November 2005
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Exhibition Spotlight: Salt Lake City
SLAP at Patrick Moore Gallery
by Kim Burgess

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The Patrick Moore Gallery’s floor-to-ceiling windows look out at the blinking lights of Gateway Megaplex and a hip Mexican restaurant. Valets stand on the corner, waiting for the Jags and SUVs to pull up.

Despite these corporate surroundings, Patrick Moore Gallery avoids consumerism, supporting emerging artists and unconventional mediums. This month features the second annual Salt Lake Assembled Printmakers show. Stefanie Dykes and Sandy Brunvand of Saltgrass Printmakers organized SLAP, which allowed 16 artists to submit three prints of their choice.

To learn more, I call printmaker and BYU art professor Wayne Kimball. |2| Kimball’s artist bio reads, “Wayne Kimball is a right-handed Caucasian male artisan who makes lithographs in a subterranean chamber situated near the mouth of Battlecreek Canyon.” His voice is as deep and slow as an NPR poet.

Kim Burgess: How did you get into printmaking?

Wayne Kimball: I was aware that printmaking seemed to be where people who were serious about drawing got their work more exposed. In order to get the drawings shown, it’s easier to make a print. Printmaking is more of a drawn kind of thing than a painterly thing. I felt weak in drawing, and I wanted to strengthen it.

KB: What prints are you planning to have in the show?

WK: The one I know I’m putting in is called “Prologue to a Melodrama.” The idea is that it has several objects in it that may or may not normally relate, but have a potential for someone to construct a narrative.

KB: I found this quote on the Springville Art Museum Web site: “His idiosyncratic preferences for small scale and high finish seem to derive in part from a boyhood of viewing art in reproduced form in books and magazines rather than in actuality on gallery and museum walls.” Talk about that.

WK: When I was young, I wasn’t exposed to a lot of original art. My parents took Life Magazine, and I would see Picasso things and Matisse things, and they would intrigue me. Having contacted them with that scale and with that surface, I think that convinced me that art is small and precious.

KB: Do you feel there is a strong printmaking community in Utah?

WK: It’s a pretty obscure subculture. You must have a sense of delayed gratification. The making of prints goes through several stages. That print that’s in the show [SLAP2005] took a long time. It’s printed from fifteen different printing elements. After I had all the things drawn, I did trial proofs before it was actually finished. It requires a pretty strong commitment. But it’s interesting because there are always people who love paper and ink and love the surprise of when it finally comes together.

I say good-bye to Kimball and call vegan erotica queen/artist Camilla Taylor.|3| Her phone is crackly, but she sounds happy on the other end.

Kim Burgess: How did you start doing printmaking?

Camilla Taylor: I did printmaking all through high school. My high school art teacher had this crappy little letterpress that we used totally incorrectly. I used to make little prints on that. Then I went to college for printmaking.

KB: What are your artistic influences?

CT: A lot of my work, I think it deals with basic human experiences like misery, how we react to that. Many cultures have these mythologies of demons and fairies—personifying certain aspects of life—lost childhood and things that we are afraid of. We don’t have these demons anymore, so we don’t have these ways to anthropomorphize these problems. These doll images in my prints are kind of like contemporary demons.

KB:How would you describe your aesthetic?

CT: I think my work is kind of folk art in its aesthetic.I think with printmaking, that’s really common because the medium is rooted in craft. When I see a print, I look at the craftsmanship before I look at the image. I think there’s a folk art quality to that. Also, I strive to make my work very immediate. I want people to see it and have a visceral reaction to it. It was exciting when I found out my friend had nightmares from my dolls because few people get that kind of reaction.

KB: What do you think of the SLC art scene?

CT: The SLC art scene is cool. Wayne Kimball was one of my favorite artists in high school, and now I’m in a show with him. In many other cities, I would never get that experience. But then the problem is that it’s not really economically developed, so no one really buys art.

KB: You make vegan erotica stuff. Does that influence your prints?

CT: I think it’s made me more vicious in a way because I’m trying to help people have better sex and be really friendly and cozy about BDSM. Then with my work, I want to be less friendly and cozy with people.

