Art Exhibitions at Phillips Theological Seminary

In keeping with the purpose and mission, Phillips Theological Seminary presents four visual art exhibitions to the public each year.  Visual art offers a unique way for people to build connections with each other and a platform to challenge individual assumptions about the world and ourselves. The annual exhibitions at Phillips offer a comprehensive look at some of the most important issues facing our society today, through the interpretation of professional artists. The exhibitions provide a space for visitors to learn about different cultures, histories, and perspectives, and to reflect on their own sense of belonging and identity. The exhibitions also offer a platform for dialogue and action, and they encourage visitors to consider how they can contribute to a more just and equitable world, in keeping with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

  • The winter exhibition connects with the topic for the Remind & Renew conference.
  • The spring exhibition continues the tradition of an exhibit as part of the annual Tulsa Race Massacre Lecture.
  • The summer exhibition opens for new student orientation and is dedicated to the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
  • The fall exhibition celebrates the rich and diverse cultures of the Indigenous peoples of North America.

Artist Submissions

Phillips invites local and regional artists to submit their artworks for a solo visual art exhibition at the seminary. Click the box for more information and a submission form.

Current Exhibition

Ghosted Portraits: The Invisible Narratives of Self by Trace Logan

August 21-October 20. Public viewing from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

What does it mean to be seen? How do we express our true selves in a world that often expects us to fit into certain molds? How can art help us explore these questions and challenge our assumptions?

These are some of the questions that inspire Trace Logan, a Philadelphia-born artist who currently lives in Oklahoma City. Trace works with various mediums, such as acrylic, digital art, photography, and collage, to create stunning abstract portraits that reveal the invisible narratives of self. He is also a proud member of the LGBTQ community and a passionate advocate for social justice.

Trace’s latest project, Ghosted Portraits: The Invisible Narratives of Self, will be on display at the Chapman Commons from August 21, 2023, to October 20, 2023. It features portraits of members of Trace’s community, mostly LGBTQ individuals, who have agreed to share their stories and perspectives through art. Trace uses abstraction to create a visual contrast between personal identity and public persona. He combines elements of texture, color, and movement with realistic facial features to create a dynamic and expressive representation of each subject. The result is a captivating and thought-provoking collection of artworks that invite viewers to reflect on their own identities and perceptions.


Read Trace Logan's Artist Statement

All art is a form of communication, but abstraction is art stripped down and simplified to its most basic elements. Essentially it is the alphabet of visual art, and just as nothing is communicated in writing without combinations of the 26 letters of the alphabet, nothing is expressed in art without color, line, shape, texture, space, rhythm, harmony, contrast, and balance. Abstraction avoids the contamination of culturally loaded objects.

This project combines my interests in sociology and psychology, my personal beliefs and perspective, and art by merging portraits of members of my community with elements of abstraction such as texture, color, and movement. I have, informally, called the artwork ghosted portraits because of the sections that are not filled in, which represent the aspects of others that are unknown or unseen. But that is only part of the story.

These paintings are a visual representation of the contrast between personal identity and public persona. How we identify and what we believe about ourselves may not be how others perceive us. Those misperceptions may be harmful, beneficial, or inconsequential, but the area where personal identity collides with public perception can be rife with highly nuanced, multi-layered conflict. I prefer my conflicts to be in contrasting colors. What elements are visible (public identity) vs. obscured (private identity) and how to tell both stories is what drives my art practice.

~Trace Logan

Artist Biography

Trace Logan was born and raised in Philadelphia but has lived in Oklahoma City for many years. A lifelong artist with an early education in Graphic Design and Commercial Art, Logan works in
various mediums, including acrylic, digital art, photography, and collage. He became interested in abstraction ten years ago while taking an art class.

Logan has shown artwork at the Equality Center in Tulsa, several Oklahoma City locations, and Alva at the Graceful Arts Center. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in counseling at Oklahoma State University and hopes to incorporate art into the therapy process.

Past Exhibitions

The Language of Our Souls: The Visual Poetry of Harvey Johnson

Phillips Theological Seminary is presented the 2023 Race Massacre Lectureship and Art Exhibition featuring the art of Harvey Johnson on its Tulsa, Okla. campus, April 25-May 18 from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. with an opening reception April 23 from 5–9 p.m.. The show also featured works by John Biggers, Delita Martin, and Kermit Oliver.

Johnson came to Houston from Port Arthur to study art at Texas Southern University under world- renowned artist, sculptor, and teacher, John Biggers, who founded the school’s art program in 1949. Johnson completed his undergraduate degree at TSU and went on to get his MFA at Washington State University. He returned two years later to teach art at TSU for 34 years before retiring in 2007.

Click here to watch a video of Harvey Johnson speaking about his work.

Artist Statement

“Walk Together Children”

Dedicated to all young people and the journey – they must endure for the survival of this planet.

I am a seed from a mother and father of the Southern soil of Texas and a child of African roots. As I emerged from the oil fields of Port Arthur, Texas into the urban setting of Houston, Texas, I discovered how I fit into the rich Texas quilted pattern of cultural diversity. This diversity, this contrast of Native, African, Mexican, Caucasian, and Asian peoples have all helped to create a Texas “ aesthetic “ , and contributes to a rich vision for Texas posterity. My poetry speaks of African spirituals or what continues to be referred to as “Negro Spirituals.”1 A young African student at Key Middle School in Houston, Texas, stated that spirituals are “secret messages in song about God.” It is the most profound and sophisticated meaning of these songs I have ever read or heard. I feel African spirituals and nature have given us a complex meaning of the sacred laws governing the order of the universe in its ever evolving cycles of life and death and life. An example of this can be heard in the spiritual, “We are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder.” Spirituals and nature embraces healing and renewal.

