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July 2005
Published Monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization.
Artist Spotlight: Salt Lake City
Madison Smith, Motivated by Memory
by Laura Durham | photos by Manju Varghese

Dangerously conservative. That is a criticism Utah artist Madison Smith received in graduate school from a professor on his final review committee at the San Francisco Art Institute. Although he doesn’t seem phased by it, it is a comment he will never forget.

Smith is now a full-time artist working out of his home in Holladay. He is also an award-winning artist. The Utah Arts Council granted him one of two 2005 Fellowship awards and a juror’s award at the 2005 Statewide Competition earlier this year. In 2003, New American Paintings honored him by publishing his piece on the cover of their Open Studios Pacific Coast Competition. His work has matured substantially since Graduate School, but he still laughs at his professor’s “dangerously conservative” critique.

Smith’s professors also felt his artwork was too enigmatic. “I agree with that to some extent, although the paintings did say what I wanted to say at the time.” The paintings were of isolated figures, all strangers, communicating only through body language and the spaces between them. His advisors pushed him to reveal more about his subject matter and paint a more specific point of view.

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Exhibition Review: Salt Lake City
Shifting Perspective: Holly Mae Pendergast at Art Access
by Kent Rigby

Many people suffer from cultural and ethnic prejudices and stereotyping to some degree. This is a recognized fact of life, and one that we have to deal with – often on a daily basis. When I first became aware of this social condition many years ago, I wondered why it had to be, and what I could do, personally, to help eradicate such poor-intentioned behavior. The answer was slowly revealed that first I had to rid myself of all prejudice.

Holly Mae Pendergast is a caring and compassionate artist who has also questioned why, and has sought to deal with the seeds of her prejudice first hand. The title of her new exhibit, currently on display at Art Access Gallery, “AN ARTIST’S SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE: Portraits of Contemporary Native Americans in Utah,” references her self-analysis and the self-healing she worked to achieve through the process of completing this body of work.

As I stood and looked at the assemblage of paintings and drawings for the first time, Ruth Lubbers, Director of Art Access Gallery, told me, “This show is not about the Native Americans portrayed. The artist and her changing attitudes are the subject matter.” This statement intrigued me and I began to look at the works with fresh eyes.
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Exhibition Spotlight: Salt Lake City
Eyes on Trevor Southey
by Shawn Dallas Stradley

The current and exciting exhibit at the new A Gallery in the Sugarhouse area features the artwork of Trevor Southey and is provocative, new, retrospective and collaborative. This particular presentation is unique in that it is the result of collaboration and commission, creativity and entrepreneurism, awareness and fundraising. Those organizations and individuals that worked together to create this opportunity represent groups that do not often work together: large non-profit foundations, humanitarian interests, a private commercial art gallery, business individuals, artwork, the technology from university research, and an artist.

The principle focus of this exhibit and fund raising opportunity is a piece entitled “Eagle Eyes.” It was commissioned of Trevor Southey by Debbie Inkley in conjunction with The Opportunity Foundation, which provides opportunities, education, and employment for special need individuals. Recent project work by The Opportunity Foundation collaborates with Boston College's Eagle Eyes Project. This project, through the use of computer and visual technologies allows severely physically-challenged individuals the opportunity to communicate for the first time. The painting by Southey portrays this transition from a world of darkness and isolation to one of light and inclusion through numerous symbolic images.

I have to admit the first impression I had of this painting was, "Well, this is very literal." Southey tackled this concept right on when I asked about it. When asked about the symbolism Trevor explains, “It’s actually pretty simple. But, basically, it is a very difficult, challenging piece to do, because it gets really close to sentimentality. So, this is a source of distress to me. It’s something I fight anyway. I'm by nature quite a sentimental person who resents the fact that the lamb and the lion don't lie down together. I think it is very uncooperative of them. So, I tend to be a romantic. This piece goes a step beyond that. So, I have had to fight it, and I think I’ve come close to winning the battle, so it says what I want it to say without being maudlin."

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