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October 2005
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Jeffrey Hein photographs by Manju Varghese | text by Joyce Cheun

Walk in this classic brick building located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, and you will find an elegant steel staircase in the center that broadly opens upward. Climb to the top floor, and you will find Jeff Hein’s Arrow Press Studios. Compared to the traditional nature of the building, the studio possesses a thoroughly modern atmosphere. Without fancy decoration, three pieces of glass wall separate the studio from the building. The setup is simplistic but creates different rooms with various functions: a woodworking space, an office, a gallery space along the hallway, and an expansive painting room. High ceilings and tall windows that flood the room with light provide a perfect painting area.†

The studio’s north window attracted Hein in the first place, since it allows extensive indirect light. Hein also redesigned the studio into one wide-open space with three separate lights and switches at different corners. Hence, he can set up a model with the light that he wants in one area, and then position his easel in another corner and paint without rearranging. In addition, the

high ceiling provides an ideal space for him to work on his large-scale figurative and representative paintings.† Hein is interested in religious themes and contemporary oil paintings. He thinks it is important to emphasis the expression of the characters and not just concentrates on the details of the costumes. In addition to pursuing his own artwork, Hein also teaches drawing and painting the human figure in his studio. The layout of his studio provides sufficient area for each student to do their portraiture, and also have the opportunity to learn by seeing the progress of Hein’s present work. For more information, visit

On the Spot

Salt Lake City Artist Frank McEntire:

Dana Costello

I’m enjoying a stack of new poems given to me by Utah’s Poet Laureate, Ken Brewer. Some of the by-the-bed books I’m chewing on, listed here as lifted from the stack, include:
-Craig Childs’ The Secret Knowledge of Water (just a few pages left)
-P.D. Ouspensky’s In Search of the Miraculous: The Teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff
-Donald Cosentino’s Vodou Things
-Michael Kimmelman’s The Accidental Masterpiece
-Josef Helfenstein’s and Roman Kurzmeyer’s Deep Blues: Bill Traylor 1854-1949
-Peter Weiermair’s The Bird of Self-Knowledge: Folk Art and Current Artists’ Positions.


On the right side of the mantel ledge is “Cardinal Sin,” an assemblage by Marcee Blackerby. On the opposite side is an artist’s proof of my bronze “Auspicious Buddha” that I just gilded. Centered above the mantel is Marilyn Miller’s oil “View Crest.” Two small acrylic paintings by Hyunmee Lee are to its left and a restored Russian Icon on the right. On the hearth below is a small bronze by Ray Jonas.


No hesitation -- Alex Bigney.

Frank McEntire will be exhibting at David Ericson Fine Art October 21 - November 15.

About 15 Bytes:

15 Bytes is an online ezine devoted to the visual arts in Utah. It is published every month by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization.

Editor: Shawn Rossiter
Assistant Editor: Laura Durham

Interested in writing or photographing for 15 bytes? Contact the editor.

15 Bytes is published the first Wednesday of every month.

The opinions in this magazine are those of the respective contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of 15 Bytes or Artists of Utah. All artwork and written material is copyright of the respective owners. All rights reserved.

In Plain Air: The Great Basin
Karl Momen's Tree of Utah

If you've ever driven west from Salt Lake to Wendover you've seen it: Karl Momen's "Tree of Utah." Momen's sculpture, along with Robert Smithson's "Spiral Jetty" and Nancy Holt's "Sun Tunnels" make Utah a destination place for international aficionados of land art. But while the "Spiral Jetty" and "Sun Tunnels" remain places of pilgrimage, seen mostly by those who journey to see them, Momen's sculpture is a huge vertical focal point in a vast horizontal landscape along a major American highway.

This means that Momen's piece is probably the most frequently viewed and commented work from the land art movement. We have included here a very small array of comments about the work found on the web. We invite you to google your own way through the countless responses to this Utah landmark.

