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July 2006 : : www.artistsofutah.org
Published Monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization.
Pam Bowman Big Ball of String
Artist Profile: Provo
Life Into Art: The Installation Art of Pam Bowman
by Brian Christensen

I have known Pam Bowman for a number of years now, and during that time I have seen an exciting transformation in her work. When I first met Pam, she was already very accomplished in the fine crafts as a weaver. As a sculpture teacher at Brigham Young University, I was interested to find such an accomplished artist who seemed to be looking for additional meaning in her craft. Pam's baskets and other weavings clearly existed as expressions beyond utilitarian function, yet she always pushed their boundaries to new levels. I could see that Pam was transferring a great deal of her own aesthetic and work ethic and value system into the objects which she produced, yet she seemed dissatisfied with their ability to convey a broader meaning to the viewer.

Pam's desire for this broader dialogue with her audience was achieved when her art became less about composition and design and more about the act of making, more about the act of living and more about the act of transferring life experience. She found this ability though the medium of installation art. Her installations draw on personal experience, personal images and personal artifacts. These factors lend an authenticity to her work that gives the viewer a rare candid window into the emotions and concerns of a modern Mormon woman.

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Exhibition Review: The Wasatch Front
Living in a Material Word: A Tapestry of Fiber Art
by Kindra Fehr

One fascinating aspect of Contemporary art has been its interest in expanding the canon of materials used in its creation. Moving beyond traditional painting, drawing and sculpture, we are beginning to see a wide, essentially endless, array of sources. This opening of the material canon has also opened the doors for many textile-based "crafts" to enter the doors of the museum and art center on equal footing with painting and sculpture. It is serendipitous that four major Utah art centers, in Salt Lake, Park City, and Provo, are currently exploring this use of textiles in the creation of art. Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art’s new exhibit, Tapestries, is a precursor to our Contemporary trends. Tapestries initially had a utilitarian purpose – covering cold castle walls -- but also became an avenue for the reproduction of fine art, including Renaissance masters such as Raphael, and, as the BYU exhibit demonstrates, modern masters like Picasso. Quiltmaking, originally designed to cover cold beds, is another originally utilitarian craft that has recently taken on greater acceptance as a method for art making. An exhibit at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and two of the three current exhibits at Park City’s Kimball Art Center explore the use of quilting as an artform. The recognition of textile-based artforms like tapestries and quilts has led to artistic explorations of the possibility of textiles, not just in traditional forms but also as basic building blocks for art. The third exhibit at the Kimball Art Center and The Salt Lake Art Center’s current exhibit Material Culture examine a variety of contemporary artists use of textiles to create their art.
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Exhibition Review: Salt Lake City
The Glass Art Guild at Patrick Moore
by Geoff Wichert

Glass is unique among the mediums of art for being identified not with a technique or a format but with a material. A glass artist may think of herself as a painter if she focuses on the decoration of two-dimensional surfaces, or a sculptor if she arranges three-dimensional forms in space, but those who paint on canvas or carve marble will not regard her as akin to either of them; they will say she is a glass artist no matter whether she blows vessels, assembles windows, or enamels, carves, or melts and fuses her works.

This special category for glass is a holdover from its days as a craft. So, too, are many of the categories of objects and some of the applications that can be seen among the works currently on display at Patrick Moore Gallery. Also characteristic of glass are periodic group shows, sponsored here by the Glass Art Guild of Utah, that celebrate not only the diversity and novelty of glass as an art, but the sense of solidarity among the artists and artisans who make up the glass community. The atmosphere at the June 16th opening was heady with an almost religious enthusiasm that more mainstream audiences would not permit themselves to display. I spoke to one couple that, having moved to Salt Lake from Houston in search of a better climate, sought out the Glass Art Guild the same way one might hook up with a club of fellow sports or gardening enthusiasts. I can’t imagine building a lifestyle around a shared appreciation for the Spiral Jetty or the architectural team that designed Salt Lake’s new main library—though I consider both masterworks of art—yet that is exactly what many glass art enthusiasts do.

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