Outside Inside . . . from page 1
The resulting installations range from observations of social interactions
and historical relationships to an intense use of Utah’s unique landscape
as metaphor for spirituality and search for meaning. Each makes use
of the space the installation inhabits, some more successfully than others.
The most successful of them take the viewer into a space and make it a
reality for them.
Josie Cavallaro's "Just Keep Walking"
Such is the case with the first installation one encounters
when entering the exhibition – “Just Keep Walking.” Street barricades
and street signs define the space: blocking access, establishing empty
spaces, and directing the participant. In addition, the artist, Josie
Cavallaro, has placed monitors showing video footage of Mormon missionaries
operating in Sydney Australia’s civic spaces. Young men -- in requisite
white shirt, tie and name tag -- attempt to approach people in two very
different places: Martin Place, the city’s hub for commercial activity,
and Hyde Park. In Martin Place the missionaries seem like another barricade
or warning sign, to be avoided or stepped around. In Hyde Park the video
reveals a more accepting audience, where the missionaries are able to
sit down and discuss their message. Cavallaro makes an interesting choice
by avoiding the locale of the Wasatch Front and instead concentrating
on one of its most famous exports.
Separated by a partition from Cavallaro’s installation, Anne
Graham’s creation shares the main hall of the exhibition. In her installation,
the walls are lined with photographs of pioneer women tending to livestock
and descriptions of their activities. A white-picket fence enclosing
two large pod-like objects delineates the main portion of the space.
The pods seem an unsettling juxtaposition to the domestic thoughts conjured
by the fence. In addition, the space feels cramped -- the polar opposite
of the open plains of pioneer women. Reliance on photographs and descriptions
of the women’s lives seems more like a history exhibit, without necessarily
creating the “feel” of a history exhibit. On a whole, the installation
doesn’t seem to have the same experiential effect that some of the other
artists were able to accomplish.
Julie Gough’s “Transmutation” is exceptionally successful in
using its space to create an experience, though she admittedly makes
the least obvious reference to the task at hand: the communities of
the Wasatch Front. Gough has used the room at her disposal to create
a surrealistic theatre set. Upon first entering the room, the viewer is
confronted by thirty-three pillows, hovering in the dark room, a warm
glow of light shining from above. In a back corner, a hospital bed, with
heart monitor is only barely visible. However, the light of the room brings
one’s attention to the pillows. The gravity of the darkened hospital bed
is juxtaposed against the airy quality of the floating pillows. The viewer
is walking in between the spaces created by the conflux of two worlds. The
mortal world of the hospital bed is faint and diminishing compared to
the well-lit pillows.
Only when a viewer actually inspects the bed do they realize there
is a second monitor, turned away from the entrance to the room. This monitor
shows a dream-like sequence of a young girl running through a forest.
Gough has created a space, a sensation. She has made the viewer a member
of the stage set. One feels like a ghost or member of a spiritual world
floating around the set of a “mortal“ experience. Though arguably the
most compelling of the installations, Gough’s installation loses some
impact by making no recognizable reference to the peculiar aspect of
the communities of the Wasatch Front.
Julie Gough's "Transmutation"
artists in Outside Inside interact more directly with the actual physical
quality of the Wasatch Front and attempt to bring portions of this physicality
to bear in their installations. Noelene Lucas’s installation, “Coming
and Going,” uses the Utah landscape as a launching pad to explore more
intellectual and spiritual pursuits. Lucas’ room is dark and empty, except
for two video screens, facing opposite each other. A large screen on the
left wall shows a video of the Salt Flats, the broad expanse of white interrupted
only slightly be the passing of a distant car. On the smaller screen,
a hand moves a feather across a layer of salt, slowly, almost imperceptibly,
revealing a grid. This small, subtle image, with its reference to salt
and erosion, does more to reveal the nature of much of the Utah landscape
than might a thousand paragraphs. The grid revealed by the movement of
the feather is actually a family history chart, revealing the artist’s own
search for her ancestors.
Salt is also an important element in the installation by Regina
Walter, which consists of a single chandelier, suspended in a darkened
room. Made from natural, carved and solution-formed salt crystals,
the chandelier sparkles in a ghostly light reminiscent of Gough’s space.