In addition to Taylor and Kimball, the following artists are participating in SLAP 2005: Gary Barton, Ryan J. Bench, Paul Vincent Bernard, Fred Brayman |4|, Sandy Brunvand, Justin Diggle, Stefanie Dykes, Paul Heath, Lisa Hubbert, Veera Kasicharervnat, Martha Klein, Robert Kleinschmidt |5|, Karl Pace and Koichi Yamamoto |6|.

This article originally appeared in the October edition of Artspeakslc, a print publication which can be found across Salt Lake City. A PDF of the publication is available here.

Kayo Gallery will be holding a special fundraising event on November 17th for Artspeakslc.

artspeakslc presents: box paper scissors at the kayo gallery

This event is a silent auction of commissioned artwork by some of Salt Lake City’s most revered artists. Each artist has been given a cigar box upon (or within) which to base the foundation of their project. There are no rules or regulations, suggestions or prototypes. Upon completion, each cigar box will be sealed and auctioned off, only to be re-opened by the winning bidder.

All proceeds of this event will go to support ArtSpeakSLC in an effort to broaden the magazine’s circulation and keep the Salt Lake art scene informed and entertained.

There will be a pre-opening party Thursday, November 17 from 6-9pm with live music. The show will open during Gallery Stroll on Friday, November 18 from 6-9pm. Please join us!

Art Professional Profile: Salt Lake City
Ruth Lubbers: The Art of Vision
by Sue Martin

Ruth Lubbers and her family joke about the westward progression of their moves, (including New Jersey, Ohio, and Michigan) but for nearly 25 years now they have lived in Salt Lake City. To hear Ruth talk about the Salt Lake arts community and her role in building that community, you know that she has arrived in the right place.

As Executive Director of VSA arts of Utah and its Art Access Gallery, tucked into warehouse space on Pierpont Avenue, Ruth’s vision touches and enriches the Utah art scene in many ways. That vision is manifest in the many VSA programs that bring together professional artists, artists with disabilities, and an admiring public, making art accessible for the whole community.

A Risk Taker
Ruth, her husband Bruce, and children Mark and Sarah, were living in Michigan in 1980. Ruth was immersed in what she thought was a life-long career as the fine arts coordinator for 12 school districts in her county. But when Bruce, a school principal, suddenly came home and announced he had an opportunity to change careers and work in Utah, they surprised all their friends by jumping at the chance. Within three weeks their house was on the market and they were headed west.

Ruth agreed not to work for their first year in Utah in order to help her children settle into their new community. Her year off turned into ten, but it was time well spent, for it was during that period that she became acquainted with many people working in the arts community. New friendships turned into working relationships when Ruth, Lila Abersold, Marcia Price, and Ernest Muth founded the non-profit Retrospective Inc., which mounted shows for some of Utah’s major artists – Lee Deffebach, Avard Fairbanks, and Francis Zimbeaux.

When Ruth had the opportunity to join VSA arts of Utah and Art Access in 1993, it was a perfect match. The mission of the organization – to serve a diverse community --, including those with disabilities -- in an inclusive way, resonated with Ruth. Her son, Mark, had been born with brain damage, and Ruth was well acquainted with arts programs for disabled children. She had noticed, however, that there were few arts programs for young adults or older adults with disabilities. This was an important niche for Art Access to fill.

Accessible Art
Art Access programs offer something for everyone in the community – professional artists, people with disabilities, those with HIV/AIDS, teens and children, and art enthusiasts and collectors. (See the sidebar for a brief description of their many programs).

Not only does Art Access make the arts accessible for those with disabilities, but it also makes art collecting accessible for those with tight budgets. This is not to say that you won’t find extraordinary art work for thousands of dollars, but you can often find extraordinary pieces for $100.

Take the recent exhibit of work by Jacqui Biggs Larsen and Suzanne Simpson. Larson spent a year making 365 collages ­ one a day ­ as she traveled the world collecting bits of decorative paper, stamps, letters and other material. The result is a collection of 365 13-inch square originals which Art Access sold for just $100 each. Simpson's work - photographic elements on filmy silk hangings and other surfaces - ranged from $45 to $1,500.

