Joseph Clayes III Gallery
Christine Oatman: Stories of Innocence and Experience: Altered Mid-20th Century Children’s Books in Pedagogic Tableaux
January 11–March 7, 2020
Making art for more than forty years, Christine Oatman has created work ranging from large-scale outdoor work and public art projects to intricate assemblages. Stories of Innocence and Experience was an installation that loosely replicated a 1950s elementary school classroom. This unique work of art comprised twelve tableaux as stand-ins for learning in an actual classroom. Each tableau contained mid-century children's books altered with the addition of contemporary content. These altered books determined the thematic essence of each tableau. The body of work was Oatman’s private responses to topical issues through the lens of pedagogy, based on decades of teaching experience, as well as her personal classroom memories from her childhood in 1950s San Diego. A life-long San Diegan, Oatman returned to the area in 1971 after receiving her BA from Scripps College, Claremont, CA and MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Once she returned to San Diego, she began making temporary outdoor works addressing the California landscape. Oatman’s work has been shown locally and internationally. This exhibition was funded in part by grants from the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego.