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The Beat Generation visual artists took inspiration from the new surge of media and culture surrounding them. They valued immediacy and authenticity, uniting art and life by including materials and objects from their own lives into their collages and sculptures (“assemblages”). Collage expressed their urban experience of the simultaneity and melding of cultures. My uncle clearly was a virtuoso of this medium.
What began with my initial meeting of cousin Lee in 2000 resulted in two trips to San Francisco to see the work and photograph the collection. My effort, combined with the efforts of the Salt Lake Art Center and Lee and Anandi Worden, has now culminated in an exhibit which opened April 15 at the Salt Lake Art Center, entitled “Adam Worden: Collages.”
Here is what Jim Edwards, Curator of Exhibitions, Salt Lake Art Center, has to say in the exhibit brochure:
When Adam Worden died in San Francisco in 1999 at the age of 63, his entire life’s work as a collagist could fit in a half a dozen suitcases. Remarkably, in his quarter of a century obsession of creating mostly diminutive scaled collages, he never bothered to date, title, or sign them. It was as if he wanted his entire creative life’s enterprise to be seen as one continuous work, each collage a portrayal of a dream-like moment, ramified into a collective journey of mystical connections and widely diverse associations. Equally remarkable, considering the large number of collage works that he created, is the fact they were never exhibited publicly. This exhibition at the Salt Lake Art Center . . . represents the first ever public exhibition of Worden’s art.
Worden’s threadbare collages are the result of scavenging for inexpensive materials. They are exquisitely composed compositions and derived from a wide variety of material and sources. He was able to combine a funky Beat aesthetics with the utopian visions of the Hippie culture. One of the most distinctive features of his collages are their diminutive size, the smallest of which are affixed to business cards and measuring a mere 3 1/2 x 2 inches. . . . . His largest collage works are still modestly scaled, averaging 24 x 15 inches and fashioned from day-glo papers salvaged from billboards and fireworks stands. Worden tended to work in sets or series of related subjects or compositions. These included framed collages that feature apocalyptic visions, such as goddesses and bodhissattvas confronting characters from popular culture sources. In his unframed “ Diamonds” and “ Ovals ”, flowery wallpaper samples are mixed with magazine illustrations, snapped into a sense of balance through their beautiful articulations of color, image, and shape. . . .
Worden developed a very personal form of expression in his collage work. His place is idiosyncratically situated somewhere between Eduardo Paolozzi’s late 1940’s scrapbook of collages adapted from American magazine advertisements, and Joseph Cornell’s metaphysical box constructions. Worden’s life work in collage was the purist of pursuits, unadulterated by any demands imposed by an inattentive “professional” art world.
John (Adam) Worden was born in Lewistown, Montana, in 1936. He was raised in Lewiston, Idaho, the youngest of four children of the town’s mayor. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Whitman College, a private school in Walla Walla, Washington in 1959. After college, Worden moved to New York City to pursue theater, becoming involved in experimental theater and happenings, and immersing himself in the Beat culture. In 1964, he moved to San Francisco, where he began doing collages and assemblages, and met his partner, Bhavani, an herbalist and nutritionist. In 1969, they had Lee. Five years later the family moved north of the city to the Sonoma County, and that same year had a daughter, Anandi. In 1976, Worden began referring to himself as Adam. Bhavani died in 1986, and when his children left home in the early ‘90s, Adam returned to the city to be closer to the art world with its opportunities and exhibitions. He died in 1999, at the age of 63.
I still find all of this hard to believe it seems surreal to me. Among relatives beyond his immediate family, only my aunt Judy knew what her brother Adam was up to, and it never occurred to her to connect the two artists in the extended family with each other. While I am deeply saddened that I never met my uncle, I am moved by his commitment to his work in isolation with no recognition from the art world. I am grateful for the privilege of seeing this work and playing a role in bringing it to the Salt Lake community. Many thanks to the Salt Lake Art Center for its commitment in curating and hosting this exhibit, and to Andy Hoffmann for all his work in helping create the book “ORBIT.” On a personal note, I am grateful for getting to know my cousins Lee and Anandi, and for their willingness to share their father’s work with me and with the world.
In conjunction with this show, Elik Press, Salt Lake City, is publishing a book with responses by poets across the country to Worden’s collages. "ORBIT: Collages by Adam Worden with Poems in Response," will include 23 collages in full color. The book is $10 and can be purchased t the Salt Lake Art Center bookstore, or by calling Andy Hoffmann at 533-0197 or by email: email@example.com.
