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    March 2008
Published monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization
Chris Dunker

Artist Profile: Logan
Chris Dunker: Driven by the Image
by Laura Durham

When I asked photographer Chris Dunker to define "fine art photography" for me, he answered, "A photograph is fine art when it is made with the sole intention of a self-expression; not for money or client but because the artist is motivated and driven by the image."

As an artist as well as a commercial photographer, Dunker swings from the intention of self-expression to pleasing clients. But somehow, as any good artist should, he manages to fuse his artistic talents with his commercial interests where possible. And his commercial experience certainly does him a favor when it comes to marketing his artwork.

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Exhibition Review: Salt Lake
The Point of the Journey
The State Street Project at Art Access
by Ehren Clark

In most cases, traveling is a process of getting from point A to point B. The mind is elsewhere while the landscape is passed by unnoticed. Eight artists bore this in mind as they explored the Utah landscape while traveling US Highway 89 from the Idaho border in the north to the Arizona border in the south. The State Street Project: A Portrait of Utah, now on view at Art Access Gallery and later traveling across the state, showcases each artist's unique response to this historic stretch of highway. The artists have done what defines an artist and lends itself to great art. They used their individual perception and looked. They sought to notice and appreciate what others do not and the results on display are bold representations of the landscape of Highway 89, unique interpretations of the land for the land's sake and the road not purely as a means to an end.

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Exhibition Review: Salt Lake City
Gaylen Hansen: Three Decades
At the SL Art Center Through May 31
by Geoff Wichert

In each of two separate paintings there stands a solitary figure on horseback. One is a medieval knight, the other a cowboy. Each is centered on the canvas and their poses are alike. Behind them stretches an ashlar stone wall, its scraped impasto surface—inspired by similar walls the painter saw in Europe—is clearly as important as the figures standing before it. Eventually one may notice two subtle differences. The knight's horse recoils from a pull on the reins, while the cowboy's stretches out its neck as if sniffing what lies ahead. And the apparently continuous wall, which seems to run from one painting right into the next, actually ends in front of the cowboy, near the painting's margin. That's the trouble with legends: those who inhabit them never know how to behave.

Gaylen Hansens retrospective fills the Salt Lake Arts Center—all three upper galleries, the large space downstairs, and even the two small rooms in the back—leaving no room for doubt that this is a significant painter in possession of his art. It's not just that none of the works is small and most run close to six feet tall. What allows them to fill space is their sheer exuberance: their lust for the ineffable thing that connects the eye and the mind. It becomes clear within seconds of entering Hansen's world that this is a man who loves paint. He loves the look of it, anticipates the physical pleasure of moving it around, and revels in the full range of its application, from smearing it with the sweep of his arm across a canvas the size of an average wall, to going back with a tiny brush to enter detailed notations about the characters, animate and inanimate, that populate the tall tales his paintings tell.

Some viewers may make the mistake of thinking that, however much Hansen likes paint, he doesn't like to paint. Apparently spending little time on preparation, but painting as quickly as one might draw with a brush, he makes no effort to give his subjects, or even the grounds on which they stand, anything like the degree of solid form traditionalists admire and look for in the art they seek out. Such a misunderstanding is particularly likely if Hansen's work is seen only in postcard-sized reproductions that cannot hope to convey the full impact of the originals. At best, such a cursory look suggests an artist impatient to get on with his own cleverness; at worst, it appears he may be just another of today's untrained and unskilled artists. It's essential to see these unconventional and, until seen in person, unimaginable works for oneself.
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Work by Gaylen Hansen