of the remnants of it being found in a field after the storm are still on the canvas."

We dress for it. We listen to people who talk about it.

We are profoundly affected by the weather.

We can't predict it but here we can pause to consider it's sometimes terrible beauty through windows that other people have opened.

The Weather Biennale show is on the first floor of the National Weather Center in Norman through the first week of June.

Admission is free.

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