Artists Revisited page 5
February 2005
Page 4
Ritual in the Making . . . from page 1

click an image to enlarge

For me, Frank descends from "that DaDa strain" (ARP, Schwitters, Ernst, Duschamp, and all), for whom the urge to make is the birthing force at the core of their activities as artists. In the words of the American composer Charles Ives, "Perhaps the birth of art will take place at the moment in which the last man willing to make a living out of art is gone and gone forever." This is an ideal. What poisons art is not that an artist gets paid for a work, but that he or she makes art to get paid.

When you look at a work by Frank McEntire, the idea of art as commodity does not readily enter the picture (no pun intended). And though this is a disadvantage if you want to make a living from art, it is a definite advantage if you are making art to live. The urge to make is the distinguishing mark of authentic art and the very reason for its coming into being. If a work of art sells, fine. But it does not spring from the demands of any marketplace.

Frank's brand of making art is centered in assembling objects and imagery from various religious and cultural milieus, with elements of ritual as the subtle substrata to everything he does. His 1994 exhibit, Ceremonial Expressions, represented a future entry into those realms of ritual and making: a Coleman stove turned altar; golden auras; gilded hybrid shapes; frozen manifestations of visions, idiosyncratic, yet shared; divining rods; a steeple embedded in a mound of cedar bark; tar; time cards (punch in your god); oil on canvas; rope; peacock feathers; pages from hymn books; medallions; crucifixes; hair; rosaries; nails; a counter to register the turns of a prayer wheel; a bible; wax; a mound; candles; salt; objects; forms and statues wrapped and bound.

I've seen statues and other ritual objects wrapped up like that, in Sicilian churches; put into storage, in the back rooms beyond the main altar. And though the idea of wrapping and binding objects as used by Frank is based on artistic and intuitive considerations, the result is similar; that is, they are manifestations of potential energy, of hidden and bound forces.

Seedling & Temple by McEntire

Frank shares in the same mysterious vision that in modern times also motivated Man Ray to wrap up objects. The artist Christo uses this "technique" for his own purposes, deritualizing and demystifying the whole process. Frank carries it to its logical, quasifetishistic end.

As you enter one of Frank's exhibit/installation spaces, the overall feeling is of a setting created to encourage people to take a subjective part in the whole (here "subjective" is synonymous with private outlook). It is a room full of vessels, each containing and proffering potential discoveries.

Frank McEntire's Hidden Text will be on display at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art through February 19.


Alex Caldiero, originally from Sicily and raised in Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York, is a performance poet. His interests focus on traditional and experimental art, literature, music, and research into the nature and origin of language. Caldiero is a visiting scholar at Utah Valley State College.


February 22, 2005 6-8 PM
Juried Competitions: Panel discussion and Q&A

Feature: In The News
Blah Blah Blog
by Kasey Boone

ARE THOSE SEAGULLS ART?

So, are those seagulls around town really art? Or those moose up in Park City? Talk to your neighborhood populist and they are the expression of the common man. Talk to your East Bench art elitist and the answer is "most certainly not." Cutesy craft maybe, but not art.

Phillip Barlow, a curator in Washington D.C. definitely sides with the latter. ARTnews January 2005 reports that the curator of Options 2005, "a prominent Washington-area art biennial," was fired for "publicly saying he would bar artists who had partcipated in two city-funded sidewalk-sculpture projects."

You know the routine. Local artists are invited to paint up or otherwise decorate large plaster animals. In DC's case, Panda bears. Barlow, an actuary by profession, had never previously curated the show, but he felt that the artists participating in the "pandemania" had been "detrimental to local art." "I wanted to use this position to comment on what I thought was good and bad about local art, and taking panda-shaped things and painting it cannot qualify, by any minimal definition, as art." Barlow was let go before he could curate the show.

Maybe Barlow should have jumped over the pond to take a look at the Turner Prize. In Art Review of January you can read about Grayson Perry, 2003 Turner Prize-winning artist, who paints homemade pots with cartoons expressing amusing, sometimes irreverent commentary. So, my question is, if Perry had painted on Pandas, would he have received the Turner prize? Or would Barlow had let him in the Options exhibit?

SPEAKING OF SELF-APPOINTED ART CRITICS: THE BLOWTORCH AWARD

So, hopefully you remember Gilbert "Blowtorch" Cook, the UVSC administrator who took it upon himself to dismantle (and damage) a sculptor's work on the University's campus which he didn't care for. I think he and Barlow should go fishing sometime.

I'm thinking of creating the blowtorch award, for the best destruction of art. There seemed to have been a lot this month. First there's the garbage collectors in Frankfurt. Conscientious civil servants, they found what looked like discarded construction materials on the sidewalk and promptly disposed of the materials. Only problem was, it was actually an installation piece. Now they are taking an art awareness class to help them distinguish between trash and treasure. At least these guys were just trying to do their job. We'll give them the most benign runner up.

