Alternative Venue: Salt Lake City
The Art of Baking
images by Steve Coray
Sometimes restaurants decide to hang artwork to enhance their existing
business. Occasionally, it's a part of their original vision when they
open up shop. But it is rare when a restaurant includes art as an integral
part of its very identity.
is the case with Art of Baking, a new cafe in downtown Salt Lake. Husband
and wife owners Jason and Tawnia Lindsay wanted from the start to blend
great food and compelling artwork. So when they opened their business
in November of 2003, they built art right into the name.
The owners wanted to give unknown Utah artists a chance to show and sell
their work. And their new cafe certainly can accommodate that interest.
Located in the space previously occupied by Einstein's, Art of Baking
has plenty of wall space to showcase the work of Utah's emerging artists.
It's an informal process. With no real knowledge of gallery operation
or about how other alternative venues operate, the Lindsays began by
hanging work of friends and acquaintances. There is no set time limit
for exhibitions. Prices tend to range from about $50 to $400, with a
modest 10 to 15% commission going to the cafe.
Emerging Utah artists are encouraged to call for an appointment
to talk with Tawnia about showing their work. Artists should be ready
to provide a bio and a portfolio of their work. While accepting a wide
variety of pieces, the Lindsays are conscious of Utah's conservative culture.
Art lovers are encouraged to drop by to enjoy the cuisine and the
art! Art of Baking features fresh baked breads, cookies, brownies, breakfast
pasteries and boiled bagels. In addition, they offer tasty soups, salads,
sandwiches and "an incredible quiche." Located at 147 South Main in Salt
Lake City, Art of Bqaking is open Monday-Friday 7am-6pm and Saturday 7am-3pm
Call 746-2488 for more info or to inquire about their catering services.
A detail of Gainsborough's "Blue Boy" hanging in Lenka Konopasek's studio.
Lenka Konopasek . . . continued from page 1
Although her art has changed, a common thread of exploration manifests
itself throughout the years. Konopasek says if exploration is in fact a
theme, it’s more of an inward exploration than an outward one. “I think
exploration is equal to creation. You can’t create unless you explore. Going
through grad school I was more conscious about what I was exploring, about
finding my place in the world, my confusion about where I am and my connection
to where I’m from.”
A quality of exploration and eclecticism appears to manifest itself not
only in Konopasek’s artwork, but also in the way she decorates her home.
Her house is warm, colorful and inviting. Everywhere you turn something new
finds you; whether it’s a painting, a photograph, a collection of Konopasek’s
eyeglasses or a piece of Cordell Taylor’s furniture. Konopasek and Taylor
have been together for the past twelve years, and Konpasek is gradually bringing
different furniture into their home. She likes the furniture Taylor makes,
but she says it can be a little overwhelming and sometimes harsh; so she’s
brought some softer materials into the mix. Variety and balance in her home
seems to make her comfortable as she allows the diverse styles of furniture and artwork
mingle in pleasant agreement. This appeal for different styles coming together
makes sense in regards to her artwork.
examples of Konopasek's
work -- click to enlarge
For several years now, Konopasek has taught at Westminster College and
the University of Utah. When asked if teaching art has influenced her work,
the artist replies: “I think on some level -- it informs me; how other people
process information and how they communicate. And when you teach art, there’s
a lot of young energy, and that energizes me. There was a drawing class
up at the U last summer with a lot of non-art majors. It was really interesting
because I wanted the students to ask questions during the other student’s
presentations. What’s interesting is what happens during those discussions.
It was great because they actually started arguing with each other. They
were able to clearly verbalize what they wanted to say. I just sat there
absolutely quiet. Most of the time you as a teacher do all the talking and
you’re begging people to say something. During this discussion I spent most
of my time calming them down.”
Konopasek is currently teaching five art classes. That sounds like a full-time
job in itself, but she still depends on the sale of her artwork for much
of her income. “I’ve been selling a lot of my work through Torrey, through
Denver and on my own. A lot of people buy the art for what it is, but sometimes
they buy it because it fits their idea of color – and that’s fine. I sell
a lot of landscapes because they’re pretty. I don’t think everyone understands
that my landscapes are about serene beauty in a major disaster.” The landscapes
are aerial views of the flooding that took place in central Europe a few
years ago. The floods affected many countries including the Czech Republic.
Konopasek tries to go back to the Czech Republic once a year, and both
she and Taylor have exhibited there, but transporting their artwork is always
a challenge. “I don’t know how it would work now with security. I don’t
know how we would take the work – especially Cordell’s. I don’t think we
can ever get his stuff back because he makes bomb-looking stuff: big metal
balls with wire coming out of it. We traveled with all of this in suitcases
a month after 9-11. I knew they didn’t have the scanners yet so I knew we
could get it there. If they stopped us to look at it I’m sure we would have
spent a nice long vacation in Cuba or Guantanamo Bay.”
For an upcoming exhibit Konopasek will show with Kim Martinez and Maryann
Webster at the Utah Arts Council’s Rio Gallery in February and March. “The
pieces I did before were much more expressive and painterly. Now they’re
tighter and there’s not so much my personal style in there. I’m trying to
make them look as old masterpieces, yet they are completely contemporary.”
At the exhibit, look forward to a series of Gainsborough’s “Blue Boy” where
Konopasek has painted isolated sections of the original and put each in its own frame. This helps the viewer explore areas of the Gainsborough in ways they may not have before.“As much as I really dislike the 18th Century
era of art, there’s something about the fabrics. And I have all these gold,
gilded frames that I’m fixing and I’m now making the paintings to fit the
frames, so the frames are taking over more – it’s kind of going in the opposite
direction. There’s something about gilded frames that is so overpowering,
and when you go to the museums, that’s how most of the frames are. It’s
such a great representation of high British art and taking some of the more
abstract areas that don’t get a lot of attention.”
Konopasek says her art is often about the way she looks at painting. This
must change or evolve as she further explores herself as her artwork investigates
so many styles and ideas. “I want to call this exhibition “Borderline” because
I think Kim’s paintings are also about the beauty of painting, but she’s
using kitschy material – it goes back to her Hispanic background. I think
it’s very difficult being labeled as something. Kim works with a lot of social
issues so she wants to be labeled that way. I’m from Eastern Europe so I’m
always labeled as an Eastern European. I’m having a hard time with the Gainsborough
because of that. I always had a hard time being labeled as an Eastern European,
an immigrant, or even as a female artist; my work definitely reflects
some of those issues.”
Because Konopasek has experimented with so many mediums, styles and subjects,
it would be impossible to categorize her artwork – or her for that matter.
Yes, she’s from the Czech Republic, but her interests reach beyond her nationality.
She is a product of different cultures, backgrounds, societies and ideas.
The culmination of these makes for an artist with eclectic tastes, interesting
perspectives and numerous ideas that never cease to stimulate her creativity.
“Borderline” featuring Lenka Konopasek, Kim Martinez and Maryann Webster
opens February 13th and will continue through March 15th at the Rio Gallery.
The Rio will be open for Gallery Stroll on February 20th from 6-9 PM.
Gallery Stroll: www.ourcommunityconnection.com/stroll