My poetry tries to express a continuous journey of healing – healing generated within me with the assistance of Spirit, African ancestors, a parental matriarch, and elders. They all provided access allowing for the discovery of personal identity, purpose and meaning of my existence as a part of what I call a triple “middle passage.”

The first middle passage is the journey of an immaculate conception as we come into this life through the boat of heaven that is the sacred womb of all mothers. For months, our mothers of “The Father and The Son” navigate us in her holy sanctuary through the many fires of life as we finally emerge into the light. Life is not about safety however and some of us do not make it. I feel that some of us return to that unfrozen reality, the invisible. Our mother’s heartbeat to us, like the rhythmic beat of the drum, is the “Word,” the first communication to us of the articulation of language and civilization.

The second middle passage echoes these words from a spiritual, “Ev’-ry-bo-dy talk-in’ ‘bout heab’n aint goin’ dere…” This speaks to the transatlantic slave trade and its ramifications to this present day, a holocaust of unmerciful human pillage and destruction. I hope my poetry expresses a compassion, which we all must have, for other people whose grief is just as deep about their holocaust. A great American author said, “History is not the past…history is the present.” And I will add that history is also the future.

The third middle passage is about human transformation, not only ultimately from body to spirit literally but, transforming human and environmental abuse into positive spirituality and humaneness. I hope my poetry stimulate consciousness to awaken each of us to the purpose for which we came into this world or were born into this life.

We live in an environment where myths about ourselves have become the norm, have become realities. These myths are used as a frame of reference for our very existence. We have become prisoners to a history of our own making. I feel that poetry encourages an awakening of our senses by expressing how the language of nature puts an end to all human myths and forces us back to reality. Earth, wind, fire, water, minerals, and animals speak to us, trying to bring us closer together. Nature forces us to see that many of our fears and insecurities come from the inner unsolved struggles we are having about ourselves, which many times we transfer to others. As I share my journey with you, I hope that you focus on your own journey.

I feel good about the energy of our youth. They seem to be aware that jobs and careers do not definite success and the spirit of their being. “Your ability to see is always a delusion of what you see, and what you see, is usually a translation of your own limitation at seeing until you are taught how to see…it’s an introduction into that area of silence where meaning exist independently of human extortion and it is an introduction into that area of human experience where it is possible at least to reconstruct one’s history going beyond one’s birth into a timeless moment where one can see one’s self as much older as one look in order to be able to understand why one occurred in this particular time and what for.” –Malidoma Some’, African Shaman

Poetry is one of many visionary expressions that can inspire, to help us stay in touch with the silent language of our souls in keeping with the rhythmic balance and harmony of nature as it moves toward a greater scheme of creation. You may wonder whether this is all there is to being here in this life. It is if this is the limitation of your thinking, feelings, and emotions. Nature is the key to teaching us about unlimited doorways connecting us to a cosmic conception and journey. Our young people have the opportunity to create new worlds of spiritual values which can define us as true human beings.

In the spirit of the Negro Spiritual, let us all “Walk Together Children.” I don’t know anything else more important. Harvey Johnson

1 Poetry in this context refers to visual, musical, dance, literary, and theatric expressions that address the what, where, when, how, and why of human existence. It replaces the term “art” for a deeper meaning of the human journey.

Included Works

The Welcoming Table
Harvey Johnson, 2021
Acrylic and oil wash on canvas

Walk Together Children
Harvey Johnson, 2009
Acrylic and oil wash on canvas

Eulogy, 1921 (Tulsa)
Harvey Johnson, 2022
Conte crayon on paper

Elegy: 1883-Present
Harvey Johnson, 2022
Conte crayon on paper

Wash House—Morning Star
Harvey Johnson, 2006—2010
Acrylic and oil wash on canvas

The Greatest Good
Harvey Johnson, 2000
Conte crayon on paper

Mirror Mirror
Delita Martin, 2020
Gelatin printing, conte, acrylic, hand stitching, fabric

Daughter of the Eternal Light
Harvey Johnson, 2003
Acrylic and oil wash on canvas

Do This in Remembrance of Me
Harvey Johnson, 2010
Conte crayon on paper

Humble Yo’self, De Bell Done Ring
Harvey Johnson, 2011
Acrylic and oil wash on canvas

Walk with Me
Delita Martin, 2016
Gelatin printing, conte, acrylic, hand stitching, fabric

Three Kings (Gammadion)
Harvey Johnson, 2014
Acrylic and oil wash on canvas

Our Grandmother
John Biggers, 1992
Acrylic and oil wash on canvas

Disparity, Until the Morning Comes
Harvey Johnson, 2011
Conte crayon on paper

We Build Our Temples to Tomorrow
Harvey Johnson, 2011
Acrylic and oil wash on canvas

Glory, Glory
Harvey Johnson, 2000
Acrylic and oil wash on canvas

Blessed Are the Fruit of the Womb
Harvey Johnson, 2019
Conte Crayon on paper

A City Called Heaven (Upper Room)
Harvey Johnson, 2016
Acrylic and oil wash on canvas

Wisdom Knot
Harvey Johnson, 2007—2013
Acrylic and oil wash on canvas

I See Mama
Harvey Johnson, 2009
Conte crayon on paper

Father and Son Series
John Biggers, 1964
Ink on paper

How I Got Over
John Biggers, 1987
Acrylic and oil wash on canvas

Burnt Church
Kermit Oliver, 1965
Lacquer and Japanese oil glaze on wood

Delita Martin, 2023
Relief printing, decorative paper, hand stitching

Sometimes My Blues Change Colors 1 of 5 V.E.
Delita Martin, 2023
Relief printing, decorative paper, hand stitching

My Sisters Keeper
Delita Martin, 2023
Relief printing, decorative paper, hand stitching