From "Swedish artist and sculptor Karl Momen, while driving through Utah on Highway 80 en route to California, had a 'vision' of a Tree in the midst of that barren desert. Financing the project himself, he put his 'vision' to form and during 1982-1986 created an 87' high sculpture in that desert and called it The Tree of Utah. He then donated his 'Tree of Utah' to the State of Utah."

From, the official state tourism site. "An abstract artistic sculpture called Metaphor: The Tree of Utah stands of the edge of I-80 on the barren Salt Flats west of Salt Lake City.Swedish artist Karl Momen created the 87-foot high tree between 1982-1986. He financed the project himself to bring bold color and beauty to the stark, flat, salty landscape. The sculpture is made of 225 tons of cement, almost 2,000 ceramic tiles and five tons of welding rod, and tons of minerals and rocks native to Utah."

Roadsideamerica calls it "environmental comedy. . . 'Metaphor: The Tree of Utah' can't be serious. Metaphor is an 87-foot tall sculpture poking up out of the white plains of the Bonneville Salt Flats."

Utah Pictures, which provided our images, writes "I didn't plan on stopping at the Tree of Utah, but someone needed to use the bathroom, and this is the only cover for miles. . . The Tree of Utah, in France, this is genus. It's a metaphor: Tennis ball trees grow in barren areas, but sometimes the shells peal off. Huh?"

Citysearch writes: "While not a convenient attraction for city dwellers, the tree is a welcome site for drivers snoozing along the barren stretch between Salt Lake and Wendover. Karl Momen created this abstract wonder in 1981, believing the stark white salt flats to be the perfect canvas for his "life-affirming symbol." At 87 feet tall, the Tree of Utah sticks out like a sore, cement thumb in Utah's west desert."

"As you drive across the Salt Flats, you'll encounter nothing but 80 miles of nothing. The landscape is pretty stark. To the pioneers, this must have been what they thought hell looked like. About 25 miles east of Wendover, sculptor Karl Momen in 1986 erected Metaphor, the tree of Utah. It is about the only thing that breaks the horizon for miles around." from

This from "The Tree of Utah has been called everything from a 'Vision in the Desert' to 'Momen's Monumental Meatballs.' The Wall Street Journal even carried a headline that read 'Sure, the Redwoods Grow Taller, But They Don't Have Cocunuts.'

From a blog: "In the middle of the salt flats, which stretch out on either side of Highway 80 for miles and miles, is a sculpture. It's apparently entitled "Metaphor: The Tree of Life" but it's been affectionately nicknamed "Metaphor: The Tree of Utah". It's art that would look normal if it were 1/4 the size it actually is, and situated somewhere on a college campus, but it's 87 feet high and in the middle of nowhere, and surrounded by NOTHING for at least 50 miles on either side, which makes it nearly unbearably creepy."

images courtesy 0 | 1
Artists of Utah News
'05 Fall Fundraiser

We are in the middle of our Fall Fundraiser and we need your help!

Every six months we come to you, the readers of 15 Bytes and members of Utah's visual arts community and ask for your financial support. Artists of Utah, which publishes 15 Bytes, is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. We rely solely on support from members of the visual arts community for our support. This ensures our independance and gives you the opportunity to shape the voice of 15 Bytes.

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You have helped us reach all of our goals this year. This spring you helped us reach our financial goals to become a monthly publication. During the summer you helped us reach our subscription goal and increased readership of 15 Bytes by over three hundred people. Now we are asking you to help us reach our Fall fundraising goal, so that none of us will miss a month of what 15 Bytes brings to the community.

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We have always been surprised by the number of people who contribute to 15 Bytes who are neither artists nor art professionals and so have no use for the underwriting program. They are simply people who love the visual arts and love having access to it through 15 Bytes. So, for this fundraiser we have come up with some thank you gifts for contributors who don't want to take advantage of our underwriting program. These gifts include recent publications on Utah artists Ella Peacock and Ed Maryon, as well as Springville Spring Salon exhibition catalogues and 15 Bytes "Do You Get It?" T-shrts.

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