In his exhibit, “Tran­scending History: A Vision of Oklahoma,” now on dis­play in the East Gallery of the State Capitol through March 14, artist Ryan Cun­ningham uses his expres­sionist style of painting to depict two distinctly dif­ferent themes that he calls Modern Life and Modern West.


In his exhibit, “Tran­scending History: A Vision of Oklahoma,” now on dis­play in the East Gallery of the State Capitol through March 14, artist Ryan Cun­ningham uses his expres­sionist style of painting to depict two distinctly dif­ferent themes that he calls Modern Life and Modern West.

Curated by the Oklaho­ma Arts Council, the East Gallery is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. A recep­tion will take place from 3: 30 to 6 p. m. on Feb. 20 in the East Gallery. The pub­lic is invited to attend free of charge.

Cunningham said his Modern Life theme is based on his perception of the ever-increasing speed of today’s contemporary world and many of the subjects in this theme are depicted in motion. He em­phasizes the movement by using vigorous brush­strokes which are left vis­ible to the viewer.

In his Modern West theme, Cunningham breaks away from the tra­ditional style often seen in Western art and uses a contemporary style of his own with color, line and interesting compositions. He said using his contem­porary style to paint tra­ditional Western subjects conveys the idea that the American West is still alive and evolving in today’s so­ciety.

The Oklahoma City art­ist said his paintings are a tool for communication.

“Whether the art be music, literature, dance or sculpture, I believe the purpose of art is communication,” Cunningham said. “Whether my work is fo­cused on my Modern West or my Modern Life themes, I think that all my work is unified through a recogniz­able style. While working in either theme, I employ the same process, I strive to make bold use of color and I challenge myself to make interesting compositional choices. My process and choice of color and compo­sition help to provide a unity and cohesiveness to my work regardless of my choice of subject matter or theme.”

Cunningham was born, raised, and educated through high school in Oklahoma. While in high school, he realized his love for creating art was trans­forming into a serious pas­sion. During his school years, he achieved numer­ous awards for his artwork and was chosen for the prestigious Young Talent in Oklahoma award.

After graduating from the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma College of Law, he established a successful law practice in downtown Oklahoma City. Through all this, creating art was never far from his mind. Cunningham returned to his artistic passion and be­gan studying painting un­der artist Bert Seabourn.

Cunningham has since built a successful artistic resume and has partici­pated in several group and solo exhibitions in Oklaho­ma City. His artwork has been acquired by Ameri­can and international col­lectors for both corporate and private collections.

To ask questions, con­tact Ann Dee Lee, public information director, Okla­homa Arts Council, (405) 521-2931 or anndee@arts.ok.gov.