May 2005
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Annie Kennedy . . . from page 1
Annie Kennedy images 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 |

Kennedy spent four years (1997-2001) at Rhode Island School of Design where she received her BFA, graduating with Honors and studying for a year in Italy. After receiving her BFA, she returned to Salt Lake City to work with Art Access and Dolores Chase. During that year in Salt Lake, Kennedy was making representational paintings that were about expressing a personal narrative. With that work, she participated in six exhibitions around Utah. Among others, she was included in Springville Art Museum’s “Spirituality in Art” exhibition. She had a Solo Exhibition at Art Access, and teamed up with her former high school teacher, now friend and colleague, Steve Chase for a two-person show at the Union Station Gallery in Ogden.

In 2002, Kennedy moved to New York City to attend graduate school at Parsons School of Design, where she received a teaching certificate for New York State and her MFA in sculpture. At Parsons, she received a Dean’s Scholarship, and upon graduation, the Graduate Student of Merit Award. She also participated in several student shows such as her MFA Thesis exhibition “Things They Carried,” at the Aronson Gallery. She also participated in group shows at Hotel Chelsea, A.I.R Gallery, and the New School Galleries—all in New York City.

While at Parsons, Kennedy started exploring her roots. She was raised a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She recognized the fact that she had grown up with a unique cultural identity; there, in her own childhood, she found a rich heritage of unique imagery, meaning, and a special kind of art history -- one that was independent and parallel to the art and cultural histories of the people surrounding her in New York. In her words: “My artwork is an exploration of this particular visual legacy and an examination of how it interacts with the culture of America and the contemporary art world.”

Since graduate school, Kennedy has been exploring her identity as a Utahn, as someone raised a member of the LDS church, and her identity as a woman. She explores the boundaries between these things, where they overlap, what their relationship is to each other, and she does all of this in a dialogue with contemporary art.

A great example of this is her 72-Hour Kit (2004) |1|. This sculpture is both a quilt and a 72-hour kit. In this piece, Kennedy draws on her own family history as well as the tradition common to many people in the history of Mormon culture. The pattern on her quilt is taken from a traditional style indigenous to Utah quilt-makers. Quilt-making by itself is important to her ancestors as it is to a larger community of Mormons. This sculpture speaks specifically to that tradition, and, at the same time, refers to a larger tradition of craft. In addition to the fact that the sculpture is a quilt, it is made of materials that come from outside the tradition of quilt-making. It is made of vacuum-seal bags used for food storage. Practicing Mormons are urged to keep emergency items on hand, in a neatly packaged, portable bundle, that can be easily accessible in the case of an emergency. This "kit" is designed to keep the owner and his or her family alive and well for 72 hours. Kennedy's bags are transparent and they contain items one would find in a 72-hour kit. Each bag seals things like flashlights, dried mangos, other dried fruits and foods, batteries, matches, candles, a short wave radio, a Swiss Army Knife, and a small Book of Mormon. The contents of the bags, and the idea of combining two signifiers of Mormon culture into one piece of art brings into question the boundaries one typically draws between doctrinal, cultural, craft, and historical issues.

Another piece that serves as a good example of her work is her Sego Lily Star of David (2004) |2|. This piece is a collage made of pieces of paper on which Kennedy has painted with olive oil and grape juice, then baked in the oven; then cut into the petals of sego lilies, then pasted these onto paper in the image of sego lilies arranged in the shape of the Star of David. This work is a good example of how every level of the piece is defined by the concept she is working with. Each of the materials refers on some level to either art or to Mormon culture. Paper and the processes of collage and painting refer to the art historical tradition. Grape juice and olive oil are both important materials in a religious context for Mormons. |3| There are many references to grape juice in the New Testament such as the changing of water to wine at the wedding party—Jesus’ first miracle. Olive oil was important in the New Testament and it is important to Mormons today. It is currently used by Mormons to administer the sick in religious ceremony. The process of making the work also refers to Utah and Mormon craft traditions. Mormons place a lot of value on homemaking. Baking the paper refers to that. The actual collage process used with the image of wildflowers refers to the typical Utah craft of pressed-flower arrangements. Sego lilies are the official state flower of Utah, so named because the Mormon pioneers survived hard winters by eating sego lily roots. The Star of David is symbolic to identify the House of David—or Judaism, but also is a symbol for Jesus, who was of the House of David. Such a blend of cultural, historical, and religious signifiers present at all levels of process, materials, and image in this piece encourage the viewer to question the relationships those things have with one another. One questions the boundaries between religion and culture, craft and art.