Many collectors are already aware of the annual Art Access “300 Plates” exhibition and fundraiser, which was held in May 2005. Participating artists create a piece of art in any medium on recycled metal printers’ plates donated by the print making departments at BYU and the University of Utah. Priced from $50 and up, the plates have become so popular that guests must RSVP to attend the opening night.

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Personal Visions
If Ruth Lubbers could wave a magic wand and improve the Utah arts scene in some way, she would make sure Utah artists are appreciated and paid what they’re worth. “It’s a shame some artists have to go to Scottsdale [to sell their art],” says Ruth.

Her magic wand would also produce an arts audience that appreciates contemporary art. “It doesn’t have to be pretty to be meaningful,” says Ruth.

And she would wave her wand over the Utah Legislature to create more understanding of the impact the arts have in the state, particularly the opportunity to make art part of Utah’s “branding” for state tourism.

Ruth has been a long-time collector of art herself. She recalls that the first piece of Utah art she purchased was a Sharon Shephard pastel on handmade paper. She had to purchase it in installments, but before the last installment she “presented” it to her husband on a romantic anniversary trip to Maui. She told him about the beautiful piece of art she had selected for him, then told him he’d have to pay the final installment!

Ruth also collects Hispanic folk art, especially Peruvian “retablos.” |2| Six of the 40 retablos in her collection are by Art Access exhibitor Jeronimo Lozamo. The Lubbers’ expansive collection of art plays “musical chairs” on the walls and shelves of their home as new pieces join the collection. As you can tell from her life, her work, and her art, Ruth Lubbers is not afraid of change!

The current exhibit at Art Access features the work of Vojko Rizvanovic |3| and Sam Wilson.|4| Wilson, a professor of Art at the University of Utah mentored Rizvnovic in the Art Access Partners Mentoring Program. For more on the exhibit see page 7 of our October edition.

A Brief Look at Art Access Programs

Art Access programs are funded largely through the organization’s alliance with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith founded VSA arts, an international non-profit organization affiliated with the Kennedy Center, in 1974. With affiliate organizations all over the world – including VSA arts of Utah – VSA programs serve nearly five million people with disabilities each year. VSA arts programs are funded through the U. S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education program, a “discretionary” funding program that is danger of being eliminated in the current budget crunch. After reading about Art Access programs and the critical need they fill in Utah, please consider contacting your senators and congressman and urge them to support continued funding for Arts in Education.

· Partners – A visual artist mentoring program that pairs professional artists with talented adult artists with disabilities who want assistance to reach their artistic potential. The gallery features an exhibit of these partners once a year.

· Teen Workshop – A program taught by professional artists whose work is currently exhibited at Art Access, these workshops are open to students with or without disabilities for the amazingly low price of $10 for registration (even the registration fee can be waived if needed). A juried selection of student work is exhibited at the gallery.

· Art Positive! – Free workshops taught by professional artists for people living with HIV/AIDS, these Saturday afternoon events are open to individuals of all skill levels and a support person (caregiver, parent, sibling, spouse or partner).

· Integrated Arts Programs – In partnership with the Utah State Office of Education, VSA arts of Utah takes professional artists into schools all over Utah to teach art to children, ages three to 22, who receive special education services. As more schools are forced to give up their art specialists for lack of funding, this program helps fill a critical gap.

· Art Residencies – Year-round visual or performing arts programs for institutions or community social services serving groups of adults with disabilities, this program matches professional artists, who have the training and ability to work with a wide range of needs with groups requesting the service.

· Desert Wanderings – Art Access Literary Arts Programs serve both adults and teens with disabilities who want to polish their writing skills and share their stories. The literary workshops, conducted by professional writers, provide participants with an opportunity to submit their work for publication in two literary magazines – Desert Wanderings – one youth edition and one for adults.

· Everyone Welcome – A program in partnership with the Utah Museum of Fine Arts that promotes accessibility to museums and galleries for visitors with disabilities. Representatives from VSA arts of Utah and UMFA conduct classes for docents to help them provide a meaningful and positive experience for their disabled visitors.