Exhibition Preview: Salt Lake City
Bodies & Souls, Mannequins & Burning Men
by Chris Brooks
Now that 15 bytes is back, I have been wondering if Artists of Utah will also be getting back to exhibitions -- like their 35 x 35 in December of 2002, which I enjoyed very much. Editor Shawn Rossiter has assured me that AoU is eager to be involved in exhibitions, “as long as they are ‘unique’” he said. “Which means no one else is doing them. And they can't be too much of a drain on our core missions."”
Then he suggested I prove my interest. “Write an article: ‘35 x 35, Where are they now?’”
That seems like an undertaking for someone with better writing skills and more time. But I did find out that there are a couple of the 35 x 35 artists exhibiting this month, so here is a start to that project.
Photographer Kim Riley won a juror’s award at 35 x 35. She works at Salt Lake City’s Phillips Gallery and travels often, finding inspiration for her photographs. An exhibition of her recent photographic work will be opening in the Dibble Gallery at Phillips March 18th.
Riley says that the exhibit was originally planned to show work from a two-month stay in France this past year. But a number of other images have crept in, including some from Spain, New York, and the Burning Man Festival in Paris.
The eclecticism of the shots might lead the show into a chaos of themes and styles, but it seems that her work, where ever shot, shares some thematic and stylistic qualities.
Riley images 0
Multiple works in the exhibit were shot in the Paris subway; parts of the images are blurred due to the movement of the train; in others, the faces of passengers are seen through the glass(1). Surprisingly, these images share a feel with images as far away as Spain, where an underwater shot creates the same play of reflection as the subway windows (2), and the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, where one image shows shadows seen on a wall near Area 51 (3).
What most of these images seem to have in common is a spirit of introspection. I think traveling is not so much about seeing the world but about seeing yourself. You go away from home and yourself so that you can understand yourself and your home. This is what I think Riley achieves in this exhibition.
The armless top half of a mannequin, propped on a stool in a Paris antique shop, has a soulful look about her (4). The mannequin stares into large reflective glass. Is she remembering her past glory days? Another mannequin that Riley captures in New York has a pensive look (5). She seems a dreamer, wondering what life holds for her. Rows of mannequin heads can be seen in a window behind her, as if they are the choices of the woman she can become. In a shot of the Musee D’Orsay, we see a classical figure overlooking the city (6); in the Pere Lachaise cemetery, a time-worn statue bows its head in grief. The Burning Man photographs, in a drastically different climate, give off the same sense of introspection and search for meaning. In one, small figures are seen watching the burning of an effigy, symbolizing the release of desire. In another, stilt walkers are seen heading towards a hazy, flag strewn hill, as if on a pilgrimage to another life(7).
Most of these works were shot with a digital camera, though some were also done with a medium format. None have been touched up with Photoshop. They are what Riley saw and decided to capture. She seems to have a natural capacity for capturing surface and layers in a variety of subject and in a variety of locales. Though she takes us to Paris, New York and Nevada, we are not so much seeing these locales as we are seeing with her eyes. These are not the shots of a vacationing tourist but of the traveler looking for herself in her surroundings.
Jennifer Suflita, now showing in a group exhibit at Horne Fine Art, shares a similar introspective quality with Riley, though hers is more directly manifested. Suflita first came to the attention of gallery director Karen Horne when she viewed her work at Artists of Utah’ 35 x 35 exhibition. Horne describes her as “a petite person, with a soft, light voice -- but her outsize paintings pack a wallop!”
Suflita’s “wallop” paintings are usually very large close-ups of faces, close-cropped by the canvas dimensions. The composition allows little clue to the light source in the painting, but the faces always seem to be in interiors, lit by the afternoon sun coming in through the window or by the warm glow of a fire or candle (1), or the harsh light of an overhead fluorescent bulb. This setting stages nicely the reflective nature of the sitters, who are most often seen looking away, introspectively.
The poses sometimes look like they might be too much of a put-on, but I think Suflita’s loving touch to the contours of the twenty-something faces and the attention to detail and emotion are able to create a sense of intimacy; almost as if these were stolen moments between two friends or lovers trying to work out their problems.
Suflita will also be exhibiting etchings done in the same vein. Her painting technique makes an easy transition to the expressive mode of etchings.
Body & Soul images 0
Suflita’s introspective, reflective pieces, reflect the general theme of “Body and Soul,” Horne Fine Art’s thematic show this month. The show’s purpose is to not only highlight the figure but also the expressiveness of the human figure. “We’ve included work that is compelling physically, but also spirited, not dry and academic,” says Horne.
Horne’s own drawing of a seated figure (2) reiterates the reflective quality of Suflita’s paintings, but with less unease. Jamie Wayman’s view of a floating figure in water evokes the emotional calmness of the “model” without ever showing the face (3). The exhibit shows a range of styles and responses to the figure, from Doug Braithwaite's watercolors, one of a forthrightly pregnant nude, to the watercolors of Traci O'Very Covey, which uses the figure more symbolically to express sunlight or other elemental qualities. The work can be done in a realistic manner, as in Wilson J. Ong’s work (4), or in a more fanciful, poetic way as in the work of now 95 year old Ted Wassmer (5). Other artists participating include Ken Baxter, and Nathan Barnes.
What's Up and Upcoming
Compiled by 15 Bytes Staff. Listings with an asterisk will be open during Gallery Stroll, Friday, March 18th from 6 to 9 pm.
