Oakbrook Gateway, created by Artists Sherry Owens and Art Shirer, is a site-specific installation located in the Oakbrook Greenspace. The installation, which is currently on view, features a pair of vertical sculptures made of welded steel. The forms, which abstractly resemble trees, are located opposite of each other on the walkway leading from the White Oak Bayou Greenway Trail.
Oakbrook Gateway welcomes visitors as they enter the park, creating a visual landmark and entry point for the area as community members come together and visit their local greenspace. Owens and Shirer specifically selected this locale for their work in hopes to present public art in innovative and previously underutilized areas, and to encourage community engagement outdoors and in public spaces.
Sherry Owens and Art Shirer have merged their aesthetic sensibilities on 20 projects spanning three decades. Most recently, 2018 saw their 7th collaborative gallery installation at the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum in Austin, Texas and an artist residency in Jefferson, Texas. They spent a year brainstorming and juggling ideas that challenged their own concepts about art, materials and the world around us. That time was also spent collecting and assembling the components that culminated with a site-specific installation at the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum. The four-month exhibition titled Entangled combined crepe myrtle branches, steel, miles of wire, handmade stones and over 20,000 pieces of glass into three large vortices that filled the space, accompanied by a 16 x 16-foot mixed media drawing, also created on site. This exhibition was followed by three site-specific installations created during a two week artist residency along the river walk at the Port Jefferson History & Nature Center.
Their artistic partnership began in 1986 when they collected and assembled a conglomeration of hundreds of bicycle parts that held three riders aloft and revolved on its own axis. They rode this kinetic contraption in the 2nd Annual Kinetic Sculpture Parade, which was part of the grand opening celebration at the West End Marketplace in Dallas; and won first prize. The collaboration continued with Watching You-Watching Me, an outdoor sculpture in crepe myrtle and steel that was exhibited in four locations between 1988 and 1993. The 1990 exhibition, In Collaboration: Sherry Owens and Art Shirer, initiated the Collectors Series Exhibitions at the D-Art Visual Art Center, filling the space with 7 installations accompanied by individual works. This meeting of the minds continued with SHIRER + OWENS: A Transformation of Space at the Irving Arts Center in 1995, Persistence of Memory at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos in 1996, outside at Austin College in Sherman, Texas in 2001, and c l o u d s a n d i s l a n d s at Redbud Gallery in Houston in 2003. In 2000, they were invited to return as a team to Connemara, an outdoor sculpture park in Allen, Texas. The result was one of their most memorable site-specific installations, titled Overhead and Underfoot, a 5-acre pecan grove with Colorado River rocks suspended 12 feet above the ground that remained in place for 3 months.