The exhibit runs from April 15 June 9 at the Salt Lake Art Center, in the Street Level Gallery.
Its hours are:
Tuesday Thursday & Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Friday, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sunday, 1 - 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays and Holidays
Jean (Worden) Arnold is a full-time professional artist who resides in Salt Lake City.
by Shawn Rossiter
Alternative Venue: Ogden
Grounds for Art
Both of Ogden’s Grounds for Coffee shops display local art. Though run by the same couple, Dan and Suzy Dailey, each venue has developed its own personality as far as an alternative venue for art goes.
Because their 3005 Harrison Boulevard shop is located near Weber State University it has adopted a philosophy of “anything goes” which results in artwork that has a more experimental feel. “I don’t have any guidelines except that the artist must have a minimum of 9 pieces framed and suitable for hanging,” Suzy Dailey says. “I figure anyone who has gone to this expense is serious enough about what they do to warrant a show.” The shows are always a surprise, and Dailey enjoys the ones that get people talking.
The shop at 111 Historic 25th Street participates in Ogden’s First Friday Night Gallery Stroll, so Dailey feels compelled to be more serious about the level of work. As a result, the selection process involves a little more effort. Dailey might look at the work first, ask about previous exhibitions, or ask friends and other artists about the artist’s work.
Dailey recognizes that her selection process is not necessarily the best, “but for now [it] seems to be working. I am after all a coffee shop first, gallery second. It helps too, that I do not take any kind of cut or commission on anything that is sold during the show. The reward for me is to have new art every month.”
Over the years, the two spaces have hosted a wealth of Ogden and Salt Lake Artists, including Steve Stones, Brandon Cook, Roberta Glidden, Glenda Smith, Cathy Cartwrght, Lisa Nichols, and the list goes on and on.
Currently showing are the still life oils of Marla Duggins at the 25th Street location, and Cubist oil painter Bryan Childs at the Harrison shop.
Stop in at the two Grounds for Coffee Shops in Ogden and see which venue fits your artistic palette. Finding a match for your beverage palette will be no problem, as both Grounds for Coffee feature over sixty drink options.
Grounds for Coffee is located at 111 Historic 25th Street and 3005 Harrison Boulevard in Ogden.
Exhibition Spotlight: Salt Lake City
From a Printmaker's Perspective
by Stefanie Dykes
I love being a printmaker and being surrounded by other printmakers for two reasons. First, printers are fine art craftsmen who for several hundred years have taken advantage of (glommed onto) every new technical dohinky from Guttenberg’s press to cameras and computers. With each modern invention, printers have advanced both technically and contextually the complexity of their images. Of course being easily distracted by each new shiny tool kept us grounded in a craft profession which often brought labels from others that printmaking was a “lesser” art form. But ever since Albrecht Durer, printmakers have continued to challenge that perspective with more than enough technical skill and talent.
Secondly, printmakers make multiples. And the best thing about multiples is that you can share them with more than one other person at a time. (We are not talking about so called “Limited Editions” where the original art is commercially reproduced to create 10,000 images. -- Hands on! A printmaker is intimately involved in each and every pass of the print through the press. It’s my hands that cut and etch each matrix, mix and roll the inks, and tear each sheet of paper.) With multiples, printmakers can swap prints on a regular basis. We call this swap a print portfolio or print exchange. A central theme is proposed and each printmaker responds to the issue presented. Now, we’ve got a dialogue. Several views and subtle layers to each issue reveal themselves in this visual exchange of images.
I invite you to Saltgrass Printmakers for an exhibit of prints by Justin Diggle and Steve Lockett, “Two Printmakers, Two Perspectives” along with our first ever open print exchange, “When Cultures Collide” on display now through June 10th. Diggle, a printmaking professor at the University of Utah, introduces a sense of the surreal and theatrical by combining absurd objects in unique screen prints. Lockett, a graduate student at the University of Utah and a printmaking instructor, works primarily in monotypes and lithographs. Melded in classical architecture and mythical forms, Lockett’s figures portray passions, desires and pain in a struggle to take flight.
Drop by Saltgrass Printmakers and surround yourself in the fine art prints and visual dialogues that printmakers are uniquely capable of presenting.