These same practices are common to all of her art. She uses wax to seal things |6|; she makes images of beehives, cans of sardines, and other food storage are common to her work |4|; many works are easily packaged up and portable, like the 72-hour kits or her Portable Baptismal Font |5|. Many refer to Utah and Mormon cultures on a universal level, and many of her works are more personal. She often uses imagery of an old clock that has been handed down as an heirloom from generation to generation. Sometimes the imagery has been taken from the tombstones of her dead ancestors. In one case, in the piece Angel Moroni With Eleven (page1), she explores her personal angst about coming to terms with her personal relationship with her culture and family. In short, all of Kennedy’s work draws on the rich cultural heritage she shares with many Utahns and Mormons. Such exploration, especially done like hers, in a way that isn’t propaganda for or against the LDS church, goes a long way toward exploring this unique culture and its place in art history.

Kennedy will have a solo exhibition of this work at the Central Utah Art Center September 9-October 13 of this year.

Annie Kennedy images 4 | 5 | 6 | 7|
Gallery Profile: Salt Lake City
A Bigger Presence: Michael Berry Gallery
by Laura Durham

Michael Berry Gallery hasn’t always been a gallery. In fact, two years ago, Berry’s framing business took place in a small 600 square foot room in the back of his, now 2500 square foot operation on 754 E. South Temple. When the floral shop that previously occupied the majority of the space moved out earlier this year, Berry decided to expand his business and turn the front into exhibit space. I asked him if he’s wanted to do this for a while, and surprisingly, he responded, “No. I don’t remember ever wanting to do this.”

Berry claims his friends will tell you a different story, but the truth of the matter is that his loyal clientele of artists have been talking about it longer than he has.

Berry began his framing career working downtown for a photographer for about four years. Not long after, he branched out on his own, running a frame shop out of his house for 15 years. “I imagined my clientele would be collectors, but then I met Pilar Pobil, Willamarie Huelskamp, Kindra Fehr and Rebecca Livermore and they became my major clientele.” The same artists have come to Berry ever since. Naturally, these artists were featured in the first show to kick off the new exhibition space in March 2005.

Berry is an artist himself, but doesn’t have the time for his art he used to have. “I had a short, wonderful art career that came to an end when I moved in here. I have a lot more volume now that people can find me.” His creative outlet now is making boxes out of frame scraps. Visitors can spot these boxes, happily placed about the gallery.

The gallery itself is a work in progress. Looking around, I asked what his plans for improvement were and he answered, “the floors, the ceilings and the walls.” But Berry isn’t too concerned about what the gallery looks like; he’s more interested in the artwork. “I don’t think it’s so important for things to be slick. If things are slick, I start worrying about what someone’s trying to sell me.” He just takes each month at a time, improving what he can as funds allow. As for now, the portable grids work for walls, and fortunately, track lighting was already there for him. “I think this used to be an art gallery a long time ago. I found an ancient framing tool when I moved in, but I don’t know where it is. My employees run the business and they don’t always take my sentimental feelings into account.”

Berry has two employees on staff: Valerie and Ryan. Ryan is in charge of all the “technological stuff” such as email and mailing lists. “He is a young man who goes to the University and knows all about email. He has a laptop and is very current, but he doesn’t understand my equipment.” Berry’s equipment sits idly in a back room, and might be as old as that ancient framing tool he was talking about.

The frame shop and gallery is currently the only business in the building. “I’m just dying for another business to go back there.” The Italian restaurant in the back moved out after a long residence, and the real estate agency upstairs recently moved out. I proposed the idea that he should just buy the whole building and turn it into a huge gallery. He just stared out the window and sighed, “Yeah, wouldn’t that be something.”