*A GALLERY : Through March, a one artist painting exhibition featuring new works by Utah artist Jennifer Rasmusson, who combines representational still life elements (such as vessels, fruits and flowers) with abstract, collaged backgrounds. In April, a landscape show featuring the work of Brandon Cook, Adrienne Husum, Gregory Stocks, Christopher Thornock, and Mike Walton
*NEW VISIONS : Photographer and artist Howard Wilkerson will present “MetalRock”, an exhibit of abstract photographs. Howard Wilkerson’s images represent a level of seeing rich textures and visual metaphors in the most ordinary of subjects - metal, ice, rocks. The resulting images are abstract, resemble other visual media such as watercolors, and show no resemblance to the original subject.
GROUTAGE GALLERY: SugarHouse's newest gallery opened its premier show Saturday, March 12th, with works by Harrison T. Groutage and Paul Butler.
*CHROMA GALLERY: New works by Darryl Erdmann & John Bell. 1064 East 2100 South, SLC.
*ART ACCESS GALLERY: presents Hearts & Flowers: What I Did On MySummer Vacation, by Salt Lake City artist, Anne Vinsel. Since she mostly paints what she encounters during her everyday routine, her most recent paintings, in oil and encaustics, have been split between her home and work neighborhoods. Through April 8.
Ed Bateman, John Roser and Joe Carter on display beginning March Gallery Stroll. Bateman's photographic work are studio sets for the philosophic mind. Roser is a realistic sculptor who works in bronze. Joe Carter's still lifes are icons of the mundane, giving spark plugs and soda bottles the type of luxurious painted attention once reserved for kings and popes. In the Dibble Gallery, the photography of Kim Riley (see left column).
UTAH MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS Streamlines New UMFA Exhibit Explores Women's Fashion Since 1895
*UNKNOWN GALLERY “Seed” Group show featuring David Ruhlmann, Cein Watson, Lincoln Lysager, Aleksandr Taymer and Travis Dinsmore.
*UTAH ARTIST HANDS: can't wait . . . for Spring and is inaugurating the season with a group exhibition celebrating new beginnings. A special event, Friday March 18 6-9pm and March 19th 12-5pm: in celebration of Spring and the Kachina dancers that are coming out on the reservation, Earl Denet will be at the gallery to demonstrate the making of his traditional Hopi Kachina dolls and to tell the stories of the rich tradition of his ancestors.
*WOMENS ART CENTER: will be hosting an exhibition featuring the works of Mie Hommura, Davina Pallone and Sunny Belliston. New works and an installation by Davina Pallone resonate a desire to connect. Influenced as a child who's family relocated annually, Davina's desire to belong, not merely to assimilate for a few short months, but rather to have the world as part of her own history. Influenced by patterns and decorations of the Middle East and Roman Catholic iconography, Davina creates her art from a lifetime of gathering outside influences to create her own language and tradition, capturing a small piece of the world and making it her own.
Mie Hommura's art is based on what she sees, whether it's visible or not. Influenced by her perceived twist of the imaginary, her work is child like and surreal. Her graphic design background and Japanese heritage play a fundamental role in her work. She will have an emphasis on her colorful stuffed animals as well as images that are design in nature.
*RIO GALLERY: Join the Rio Gallery in their grand-reopening on Friday, March 18 from6-9 PM. The gallery is now in the lobby of the historic Rio Grande Depot 300 South Rio Grande Street, SLC Topaz: Reopening an Internment Camp The photographs and installations in this exhibit explore the current desolation at Topaz where thousands of Japanese Americans were interned during World War II.The first internees were moved into Topaz in September, 1942, and it was closed in October, 1945. At its peak, Topaz held 9,408 people in barracks of tarpaper and wood. Exhibition includes Paul Adams, Joe Ostraff, John Telford and Brian Wilcox
|Mixed Media: Recent Utah Visual Arts Articles
3/13 An artist remembered: Florence Ware passed away in 1971, but her work lives on
3/1 Masami Hayashi: A master of Japanese calligraphy in SLC
MORE SLC GALLERY LISTINGS
*MAGPIE GALLERY: Opening reception for new work by Tom Dunford, Doug Day, and Denice Green. Show remains through April 12th.
*3W GALLERY (159 W 300 W; 983-9266) Ruby Chacon, paintings through April 8th
ROSE WAGNER ARTS CENTER : John Kaly and Brett Peterson through the end of March. Albert Wint and Allen Bishop April through June.
*THE ART IS IN: Throuh the month of March, award-winning watercolorist Kindra Fehr.
*ART BARN : Thru April 8, paintings by Gary Barton and Joe Ostraff and sculpture installation by Beth Krensky. April 15 - June 3 sculpture and installation by Court Bennett and paintings by Layne Meacham. Bennett works n a variety of 3-dimensonal mixed media, choosng materials wth a strong texture and visceral weight. Meacham will be presenting "immediate, unadorned images" of his recent experiences in Bogota Colombia. Photography by Carol Koleman in the Park Gallery.
*PATRICK MOORE GALLERY (formerly FORUM GALLERY) New Works by tonalist landscape artist Laura Boardman. 511 W. 200 South 521-5999.
*MICHAEL BERRY GALLERY (754 E. South Temple; 521-0243) Group Show. Featuring art by Pilar Pobil, Rebecca Livermore, Willamarie Huelskamp, Kindra Fehr, and David Marti. Through April 13.
*SOUTHAM GALLERY (50 E Broadway; 322-0376) Exhibit- "Marching Out Winter" Five Plein air artists capturing the wonderful signs of spring's inevitable return. 6-8 p.m.
SALT LAKE ART CENTER "The Daily News" through May 29. Visual Artists explore the impact and importance of the print media. | "The Vanishing: Re-presenting the Chinese in the American West" through April 3rd.
814 GALLERY: "Alt Snapshots" by Dorothee Martens through April.