The Womb in Oklahoma City

The Womb in Oklahoma City (all photographs by the author for Hyperallergic)

OKLAHOMA CITY — The last time I checked in on the Womb — the art space opened by Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne with collaborators Rick Sinnett and Jake Harms — they were about to reopen. The gallery had been shut down due to code violations in the aftermath of a joke Coyne made leading up to the Flaming Lips’ 2011 New Year’s Eve show about thousands of fans dropping acid with Yoko Ono in the space.

Skull mural in the Womb

The downtown gallery reopened in August with safety upgrades in place, and has since been hosting small, vibrant contemporary art shows, including Michelle Romo of Crowded Teeth, and music performances that involve freaky art installations, like Zorch in September. Now brothers Oliver and Spencer Hibert are showing their art in Bad Trip.

I stopped by last week, thereby missing the body painting/drenching weirdness that kicked off the show, and saw the small exhibition that takes up the front space of the Womb. In another room were the remains of their opening night experience: a drippy skull mural on the wall and pools of dried paint from the body painting piece. The center of the gallery was occupied by half a massive disco ball, which I believe in a previous life was part of a giant UFO that hovered over the Flaming Lips’ stage show. Like those Flaming Lips’ performances, everything is a little DIY at the Womb — but just because you can see the duct tape on a spacey device doesn’t make it less enjoyable.

Art by the Hibert brothers

Yet the Hibert brothers’ art is anything but ramshackle, with obsessively clean lines and rich paint that one of the Womb workers told me makes each painting take days. However, while the Womb aesthetic and Hiberts’ might differ in meticulousness, they share a love of trippy imagery, including for the Womb’s eponymous anatomy, as the exhibition title might lead you to believe. Eyeballs project rainbows, space turns into a giant mouth slobbering all over the universe, there’s a lot of unsettling flesh wounds. Oliver Hibert actually did the album art for the Flaming Lips’ recent EP with Tame Impala — a painting based on one I was told he would never sell, where a woman’s body is exploded in parts, oozing black, while a mouth/moth eating an eye emerges in the middle.

Hopefully this is the start of many artist collaborations where the gallery, music, and imagery can all blend into a part of the tantalizing trip of the Flaming Lips, which after passing their 30 year anniversary as a band are still finding new ways to experiment.

“Bad Trip” installed at the Womb

“Bad Trip” installed at the Womb

Flaming Lips performance space in the Womb

Giant disco ball at the Womb

“Bad Trip” at the Womb

The Womb in Oklahoma City

Oliver Hibert and Spencer Hibert’s Bad Trip is currently on view at the Womb (25 NW 9th, Oklahoma City).

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Allison Meier

Allison C. Meier is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from Oklahoma, she has been covering visual culture and overlooked history for print...

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