Michael Berry images 0 | 1 | 2 | 3|

Berry still loves his old 600 square foot “grotto” for the frame building |3|, but enjoys having a bigger presence than before. He is currently exhibiting his second show, “The Magic of Pilar,” featuring a small selection of paintings, sculptures, painted furniture, etc. by Salt Lake City artist Pilar Pobil. He has no formal application process for exhibiting in his space. He simply invites the artists he likes to have a show. “The openings have been the most fun, meeting all the new people and seeing them enjoy and talk about the art. I have a dream of meeting a lot of new artists.” He’s already scheduled the gallery for one year, but he plans on keeping July and August open for a wacky idea – an idea so wacky that I’m not allowed to talk about it until he’s worked out all the kinks.

Because Berry recognizes this article is his “15 Bytes of fame,” he has a bit of wisdom to share with artists while he has the chance: “If the intent of your art is beauty, it will usually lead to fashion. But if the intent of your art is truth, then it will truly be beautiful.”

Michael Berry Gallery and Framing is located at 754 E. South Temple in Salt Lake City.

Non-profit Spotlight: Holladay
Burnt Purple Grand Opening

Burnt Purple takes the starving out of artist. Burnt Purple is a 501(c)3 entity which provides an avenue for local visual artists to display thier work in a retail setting and educate them on art sales, marketing, advertising, promotion, accounting, organization and specific knowledge towards managing the business of art. Burnt Purple also provides fair market value pricing on original art, while educating the art collector on artistic process.

For their Grand Opening, Burnt Purple will be creating a unique exhibition, placing original local art alongside Early Modern Masters for one week (May 7 - 15)! The Holladay Chamber is sponsoring the grand opening event and ribbon cutting of Burnt Purple in the Cottonwood Mall - main floor across from Lenscrafters, Saturday night, May 7th at 7 pm. Limited edition, signed, framed works on paper, serigraphs and lithographs of Monet, Renoir, Dali, Picasso, Pissaro, Degas, Lautrec, Matisse, Chagall, Whistler, Rodin, DaVinci and many more!

You may contact Burnt Purple as an artist or to RSVP for the Old Masters Show May 6th and 7th by calling the gallery @ 277-2420 or director Cathi Locati's direct line @ 604-4564. Click here for the invitation to the event.

Information for the news nibbles section can be sent to:
The deadline for the next issue is May 26.

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


-- The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art will be CLOSED during the months of May, June, July and August to undergo a renovation or ther Climate Control Systems and rennovation of the Museum lobby. There will be no public access to the collections or exhibitions during this time. They will reopen with new exhibitions September 2005. Stop in now while there is still time.


-- Local Utah artist Laurel Hart has been awarded the Gold Medal of Honor from the American Watercolor Society. Along with a $3,000 award, Hart's piece "Maybe He's Just Late" has been on exhibition in New York.

--Winners of the Intermountain Society of Artists Spring Show at the Riverton Art Museum: Best of Show -- Pat Elliot

1st Place Advanced -- Vera Walker

1st Place Intermediate -- Loretta Derr

-- Utah Artist Shirley Mckay's piece "Passages IV" won the the David M. Gale Memorial Award, one of two top awards at the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies in Phoenix, Arizona.


Salt Lake County is soliciting applications from qualified artists and designers to participate in an open competition for works to be installed at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Request for applications will be available Thursday at the pre-application meeting at the Convention Center in Room 255 A&B at 5:30 p.m. Applications are also available online at For more information call 468-3517 or 468-2318 or visit

The Cedar City Art Committee announces a call for entries for its 62nd Annual National Art Competition and Exhibition. Open to all artists working in 2D. Entries are due May 19; exhibit will run July 19-Aug. 28. For complete prospectus and more information, visit or call Margaret Grochocki at 435-865-5113 or

The 2005 Utah Arts Festival is looking for 1,000 volunteers ages 16 and up to assist in various Festival activities such as setting up, concessions, interactive projects and assisting with children. For more information call 322-2428 or visit

If you have enjoyed this issue of 15 Bytes, please consider contributing to Artists of Utah so we can continue to bring you expansive coverage of Utah's visual arts.

Grounds for Coffee

Trent Thursby Alvey