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Carolyn Cárdenas, "Booked," 2021, egg/oil tempera on two panels with mixed-media, "In a Web" (right panel), "On the Hook" (left panel), 3¾ x 3¾” ea.

Tiny details create big impact in new dual-artist show at the OSU Museum of Art

Monday, August 8, 2022

Media Contact: Victoria Berry | Director and Chief Curator | 405-744-2780 |

On Aug. 23, “Small Worlds: Carolyn Cárdenas” and “Contradictions: Bobby Ross” will open at the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art, featuring 200-plus paintings and drawings chock-full of awe-inspiring artistic intricacy.

This two-part exhibition by spouses Carolyn Cárdenas and Bobby Ross showcases the highly detailed and time-intensive methods used by the artists, both of whom were influenced by Renaissance-era techniques. The artists’ media skills are meant to convey serious messages in and of themselves, according to OSU Museum of Art director and chief curator Vicky Berry, but the subjects within Cárdenas’ and Ross’ works more overtly illustrate the world through a social and civic lens. 

“The tiny egg tempera paintings and intricate drawings of Cárdenas depict social issues and are sophisticated and richly metaphorical,” Berry said. “The oil paintings and graphic drawings of Ross are distinguished by meticulous detail and a magical and photographic realism tempered with humor.”

There is no shortage of things to discover within both Cárdenas’ and Ross’ works, which range in size from mere inches to several feet. The longer a visitor looks at the scenes — which range from the everyday to the fantastical — the more questions the artworks can evoke. 

Small Worlds: Carolyn Cárdenas” and “Contradictions: Bobby Ross” will be on view at the OSU Museum of Art in downtown Stillwater from Aug. 23 to Dec. 10. An opening reception will be from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8, at the museum. An artist talk and demo, along with a self-guided tour, will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9.

Funding for this program is provided in part by a grant from Oklahoma Humanities (OH) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of OH or NEH. Additional funding is provided through the generous support of Deb and Dave Engle, Caroline and John Linehan, Suzanne Sugg, the OSU President’s Office/OSU Foundation, Thomas N. Berry and Company, and the OSUMA Art Advocates.

Learn more about Carolyn Cárdenas and Bobby Ross’ exhibition at the OSU Museum of Art at  and on social media @OSUMuseumofArt.

About the OSU Museum of Art

The museum is located at 720 S. Husband St. in downtown Stillwater. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free, thanks to generous support from the OSU Museum of Art Advocates. For more information about the museum, visit  or call 405-744-2780.

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