Artist Profile: Springville
Jacqui Larsen: The Artifacts of People's Lives
by Sheryl Gillilan
Jacqui Larsen's art embodies the adage, "One man's junk is another [wo]man's treasure." Anything discarded is inherently fascinating to Larsen, and her small home studio is a repository of articles that other people have gotten rid of but that she keeps as inspiration and treasure. She refers to her ever-growing collection as "artifacts of people's lives."
Larsen has always been fascinated by what people throw away. As a kid growing up in Syracuse, New York, she was chased off more than once by police officers as she mined the dumpsters behind the local strip mall. Her adult adventures into "artifact collection" have involved a few dumpsters too, but now mostly take place in the more sedate settings of thrift and antique stores. On a five-month visit to Europe last year, Larsen was delighted to pick up foreign treasures, including a love letter in perfect Italian penmanship, some old London maps, and a tiny book from 1895 in which an Irish child had sketched pictures and written poems.
When employing these remnants of people's lives in her work, Larsen says she likes to reflect on the people who first created or owned the objects. Musing about the multiple-page Italian letter on almost tissue-thin paper, Larsen says, "I wonder what that woman was thinking when she so carefully wrote her lover's name?" Or, "Why didn't someone want that beautiful, intricately carved molding?" As noted in her profile on the Utah Artists Project
, "This dual role of the artifacts, being old but in the present, is representative of what Larsen says is 'at the heart of our experience contradiction.'" She seeks to meld these realms together with her work.
Exhibition Review: Salt Lake
Making Connections: The American Horizons Festival
by Shawn Rossiter
Most months when editing this ezine, I begin to see patterns and connections in our arts community. Sometimes I think the confluences are simply constructs of my imagination; but other times -- like with the number of video installations last month -- the evidence is too strong and I have to conclude that somebody out there is talking to someone else, or at least peeking at someone's calendar. This month, I know for a fact that people have been talking (because they told me). But the connections, the collaborations going on this month (and next) are not simply between a couple of galleries or museums. These connections go beyond Utah's visual art world to include libraries, museums, the performing arts and more.
Exhibition Reviews: Salt Lake City
The Clothes We Wear
Lindsay Frei's Alterations @ Art Access
by Ehren Clark
Despite their apparently simple compositions, Lindsay Frei's
new series of paintings, Alterations
, are anything but simple, and raise many pertinent questions -- most poignantly, issues involving the nature of human identity and individuality. The Helper artist's inspiration for these works stem from her discovery of an abandoned suitcase of old clothing. The garments in the suitcase sparked the artist's interest: what were they, where did they come from, who had worn them? These questions culminated in the garments' use as the subjects of Frei's exhibition Alterations
, currently on display at Art Access Gallery
through April 13. For this show, Frei painted some of the garments independent of a model, but most paintings illustrate the clothing as worn by the artist's friends. And some of the actual clothes are installed on dress forms throughout the gallery.
Compositionally, Frei's paintings are minimal and beautifully rendered; the garment itself, or a sitter wearing the garment, is portrayed against a monochrome background. In Frei's use of light upon the sitter and the garment, and in her measured painterly effects, she imbues each work with a stark realism that leaves no doubt that these paintings are of the here and now. The works with figures, each of which has a distinct emotion and character, may be considered portraits. But the charm of this exhibition is that the paintings without a figure have qualities -- considering the nature and context of the work and the manner in which Frei has portrayed them -- that also lend a portrait-like quality. This idea is bound in the exhibition's theme: the items were once worn by an unknown individual, at an unknown time, and Frei has given new life to these items and they, in this context, bear an identity of their own.