Then there's the French mother of Europe's most successful art thief. When she discovered her son had been arrested by the police she quickly ran into his room and began destroying her son's "art collection." Poor mother. Most boys have posters of Pamela Anderson. This guy's got oils by Rubens. She told the police she did it to punish her son.

She took an axe to some paintings, threw others out (if she had lived in Frankfurt maybe the art-enlightened garbage men would have noticed), and still others she jammed down her garbage disposal. A Brueghel that was never recovered may be sloshing through the sewage system with the neighbor's botched creme brulee. For the use of the garbage disposal we'd have to give her most creative destruction of artwork.

But finally, I think the blowhard blowtorch award must go to Donald Rumsfeld, our Secretary of Defense. It wasn't enough that, in invading Iraq the U.S. army allowed countless number of artifacts to be pilfered from the museums. No one made much of a fuss about that, so the Army decided they would step it up a notch: destroy a whole archeological site. The Army took up camp in the ancient city of Babylon. Granted, the city doesn't get that good a rap in the Bible or by reggae music, but it is one of the great cities of ancient times. Sand that archeologists might have taken days to sift through was thrown into sandbags to place around the base. Bricks baked in the hot sun three thousand years ago were crushed under the weight of U.S. tanks.

MAYNARD DIXON PLEASE GO HOME

From world events back to our own back yard. If there's still time, see if you can come across a copy of the January edition of Southwest Art, where there's an article on Utah's own Bonnie Posselli . The article does justice to a fine Utah landscape painter. But this is what bugs me: take a look, two paragraphs in and you'll see a comparison to Maynard Dixon, mentioned in a fairly arbitrary way with no real connection to Posselli. Later in the article, Dixon's name is dropped again. It's almost as if you are not allowed to mention Utah and landscape without somehow finding a way to drop Dixon's name in.

I feel for all those Utah landscape artists who can't get out from under the shadow of Maynard Dixon. Almost wish he had spent his last years on the other side of the border. In the end, Dixon was a fine illustrator, an adept designer and used these skills to reinvision the landscape of the West. But, and don't excommunicate me for this, I don't think he was a particularily fine painter. Not a painter's painter. Posselli, on the other hand, may not be particularly strong in her design, but I think she is a fine painter, better so than Dixon. You'd think that at a magazine where people actually get paid to write they could come up with better insights into an artist's work than throwing in the standard Maynard Dixon connection.


NEWS NIBBLES
Information for the news nibbles section can be sent to:
artistsofutah@netzero.net
The deadline for the next issue is  March 15th.

Extended information on many of these announcements can be found at the AoU Forum .

Thanks to the Utah Cultural Alliance for much of this information.

SALT LAKE CITY

-- Gretchen Dietrich is the new director for the Utah Museums Association, taking over from Charlotte Reynolds who moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Gretchen can be reached at 801 467-3455 (SLC #) or gretchen@
utahmuseums.org.


--Leslie Peterson, instrumental in helping to pass the recent Zoo, Arts and Parks referendum in Salt Lake County has joined the Salt Lake Art Center as their Assistant Director. Allison South, the previous Assistant Director, has moved to Seattle, WA to pursue other interests. Leslie can be reached at 801 328-4201 or lesliep@slartcenter.org..

--The Art Is In gallery, which was previously located in the Crossroads Mall, has moved to 511 West 200 South, next to the Forum Gallery. They have expanded their services to include framing, fine art publishing and printing as well as classes in a variety of media. They are also offering the publc and artists the opportunity to rent the gallery for shows and other events.

-- Seagullfest 2005 applications are now available online at www.seagullfest.org

LOGAN

-- Wally Bloss is the new director of Cache Valley Center for the Arts. He hails from Missouri where he directed a similar organization, and was a Regional VP with Mo Citizens for the Arts, their Arts advocacy organization. Wally replaced Lisette Miles who took a similar job in Anchorage, Alaska. Wally can be reached at 435 435 753-6518 ext 16 or e-mail at WBloss@
CenterForTheArts.us

CALL FOR ENTRIES

New Call for Entries recently posted to the Artists of Utah Forum include:

-- Utah 2005 Statewide Exhibit
-- Utah Arts Council Visual Arts Fellowships
--BDAC Statewide Annual
--Art Barn Call for Entries

PLEASE DONATE

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

-- What did you think about this edition of 15 Bytes? Love it? Hate it? Both? Did you agree with our reviews? What about our new Blah Blah Blog feature? Would you like to see longer articles? Shorter? More reviews?

Let us and the community know by writing a letter to the editor. Follow this link to the February 2005 15 Bytes page at the forum section and you can leave your comments about this edition.