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    July 2007
Published monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization

Artist Profile: Salt Lake
Between Wind and Water: The recollections of Eva Jorgensen
by Geoff Wichert

Eva Jorgensen is an artist in motion. This month she will complete her fellowship-fueled post-graduate program in printmaking and add an M.F.A. from the University of Utah to her B.F.A. from B.Y.U. Then later this summer she moves to Ohio, where her husband will study Slavic languages. Utah residents can hope she will soon return to the community her art memorializes and that in turn feeds her art. With two substantial forays in three months—a group show at the Rio Gallery (I am you @ the Rio) and her M.F.A. exhibit at the Gittens Gallery—Jorgensen offers a comprehensive view of her original approach to prints and portraits. It’s a good time to take a close look.

We make a mistake when we assume that the characters in novels and films are always based on the authors and actors who bring them forth, but Eva Jorgensen’s goal in constructing portraits of the people who make up her community is precisely to locate her identity in relation to them. In playing with various ways of printing their images she turns conventional photographs into complex and increasingly sophisticated group portraits.

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Feature: Essay
Evidence, Art, and Photography
A look at understanding the differences in meaning between chemical and digital photography
by Edward Bateman

Changes in technology can bring about changes in expression in the arts. The art historian and critic Ernst Gombrich felt that the two main forces in stylistic change were technological improvements and social rivalry. Think about how the advent of the electric guitar changed music. Would rock have existed without the electric guitar? Then remember how music changed again in the 80s with the popularization of the synthesizer. It is no secret that photography has been going through a massive change in technology during the past decade. But there is a difference. Digital technology has almost completely replaced the old chemical processes. Would this have happened if the final results weren't so similar? And yet, two things might be very similar and still not be the same.

Chemical and digital – two ways of making photographic images. They both begin quite similarly with lenses, apertures, and shutters. The end products are also quite similar: some kind of dye or pigment on a surface, usually paper. Even though the similarities might be great, that doesn't mean that we should not try to distinguish what these differences might be – and more importantly, what these differences might mean.
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Exhibition Review: Salt Lake
Life After Death: New Painting from Leipzig
by Ehren Clark

Beautifully articulated color combinations, carefully balanced compositions, credulous perspective, figural accuracy; all are to be found in the art of the Leipzig School, a group of artists trained at the Leipzig Art Academy whose works are now on display at the Salt Lake Art Center. The works in Life After Death, culled from the Rubell Family Collection and on exhibit through September 29, bear the stamp of the essence of this group, formed in 1990, one year after Leipzig was freed from behind the iron curtain. The works reveal the classical training that survived east of the wall, but are informed by an ironic assessment of the irrational in the contemporary world.

While a hallmark of the art of the Leipzig School is that it springs from an artistic tradition that stretches back for centuries, it may be seen as an overt reference to contemporary life in post-cold war Leipzig. After WWI, German Expressionists reacted to their situation with lavish abstractions, ostensibly conveying the chaos that had and was occurring. In a similar way, upon careful observation, the art of the Leipzig School may be seen as an ironic statement, fiercely ironic, on the situation in old Eastern Germany and East Germany today. Classically trained, all these artists share a common aesthetic that is anything but Classical in subject matter. By careful adherence to the "rules" of the Classical, these artists show the viewer how this tradition can be corrupted, as it has been in a society still dependant on it -- from Greece, to the Declaration of Independence, till now. They reveal to us a myth, one in which we live, one which is not absolute.

The Greeks used the rational philosophy of life to create order in the universe, at least in regards to their concept of truth. Anything contrary to this, the conceptions of the mind contradicting nature, was considered irrational. Subsequent philosophers have made a study of Reason, notably Emanuel Kant, whose Critique of Pure Reason elucidates how the rational mind may be used for reason as opposed to venturing into the irrational. This tradition of the rational was the basis for the classical art training in the Western tradition, the tradition of which the Leipzig School finds themselves the uneasy heirs. Tilo Baumgärtel's very potent, provocative work "Die Pause," 2004 illustrates the School's position. In Baumgärtel's painting, the architecture and form is correct, rational, but all the figuration works against reason; everything is right and everything is wrong. This may be a thesis for the Leipzig school.
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