Giving everyone their fifteen bytes of fame
In This Issue
Utah Arts Alliance/On the Spot/Inside the Vault -P2
Lori Nelson -P3
Shawn Harris -P4
Maurice Clifford/Sell Out or Sell Art/News Nibbles-P5

Gallery Stroll Preview/Mixed Media -P6
March 2004
Published Every Six Weeks by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization.
Artist Profile: Salt Lake City
Lori Nelson: From This Remove
by Laura Durham/ photos by Steve Coray


Ever since she can remember, Lori Nelson has called herself an artist. Growing up in a small orchard town, her artistic influences were limited, but her first trip to Spain as a foreign exchange student opened her eyes to a world of art. She became aware of the tremendous power art can have and was able to apply this awareness to her own work. She cites the French Nabis painters as a major influence. To the Nabis, a picture had meaning only when it possessed 'style.' This was achieved when the artist succeeded in changing the shape of the objects and imposing contours or a color that expressed the artist's own personality. This ‘style' is apparent in Nelson's artwork as she allows her memory and personal perspective to dictate the rendering of her figures and landscapes. The result is a pictorial, almost child-like style, but with intensely layered emotions.

In her upcoming exhibit at Phillips Gallery , From This Remove, Nelson continues to reveal her thoughts on subjects including motherhood and marital and romantic relationships. Although relationships are a significant subject for her, the artist uses words such as “distant,” “removed” and “solitary” when describing her work. Nelson’s figures often occupy a large portion of a quiet foreground and appear to be completely uninterested in the world behind them. She explains, "We are all alone, ultimately; especially in the harder moments of life – even if you have other people around you. But I think there are different kinds of being alone." Although distance and solitude have developed as themes in her art, family has always surrounded Nelson, providing her with a strong support system. In fact, it was her mother who encouraged the artist in her and gave her the confidence she needed to, as she describes it, turn her childhood into "careerhood."

Lori Nelson grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado. One of five children, she considered herself an independent child whose mother encouraged the unique qualities in her. A schoolteacher informed Nelson's mother of her daughter's drawing habits during class time, but instead of reprimanding her, Nelson's mother took the behavior as a cue to enroll the young artist into pastel classes and enter her drawings into as many competitions as she could find. Ever since, art has been a dominant aspect of Nelson's life. There was a short blip in high school involving a failed cheerleading tryout, but Nelson now sees that mishap as a fortunate experience that guided her to focus more on her painting throughout high school. She attributes her success and confidence to her supportive upbringing. "My mother planted the idea that I was an artist at a very early age so I didn't feel like I needed to go to school to become an artist." Yet, she went to college to pursue an art degree anyway.
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Exhibition Review: Salt Lake City
Shawn Harris: The Best We've Got
by Kasey Boone

Okay, here I go. I’m gonna lay it on the line. All my future critical responses will be judged by this one utterance, this one assessment, this giving of a 10 by which the 9s and 6s and 7s of future critical reviews will be metered. I stand on the precipice . . .

I think Shawn Harris is the best artist we’ve got.

Choose, if you will, to ignore my slight bravado. After all, I may not be too far out on a limb. I’m not the first to recognize this artist’s talent. Harris has appeared in a number of exhibitions the past couple of years and the Salt Lake Arts Council is currently giving him a show – the impetus for my assessment – which hangs until April 9th. At Artists of Utah’s 2002 35 x 35 (where I first saw his work) he garnered both a Juror’s Award, as well as the People’s Choice Award. He has also won a Traveling Exhibition Award from the Utah Arts Council. But I don’t think that any of this adequately sums up the strength and excitement of his work.

So, I’ll say it once again, Shawn Harris is the best artist we’ve got.

By we, I mean Utah, and more specifically the Salt Lake scene – which is mostly what I get to see. This, admittedly, is not exactly saying that Harris is ready to conquer an international biennial. But then again . . .

Harris describes himself as a photographer, but as his eleven pieces at the Art Barn aptly demonstrate he is so much more. The central method of his work is photography, usually very large images, produced in multiple16 x 20 sections to create a full image. The photography is blended with oil paints, hand tinted, often projected both in 2 and 3 dimensions. Most importantly, the photographs don’t feel like photographs – which far too often leave a lot of viewers, including me, uninterested.
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shawn harris