Arc Series

Eugene A. Bavinger

Bavinger was a professor of art at the University of Oklahoma for more than 30 years and his time there overlapped with fellow Oklahoma Judicial Center collection member and Kiowa Six teacher, Oscar Jacobson. He earned a bachelors of fine arts from the University of Oklahoma in 1946, and a masters of fine arts from the Institute of Allende in Mexico in 1961. Bavinger taught painting, drawing and design at the University of Oklahoma from 1947 to 1977, and was first hired by Oscar Jacobson. He served as chair of the art department from 1950 to 1955 and as director of the art museum at the University of Oklahoma from 1957 to 1959.

When asked about pop-art and op-art in the late 1960s, abstract artist Eugene Bavinger told The Oklahoman, “Maybe my work is closely related to op-art, but I’m primarily interested in visual excitement, a visual stimulus not involved with any social commentary.”

Bavinger’s name is often recognized in conjunction with his personal residence east of Norman: a unique circular native stone house designed by noted architect Bruce Goff. With a soaring mast, viewed from the ground the Bavinger House resembles a ship navigating the prairie sea. Viewed from above, the circular design is reminiscent of a chambered nautilus.

Bavinger’s works garnered awards at the Southwest Exhibition of Prints and Drawings in Dallas. His exhibitions included the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts and the Denver Art Museum. He received a Citation of Commendation from the state of Oklahoma in 1996. Bavinger’s work can be found in the collections of the Denver Art Museum, the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, the Philbrook Museum and the Springfield Art Museum in Springfield, Missouri. His influence can be seen in the work of many contemporary Oklahoma artists, including Jim Van Deman.

Eugene Bavinger created Arc Series #5 by applying as many as 15 to 20 layers of acrylic paint and gel to a glass surface, then transferring the finished composition to canvas. It was purchased for the Oklahoma Judicial Center collection in 2011.

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