November 2005
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Frank McEntire . . . from page 1

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Opening night of Small Acts of Devotion featured interactive performances by sonosopher Alex Caldiero ("a sonosopher is to sound," says Caldiero, "as a philosopher is to thought"), bassist Harold Carr and violinist Flavia Cervino-Wood (a masked angel, complete with wings, dressed in white and a sheer black veil). |1| Carr and Cervino-Wood's music, though loosely structured around Caldiero's readings, have a beautiful and haunting quality of their own and richly complement Caldiero's guttural vocals. These included pieces as quirky and off-beat as: "Facial Hair," "Training Bra," “I Bite My Tongue,” “No One Will Get This Joke” and “That That That is That That’s That.” His expressive gestures and enunciations highlight his oddball narratives and unexpected word placements. In “I Bite My Tongue,” these shift from English to Spanish for much of the piece, then back to English again. Sometimes Caldiero’s crisp, rhythmic vocalizations morph into pure non-verbal sounds. If you think this all sounds funny, you’re right; and the music, along with Caldiero’s vigorous presentation, carries the humor into the ether, giving it a quirky, sublime quality. Ethereal, sublime humor? Hmm… Well, yes; and that is just what ties it so strongly to McEntire’s art.

McEntire’s piece “Temples Triumphant” |2| consists of an oilcan stupa on the left, an antique toaster in the shape of a Meso-American temple on the right, and a silver-plated “rubber ducky” bank in the middle. This central placement and the twenty-dollar bill stuck in the slot mark this as the truly triumphant “Corporate America” temple. (Would Ernie consider this blasphemous?)

"Great Basin Kingdom” is a glass-covered cast iron sink basin, the bottom lined with rock salt around a small ceramic Salt Lake Temple. A blue rubber drain leads to the front of the piece, where we find a small driver diligently maneuvering the kingdom through turbulent waters. A separate piece, “Melchizedek,” oversees the whole affair from above, the small plastic high priest enclosed between the jaws of a woodworking vice.|3|

"Transcendental TV Guru” features a resin Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (from the artist’s Hare Krishna days) presiding in meditation over a small, painted black and white TV which is on and displaying whatever trivia happens to be traversing the ether.|4|

Combining a vast range of objects and associations, the range of meanings in McEntire’s work is not only vast, but also open to the probings of individual viewers. Thus, they become endowed with the intricate and layered complexities of personal experience seeking the sacred in a beautiful, painful universe.

"Small Offerings (9)” includes a variety of found objects placed on small brass Salt Lake Temple plates on a stand. |5| Among the objects are a pigeon wing, a hunter’s broad point arrow head, an oil can, an angel figure, a ball, a bronze Salt Lake Temple figure, a broken bronze torso and an hourglass stand with two small Buddha figures (upside down to each other) in the place of the hour glass. Some of these are under small glass bell jars, and so evoke a feeling of preciousness and religious significance. Beyond this, it would be difficult to nail down any clear interpretation from such an assortment. The viewer is left to freely associate and ponder connections in his or her own psyche.

Some small and/or unusually placed pieces might easily avoid our notice:

"Cosmicnaut” is a small plastic astronaut attached to an equally small crucifix placed next to the front door but easy to miss because of so much visual information going on in larger pieces nearby.

For the same reason it is easy to miss McEntire’s painting series “Coronation of the Virgin.” These are printed black and white religious images that have been drip-painted with red, gold, yellow, black and white enamel. They require the viewer to look closely and search after the coherence of the images under the paint.

"Up High Moroni” is attached above a doorway, sticking out at right angles from the wall. Made of ceramic and silver leaf, he is minus the usual horn and appears to be blowing something from his hand rather than sounding a heavenly trump. (Dandelion seeds to float on the wind of Moroni’s breath?) He escaped my notice until he was pointed out during my fourth visit to the exhibit.

Be sure not to miss the assemblages in the back yard sculpture court, including:

"Buddha in the Beehive,” a cast bronze hive with a lens oculus on the top. Inside is a lit gilded bronze Buddha with cast bronze bee wings with circuit board designs. The artist encourages viewers to preorder sequels -- “Brigham in the Beehive” and “Betty Boop in the Beehive.”|6|

A personal favorite is “Seedling,” a hand-made European horse plow with steel spikes angling back from the blade. |7| Placed on the ground between the blade and the wheel is a small Salt Lake Temple. With earthbound, environmental overtones, the piece suggests that religious forms are intended as outward symbols of a growing inner reality. Our seedling inner temple requires hard cultivation to become a selfless spirituality that honors the needs of future generations. The aggressive steel plow towers over the tiny ceramic temple, and evokes the realities of a tough mortality, rather than the easy platitudes of a trendy sermon.

These are only brief descriptions of a few of the works to be seen. There are many more for viewers to explore on their own; to engage themselves in creative thought and “Small Acts of Devotion.”

