Okay Mountain is a nine member artist collective based in Austin, Texas that is comprised of artists Carlos Rosales-Silva, Josh Rios, Justin Goldwater, Ryan Hennessee, Nathan Green, Peat Duggins, Michael Sieben, Sterling Allen, and Tim Brown. Formed in 2006 as an artist-run alternative gallery space, the group has exhibited their drawing, video, sound, and performance projects throughout the United States and in Mexico City, and has been widely recognized for its "inventive construction, loving attention to detail and keen-eyed connoisseurship." Okay Mountain repackages, reconstitutes, and rekindles our consumerist desires with a sardonic edge. Their installations and multi-media assemblage works mimic the stock vernacular of our communal materialism, yet tweak them just enough to reveal our superficial insecurities and convictions.
Okay Mountain’s ongoing “7×7 Project” resembles a process more than a finished work, and as a result has yielded hundreds of drawings. Related, but distinct from other drawing games, such as exquisite corpse, 7x7s visually embody the unique spirit of the group’s shared views. While the drawings are collaborative, they also provide ample room for individual decisions and styles. In fact, often times it is the combination of two distinct approaches to drawing and drawing materials that gives the works their visual intrigue. The game’s stipulations are as follows: a drawing must be started by one person and finished by another, the drawing surface must be 7 inches by 7 inches. Aside from that everything is open, including who participates in the game. Many artists outside of the collective have contributed. Initially devised to while away afternoons at a shade covered picnic table during sweltering Texas summers, the project has since evolved into a highly complex, yet remarkably intuitive, thesis on collaboration, camaraderie, and drawing.
Like the Okay Mountain collaborative drawings of THE 7x7 PROJECT, an Exquisite Corpse - also known as exquisite cadaver (from the original French term cadavre exquis) or rotating corpse - is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule or by being allowed to see only the end of what the previous person contributed. The technique was invented by surrealists and is similar to an old parlour game called consequences in which players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold it to conceal part of the writing, and then pass it to the next player for a further contribution. Surrealism principal founder André Breton reported that it started in fun, but became playful and eventually enriching. The name is derived from a phrase that resulted when Surrealists first played the game, "Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau." ("The exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine."). André Breton writes that the game developed at the residence of friends in an old house at 54 rue du Chateau (no longer existing). In the beginning were Yves Tanguy, Marcel Duchamp, Jacques Prévert, Benjamin Péret, Pierre Reverdy, and André Breton. Other participants probably included Max Morise, Joan Miró, Man Ray, Simone Collinet, Tristan Tzara, Georges Hugnet, René Char, and Paul and Nusch Éluard.
While most of the artists in Okay Mountain are alumni of the University of Texas at Austin (TX), others are graduates of University of California Los Angeles (CA), Rhode Island School of Design (RI), and the University of Kansas (KS). Institutional exhibitions have included those at the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston (TX), Austin Museum of Art (TX), McNay Art Museum (TX), Arthouse (TX), University of Tennessee, Chattanooga (TN), and the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum (MA). Their work is included in the permanent collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (CT), McNay Museum of Art (TX), Orange County Museum of Art (CA), Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (CA), Santa Barabara Museum of Art (CA), and Vanderbilt University (TN).
A short video interview with Okay Mountain can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/60682943