Artist Profile: St. George
Roland Lee: A Love for Art and Teaching
by Lisa B. Huber
St. George artist Roland Lee is internationally known for his wonderful, transparent watercolors of Southwestern Utah's "red rock" country and rural scenes from across the United States and Europe, the result of over thirty years of dedication to his craft. In addition to his prowess as a creative artist, Lee's love of teaching his trade is inherent in every workshop, exhibit, and conversation. Both aspects of this artist's career and personality are on display at the St. George Art Museum through June in an exhibit entitled Roland Lee: Canyon Country Paintings. After seeing the exhibit you might be surprised to learn that Lee, a graduate from Brigham Young University in 1971 with a degree in Art, did not begin his career teaching his art techniques. In fact, as he was growing up he never even dreamed of a career as an artist.
Roland Lee was born in southern California, where he spent many hours as a child drawing and admiring the magazine and book illustrators of the sixties. His childhood interests spurred him to pursue a degree in illustration and graphic design at Brigham Young University. After graduation, he returned with his wife, Nellie, to southern California to pursue a career in design and illustration. With the birth of their first child in 1973, however, the couple decided to relocate to St. George -- to get away from "the hectic chaos" of the big cities of Southern California and in order to raise their family, which eventually numbered five children. In St. George, Lee evolved from the highly successful commercial Designer/Illustrator and Design Director of Lawry's Foods he was in California to become a St. George art studio owner and art teacher at Dixie State College. He taught at the college for four years, and publication design work at the College led him to the founding of "St. George Magazine" which he co-owned for many years.
Project Feature: Salt Lake City
337 Project: A Contemporary Merzbau
by Kent Rigby
The 337 Project, a startingly imaginative project involving more than 100 artists and one derelict building in downtwon Salt Lake, is the must see in the Utah art world this month. Open for only six days, May 18 - 20 & 25 - 27, the 337 Project is a contemporary and collective Merzbau that has brought together artists old and young, trained and raw.
Artist, Kurt Schwitters, 1887 1948, created three Merzbau projects during his lifetime. Actually, the 3rd and final project was called “Merzbarn”, one wall of which has been preserved and is housed in the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle, Great Britain. The other Merzbau projects have been lost, except for photographic documentation.
Artist Profile: Salt Lake
Under the Radar: Six Promising Artists
by Cara Despain
Layered in the strata of Salt Lake artists, below the hot local art stars and somewhere in between the old favorites, students, and nationally showing Utah artists are those who work just under the radar-- up and coming people producing work that is deserving of attention, and who are just breaking into the Salt Lake art scene. In this particular case, they are six prolific women with very different approaches to technique, execution, femininity, and art production in general. But they share a common thread in their commitment to their work and its role both in their lives and in the peculiar art market that Salt Lake can be. They employ grit, print, paint, carnival, frescoes, and sterling silver nipples to bring viewers something fresh, exciting, and yet to be discussed. They are (respectively) Brenda Wattleworth, Claire Taylor, Wynter Jones, (this month) and Gentry Blackburn, Tessa Lindsey, and Laura Besterfeldt (in the June edition).
Perched in her narrow, second floor studio in the infamous Guthrie Bicycle building, Brenda Wattleworth is busy re-imagining history. Amid her collection of odd and hilarious reference books, she creates her paintingsat present, multi-figure narratives on 2’x 2’ panels. The work, however, is not what you’d expect from a vague and perhaps tired description such as ‘figurative’. It is much more exciting and simplified. It is the result of years worth of metabolizing, aborting, re-directing and re-examining her experiences and artistic ideas to arrive at an intriguing and prolific point in her career as an artist. It is not only the presence of figures in the pieces that creates the narratives, but as Brenda describes, the “self-referential surfaces.” They are rubbed with grime, coated with wax and paint, and abraded with steel wool. Using a high, washed out palette, and a worn, milky atmosphere, the surfaces appear and disappear, emerge and dissolve around the figures, luring the viewing into a sort of whimsical and nightmarish space. A completed painting is what her process yields: a reduced, condensed, basic, but very potent version of the initial components. Her characters are often animalistic, partially due to being part of a generation she feels is drawn to animism and the totemic.