McEntire’s recent assemblages and paintings are on exhibit through November 15 at David Ericson Fine Art, 418 South 200 West in Salt Lake City. The gallery is open Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.

Gallery Spotlight: Salt Lake
Impressions of a New Gallery Space: Palmers Gallery Fine Art
by Kent Rigby

There is a new kid on the block, boys and girls -- Palmers Gallery Fine Art, at the Salt Lake Design Center building, 378 West Broadway, Suite 3. Darren Palmer owns Palmers Gallery Fine Photography at Trolley Square, as well as this great new fine art gallery.

This is a very well conceived and designed gallery space, a collaborative effort between the owner, gallery director, architect, and interior designer. It was, in essence, a design/build project, with professional assistance from architect Brian Junge and interior designer Adrianne Valenga of Heart Healthy Design, and General Contractor, T REX.

"The design evolved throughout the construction process and changed constantly, right up to project completion," observes gallery director Shawn Stradley. "The major challenge to be overcome was the ceiling heights and being able to achieve the upper level gallery area."

The first time visitor to Palmers Gallery Fine Art is impressed initially with the contemporary feel the gallery space offers. Additional gallery areas reveal themselves as the visitor continues to progress throughout the 3,400 square foot space, providing a multi-layered feeling and effect. Little glimpses of the next gallery area serve to propel the eye forward and compel the viewer to venture further.|0|

The main level floor is stained concrete, which introduces an effective use of color carried pleasantly throughout the gallery. A monumental stairway takes you to the upper level gallery space, which is open to the main level, affording a bird’s eye view of the art below. This not only allows more display area for art, it provides an additional informal gathering space, and increased viewing distance for the art on the main level. Conversely, looking up from the main level provides increased viewing distance for the art works displayed above. |1|

The small and more intimate galleries towards the rear provide a great opportunity to showcase individual artists’ pieces as well as allow for similar and contrasting art pieces to be grouped together, engaging in silent dialogues.|2|

There is a distinctive feeling of welcome, ease and harmony within the gallery, and an attention to detail. Having worked with Brian Junge on several architectural projects in the past, I was not surprised to discover he served as the architect. He is a good designer and this project has obliviously benefited from his considerable skills.

“This gallery is by design meant to provide accessibility as well as approachability to both the public and the artist,” states director Stradley. The desired result has been well achieved.|3|

The gallery currently represents 24 local artists. Twelve exhibits will be presented annually as well as two or three specialty shows. Application for membership to the Salt Lake Gallery Association has been made and monthly Gallery Stroll participation will be the norm. Additional artists will be accepted to the stable, and artists are required to sign an Artist/Gallery Agreement, which is non-exclusive. The gallery has published Accepting-Framing-Hanging Artwork standards that are available to interested artists upon request.

Palmers Gallery Fine Art represents a wide variety of styles including traditional, classical, plein-air landscapes, and abstract art. All media is considered. The gallery offers specialty services such as custom framing, silk floral design and specialty furnishings.

For a rewarding gallery experience, be sure to visit Palmers Gallery Fine Art. The current exhibit is, DOLLS, paintings by Jared Gillett.|4| An up coming special event will be an exhibit of statewide grade K – 12, HIV Awareness poster contest winners. The posters from the 9 winners will be on display from November 25 through the first week of January. Opening reception for the poster show will be on December 1, World AIDS Day and Day Without Art.

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Palmers Gallery Fine Art is located at 378 West Broadway, Suite 3 Salt Lake City, Utah 84101. Monday thru Saturday 10 to 6 pm

Exhibition Preview: Park City
Gary Denmark at Julie Nester

Abstract artist Gary Denmark will have his first gallery exhibit in Utah beginning November 4th at the Julie Nester Gallery. Denmark’s exhibit, which continues through the month of November includes original works on canvas and paper.

In his artist statement for the show, Denmark writes, “Building pictures has always been an activity that I have pursued in my search to clarify my voice and to strive for a place of authenticity. Working in the field of abstraction allows me to re-define and explore those perceptual elements that challenge me; color, form, surface and space.”

Denmark’s paintings start with shapes and colors inspired by his physical surroundings. For years he spent much of his time working in a San Francisco studio and recently he has relocated his residence to Santa Fe, New Mexico. These locations and his residency in Costa Rica and Greece have inspired his works unique images. The peacefulness and color palette of the high desert can be found in “Shi Sha Hane I”. (see left) In this piece Denmark employs a color field of browns, rusts and blues, and his shapes are organic and natural.

Some of the tools and processes that Denmark uses on his paintings – stencils, squeegees and sponges – became familiar to him as a printmaker. Just as his extensive background in printmaking informed his approach to painting, the scale and improvisation of painting fed back into his prints. From his experiences in both media emerged his distinctive approach to building imagery in layers. According to Denmark, “I build a picture in a process of approach and response that established a foundation for entering the meditative act of painting. In a paintings better moment, I am simply a conduit as the painting decides its direction and end.”