Artist Profile: Salt Lake City
The Ecclecticism of Lenka Konopasek
by Laura Durham/ photos by Steve Coray
When artists from other countries
work in Utah (which, despite some protests to the contrary, is hardly a melting
pot) they are often labeled as a pure product of their country. Viewers
automatically look to see clear evidence of that in their work. Some galleries
around town even carry artwork created by artists specific to a particular
nationality or culture. Mestizo Gallery carried Hispanic work exclusively.
Liberty Art Gallery at Trolley Square currently represents mostly Russian artists who paint mostly landscapes of their native country.
Salt Lake City artist Lenka Konopasek was born and raised in the Czech
Republic, but finding a “Czechness” in her art might prove difficult. Despite
the location of her upbringing, Lenka also lived in Germany and traveled
extensively, but for the past fifteen years she has been a permanent resident
of Salt Lake City.
Konopasek is often labeled as an Eastern European artist. She is proud
to be Czech and she says her country will always be a part of her, but Lenka
is a good example of an artist who does not impose a culture on her artwork;
she simply creates art and allows her inherent culture to manifest itself
where it may. Her travels and her tendency to explore different subjects
and media contribute to the eclectic nature of her work.
Four years after graduating from the School of Applied Arts, Painting,
Architectural Design and Scenic Design in Prague, Konopasek immigrated to
the United States. She earned a BFA at the University of Utah and soon after
earned her Masters at the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine. Pursuing
a career in art has been a full-time job ever since.
Being a product of different cultures and influences is not the only thing
that makes it difficult to categorize Konopasek; over the past fifteen years
she has worked in a range of media including painting, sculpture and mixed
media. She’s experimented with abstract styles and representational styles.
“My art has changed over the years so much – it evolves. To me it makes perfect
sense. In the past three years I’ve done a lot of three-dimensional work,
and I’ve used a lot of things I’ve found. I’ve used boxes, suitcases…that
has been on my mind a lot, but I needed a break from it.”
Exhibition Review: Provo
Outside & Inside the Sculptural Art of Installation
by Tony Watson/photos courtesy Brigham
Young University Museum of Art
Installation as an art
form is a Wagnerian sculptural experience. Light, sound, color, movement,
and -- most importantly -- space combine to create a visceral sculptural
experience. In a world of strip malls and strip housing, the ephemeral quality
of installation is the perfect sculpture for our times. The permanency of
a Gothic cathedral has nothing to do with our consumer society, where an
object becomes an antique in thirty years and houses are torn down every
generation or so.
Sculpture has always been about space. In the Western tradition,
sculpture began as reliefs, and later, freestanding sculptures placed
in a niche in a cathedral. With Donatello’s David sculptural forms were
liberated and put on their own. Though sculpture became movable, it was
still certainly influenced by its space. Michelangelo’s David has
a far different effect at the end of the hall in the Galleria della Accademia
than it does in its original setting in the Piazza dei Signori (where a
replica now stands).
Installation as a form of sculpture takes the importance of place
and location to a whole new level. The space itself becomes a sculpture.
An installation makes a participant conscious of the entire space around
him and of his being in that space. It is like walking in a slot canyon
in Southern Utah. One becomes aware of the physicality of everything around
Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art explores space and installation
in an exciting forum in their ongoing exhibition Outside Inside: Fragments
of Space. For this exhibit, seven Australian artists were invited
to create commissioned installations examining “the extended community
that has gathered along the Wasatch Front.”