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The First Immigrants (Mind of Man)

by O. Gail Poole

Oil on paper
Dimensions: 23 x 17.5
Gift of Roy Oliver, 2014

The First Immigrants (Mind of Man) by O. Gail Poole

The Artwork

Through the application of thick brush strokes and complementary colors, the artist has created an energetic vision of a man seemingly lost in his own thoughts. The painting voyages into surrealism as it allows the viewer to see what may be contained within the Mind of Man. The faces of men rise from the man's head. Each face is strikingly similar to the primary subject of the painting. This may lead the viewer to ponder if the man himself is considering his place among his ancestors or if he, now advanced in age, is pondering his own role as a patriarch to future generations. Either way, the energetic pattern of paint strokes combined with the expressive portrayal of the subject's eyes offers a glimpse into one man's mind as he contemplates his place in space and time.

The Artist

O. Gail Poole spent more than fifty years as a professional artist and was a well-known personality in the Oklahoma arts community, particularly in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. His career included his work being exhibited at Mainsite Contemporary Gallery in Norman; Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Taos Fine Art Center in Taos, New Mexico, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art in Oklahoma City, among many other museums and galleries. Hundreds of his works have been acquired and are now held in private collections. Following his death in April of 2013, the O. Gail Poole Memorial Travel Fund was established and administered by the Norman Arts Council. During its inaugural year, four artists were granted $500 to assist with traveling costs.

Born in Marlow, Oklahoma, O. Gail Poole studied advertising art at the University of Oklahoma before serving in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1960. He depicted both the landscape and the subtle attitudes of the untamed Southwestern plains. A dedicated artist, untamed in his own right, Poole successfully managed to transcend easy and traditional classification. He then created the Oklahoma City Art Director Guild, where he served as chairman, and opened the successful and influential advertising firm Poole-Hobbes, Inc. Poole was accepted into an exhibition of Western art in Düsseldorf, Germany in 1972. This event led him to change career paths and begin his life as a full-time artist. In addition to producing art, he was also a highly regarded instructor, though he was simultaneously a life-long student and experimenter. In Richard Goetz, he found a mentor and great friend. Through Goetz, Poole met and exchanged ideas with Sherrie McGraw, David Leffel, Mark Daly, and many others.

Poole is an artist that defies easy classification. Sherrie McGraw provided this description of the artist, “Poole’s artwork directly reflects his renegade attitude throughout his entire life. His work demands closer examination as his style changes as frequently as the Oklahoma wind.”