Created in a traditional form, the chandelier is recalls nineteenth-century
life – which formed the Wasatch Front communities. The subjects of the
installation, light and salt, are both important symbolic elements for the
religious communities that have made their home along the Wasatch Front.
Regina Walter's "Untitled"
A less compelling reference to the physical
quality of the Wasatch Front is Bonita Ely’s installation entitled
“Bonsai Landscape.” The artist has taken a photograph of part of Y Mountain
in Provo and reproduced it over and over as a paper bonsai tree. These
trees are multiplied and spread across the ground. Ely’s changing of
scope -- bringing a monumental mountainside down to a paper cut-out repeated
across the floor -- is an interesting idea but the space she has created
fails to give the participant a sense of “being in something.”
Jacqueline Clayton’s “Ark” does not so much create a space
as recreate on in a new context. The most compelling aspect of her
installation is a series of glassed-in objects on raised pedestals.
Like ancient Ming vases in the Metropolitan or a delicately preserved
dress in the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, these objects are given
unique status. The objects, however, are items Clayton found in her
mother’s home. She has created a faux museum experience to, elevating
the objects and the stories they tell. Each vitrine contains a scale
holding simple objects such as a watch or plates or a book. These, placards
tell us, are the amount of worldly possessions pioneers, refugees and
immigrants were able to take on their journeys. In one sense, the artist
identifies the refugees by their objects. But the nature of their lives
is revealed by the paucity of objects. The objects celebrate the lack
of objects and point to the more essential qualities of existence: family,
freedom, life, love. If Clayton has created a theatre set it is for
a morality play, her installation a testimony to one of the most important
aspects of our lives – our choices. Clayton tells us how much a Mormon
Pioneer would take on their voyage across the plains, or a British immigrant
to Australia. These stories of migration are tied to more contemporary
choices as well, like the refugees and asylum seekers of our age who
are faced with similar choices. The most poignant moment in the experience
of Clayton’s “Ark” is an empty vitrine, assigned to Afghan refugees. It
is accompanied by a quote “We left with nothing. Just our lives. It is
Leaving this exhibition, a museumgoer leaves with much more
than the available postcards describing each artist’s work and the thoughts
behind their ideas. The seven artists who participated in Brigham Young
University’s Museum of Art Outside Inside have adeptly demonstrated
both the vitality and the versatility of Installation as an art form.
At their best they have created unique stage sets for realities that
make the viewers active participants of an experience.
Information for the news nibbles section can be sent
The deadline for the next issue is March 12th.
Extended information on many of these announcements can be found at
the AoU Forum
The mayor's office invites all interested partieis to join a discussion
on the city's Artists Ordinance and Special Events Ordinance. Wednesday
February 4 at 7 PM at the Pioneer Precinct building,
located at 1040 West 700 South.
The Utah Arts Alliance has announced plans to renovate the Hansen
Planetarium into an Arts Center, providing three galleries as well as
performing arts space. Individuals interested in this project are invited
to attend a meeting
Monday Feb. 9th at 1:30pm and Monday Feb
23rd at 1:00pm. at the The Downtown Alliance offices
238 South Main Street (in the meeting room downstairs).
Art Access/VSA arts of Utah has received additional funding
for its Artist Residencies in the Schools Program. As a result, Art Access/VSA
arts of Utah is currently accepting applications for Artist in-Residencies
for children with disabilities or those who are underserved.
Studio spaces are now available at Arrow Press Square, 165 S. West Temple.
Studios range from 200 sq. feet to 10,000 sq. feet and prices start at $150.
For more information contact Lynn Rasmussen at 231-9984.
The Eccles Community Art Center continues its "Conversations in Art" series
with a lecture by Jon R. Williams on five Great Photographers of the 20th
Century. This free lecture will be February 10th at 7:00pm. "Conversations
in Art" will continue through May.
Jurors Scott Knauer and Mark Biddle granted the following awards in
the Eccles Community Art Center's 9th Statewide Black & White Competition:
1st: Doug Braithwaite
2nd: Russell Daniels
3rd: Scott Betz