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October 2005
Published Monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization.
Exhibition Review: Salt Lake City
The Utah Arts Council's Fellowship Exhibition
Karen Horne, Steve Larson, Madison Smith, & Paul Stout at the Rio
by Kent Rigby

The Rio Gallery at the Rio Grande Depot exists within a huge cavernous space. One might wonder how it could possibly be used as a successful gallery. However, the staff of the Utah Arts Council Visual Arts Program somehow manages to hang very successful fine art exhibits in the space. Glen Richards and Laura Durham have it down to a combination of science and aesthetics. “It’s a little overwhelming, but the challenge is fun. I like that we can move the walls around and make each show look different. It keeps things fresh. I’m warming up to the grandeur of the space after being used to the intimate and more controlled environment we had last year”, reveals Laura Durham, Visual Arts Program Assistant.

The current exhibit, Utah Arts Council 2004-2005 Fellowship Recipient Exhibit, is no exception. It is indeed a very handsome exhibit, and has a sense of intimacy, regardless of the high ceiling.

One enters the exhibit space through vestibules with normal ceiling heights.

Then, WHAM, the lid flies off the box, and you enter the grand hall with its expansive volume and ornate, turn-of-the-century decoration.

The exhibit is hung on moveable walls, which are actually four sided rectangles on casters. The walls are positioned over electrical outlets in the floor, which provide power for the lights mounted to the top of the walls. This provides for a neat solution to a natty problem. “It’s real tricky lifting the lids on the walls, reaching for the lamps, reaching to plug them in inside the top of the wall and adjusting them – all the while balancing on a not real stable ladder”, Laura Durham.

The four artists exhibited are the 2004 and 2005 Fellowship award recipients. Two artists are selected each year. “This is the first time we decided to make it a biannual show’, said Durham. “Instead of just featuring the 2005 winners, we featured the winners from 2004 as well, in order to better fill up the large exhibit space. Two artists would have been too few. The next Fellowship show will be in 2007”.

Selected to receive Fellowship awards in 2004 by juror Mario Naves, Art Critic for the New York Observer, were Karen Horne and Steven C. Larson. Madison N. Smith, and Paul L. Stout were selected to receive the 2005 awards by juror Angela Ellsworth, from Los Angeles.

The UAC Fellowship award is one of the most prestigious and coveted awards an artist living and working in Utah can achieve. The Visual Arts Fellowship Program Mission Statement reads, “The purpose of this program is to provide support for professional artists of exceptional talent and demonstrated ability in their process of aesthetic investigation and creation of original works of art.”

It is clear from the first glimpse of the exhibit that the artists selected fit the qualifications of the mission statement. They are all first rate.

continued on page 3

Exhibition Review: Ephraim
Not Your Mother's Mormon Art
Annie Kennedy at the Central Utah Art Center
by Geoff Wichert

In Doctrine and Covenants, a kind of L.D.S. handbook, Joseph Smith enjoins his followers on venerable theological grounds to practice moderation in all things. Those good people, responding out of impulses set even deeper in human nature, have striven ever since to do twice what he asked of them, in the process smudging the letter and fraying the spirit of Smith’s injunctions. So we sit, like children in the temple, and listen to the learned argue whether decaf Coke™ is kosher because it contains no caffeine (a drug unknown in Smith’s day and nowhere mentioned in D&C) or trayf because it’s served with ice — a sensible affectation in a Zion about the desert location of which Moroni neglected to forewarn the prophet — and perhaps wonder if the definition of “moderation” can be stretched to include drinking a liter or two a day of any manufactured beverage. If like me you’ve wondered what all this was for, I can now reassure you: we were being prepared to appreciate the sly humor, the scalpel-sharp perception, but most of all the embracing aesthetic comprehension of Annie Kennedy.

Not that Kennedy is a critic of her Church. Her theology, bless her, is a private matter, as it should be for all persons no matter how public their lives. But in her art she recognizes faith as one of several influences on how people conduct themselves, alongside culture and biology. She wastes no energy criticizing these received legs of the behavior tripod. What interests her, however, is the interaction of the three, and the works on display at CUAC all reside in the zone wherein the competing pressures of mortality and immortality turn morals into action.

Such claims may seem to overstate the case for these calm, soft-spoken works, with their appealing use of folk-art techniques and domestic materials. Yet nothing here looks remotely like craft. Indeed, but for the materials listed on the gallery labels, nothing here would look out of place in New York or Los Angeles. Given Kennedy’s background — a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from Parson’s — that’s hardly surprising. What is unexpected is her decision to bring her skills back to her native Utah. Yet when so many art schools are graduating so many impeccably voiced instruments with nothing original to say, Kennedy stands out for her decision not to fall back on memoir alone. To the many previously marginalized or silenced identities now speaking through art — women, Gays and Lesbians, ethnic minorities — she speaks in a voice that until now has been deliberately withheld or lost in a fear of offending the mass taste that accompanies dogmatic, lock-step thought.

continued on page 4
Literal Sculptures