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Mery McNett

Everyone is Creative

Mery McNett

Everyone is Creative

Born in Tulsa, Mery McNett has a long history in the arts community and a focused future for current and aspiring artists in town.

“I have been doing art ever since I can remember,” explains Mery. She started her career in Administrative Arts at Living Arts of Tulsa in 2010, then moved to AHHA. When AHHA shut down last November, she lost her job there but quickly moved to Gilcrease Museum as the Youth and Family Programs Manager.

Having been an artist ‘since she can remember’ Mery took some time off from the act of painting and focused on the art of programming and  community building. Just before the pandemic hit, Mery explains how she was missing her craft, “I was like, oh man, I miss painting. And having worked at such profound museums like Living Arts and AHHA over the years, I learned things like installation art and video. So now I just combine them all.”

Growing up in Broken Arrow, Mery viewed art from a very “traditional perspective. “I didn’t know much about installation, art, video, and nontraditional art forms before I started at Living Arts. Steve Liggett introduced me to all that.”

Mery was also inspired by Tony Ousler, an American multimedia and installation artist, as well as Jenny Saville, a contemporary British painter, “As far as painting, my biggest influence would be Jenny Seville. Her brush strokes and her subject matters are so bold and so brave. It’s very brave to do something that big and leave it.”

You can see these influences and themes in her art—bravery, honesty, bold brushstrokes, and color. Her most recent exhibit at the Abbey Mausoleum showcased this series called Grief and the Full Cup of Joy. The paintings in this exhibit were created during covid; many featured her father and her dog, Gonzo. “Gonzo was my soulmate. I always said it was me and him versus the world”. Unfortunately, Gonzo lost his sight and got sick around 2020 and eventually passed away. As any of us would, Mery took that pretty hard ” It was kind of like my first spiritual experience. described Mery, ” then about five weeks later; my father died of Covid. It was a double whammy”.

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"My biggest influence in painting is Jenny Seville. Her subject matters are so bold, and her brushstroke are so brave. It's very brave to just do something that big and leave it." Mery McNett

Painting helped her process her grief. “It felt good to share them with the world,” recounts Mery. “It was like seeing them again. It was like, sitting there and working through memories and what I’d say to them now.”

Grief and the Full Cup of Joy, was named after a journal entry her father made in 1998.  “I explore the complex process of grief through art, painting images that examine my personal experiences, and the beauty that lies within a bleak subject matter. The hidden joy is represented not only in specific imagery, but in the bright, striking colors that are a juxtaposition to the dark imagery” describes Mery. 

Today Mery continues this legacy by focusing her painting on the two subject matters she cares most about, pets and people. Working with acrylics on canvas, Mery also incorporates Interactive elements like black lights that uncover hidden details, messages, and colors when aimed at the painting. Many of her paintings also have a corresponding QR code that links to videos, including music and stories behind each work.

Besides painting, Mery’s true passion is helping other artists. “It’s what I thrive on and when I feel happiest,” she says.

It’s also how she dealt with the grief of AHHA closing, which was a massive shock to our Tulsa community. “Helping the artists get their stuff out of there with my truck is what got me through the first week of its closing. And it brought me some joy to know that at least I could help my fellow artists.”

Support her art: 

Although the exhibit at the Abbey Mausoleum is over, you can find Mery’s art on her website.

She takes commissions and specializes in what she describes as “humanoid pets.”

You can also support her art by following the renovations of Gilcrease Museum and the summer programming for children. This summer, Mery will be teaching a summer camp focusing on multimedia portraits, including video and sculpture.

Mery dedicates Grief and the Full Cup of Joy to her father (Robert Kent McNett, 1955-2020) and her soulmate (Gonzo McNett-Murray, 2009-2020).

Local Hotels & Restaurants

While visiting Rose Hill Mausoleum and Funeral Home, check out these local restaurants and hotels:

Home Style Cooking, Breakfast All Day, Steaks, BBQ, Kabobs, Lamb, Seafood, Large Menu

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3 Spirit Creatures

This installation depicts what I call 3 "spirit creatures" that help guide those who have passed to the next life.They are representative of my father, Gonzo, and me. The audience was invited to write a name of a loved one on a ribbon, tie it to a flower, and set it on the ground around the sculptures. This installation is a solid representation of my aesthetic as well: colorful, black light, and for the lack of a better word, "creepy". Mery McNett
  • "Surreal Muse" 30"x24". Acrylic on canvas. 2023

    "Surreal Muse" 30"x24". Acrylic on canvas. 2023

    She is my most recent painting- and Frida is the first painter I studied and inspired me.

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  • "Saying Goodbye During COVID" Saying Goodbye During COVID 20” X 24”, Acrylic on Canvas. 2022

    "Saying Goodbye During COVID" Saying Goodbye During COVID 20” X 24”, Acrylic on Canvas. 2022

    It is a painting of my family on a video call with my father, who was dying in the hospital with COVID. It shows each of us looking at him through a tiny square of video, and his image on the phone, barely conscious. It was the last time I spoke to my dad, and if you shine a black light on the painting, you will see a hidden message: "I love you, I love you, I love you. Whenever I look in the mirror, I will always see you", which were the last words I ever said to him. This work is so raw, that I was concerned if I should even share it. I am glad I did.

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  • "From my rotting body, flowers shall grow"

    "From my rotting body, flowers shall grow"

    Installation, mixed media, Living Arts of Tulsa. 2022 Photo by Destiny Jade Green.

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