15 bytes
    September 2008
Published monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization

Artist Profile: Kearns
Loving the Landscape: The Art & Life of Tom Howard
by Kimberly Rock | photos by Steve Coray

Vivid and contemplative, inviting and open, over 40 works of Kearns, Utah landscape artist Tom Howard will fill the Eccles Community Art Center Main Gallery September 5-27. This solo show will be Howard's first opportunity to display at Eccles. "Ogden is the closest I might get to my hometown of Tremonton as far as finding an exhibition place to show my work," he says. "I think about trying to find ways to exhibit my work to the people of the Bear River Valley, try to show them what the place has done for me, what the love of the landscape has done for me."

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Exhibition Review: Provo
Turning Point
Modernist Demise and the Humanist Uprise
by Ehren Clark

When we address the history of Modern Art, specifically its engagement with abstraction, it is helpful to discuss many points of view and examine different perspectives to encompass its wide body of meaning. Our understanding of Modernism is continually being opened to new interpretation, but a discussion of the period will always be important to understand the canon of art history. Brigham Young University's Museum of Art has proved itself over the recent years as a center for such dialogues. It caters to the University and community, providing rich educational material while establishing and embellishing the canon.

The museum's new exhibition, Turning Point: The Demise of Modernism and the Rebirth of Meaning in American Art, not only maintains the standard of the MOA, but curators Campbell Gray and Jeff Lambson have taken their exhibition to a new level. They have made lucid the baffling final years of Modernism, when a hundred year trajectory towards the abstraction of High Modernism gave way to a variety of new disciplines. Assembling a variety of works from such heavy-hitters as Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Morris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler, Sol Lewitt, Jules Olitski, Jenny Holzer, Robert Morris, and Kenneth Noland, Turning Point takes on a challenging period in art history, one which the Museum and this reviewer find fundamental to understanding the shift from Modernism to Contemporary art. Consequently, I asked Lambson, coordinating curator of the exhibition, to walk me through the exhibit. Although entry to the exhibition is free, one might entertain the idea of paying for a tour from Lambson, an experience that was as enlightening for this reviewer as it might prove lucrative for Lambson.
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Exhibition Review: Park City
Color From the Hive
New Encaustic Paintings at Julie Nester Gallery
by Geoff Wichert

Encaustic is among the most versatile mediums used by painters. Readers of the August issue of 15 Bytes will have seen Amy Adams use it to sculpt human heads covered with convincing flesh. Other artists, including some who will be discussed here, use wax to impart a quality of finish to works begun in other mediums. Some users treasure its ability to capture light and glow from within its depths, or the way it thrives in mixed media, or its ancient, worn surface appearance, or the contemporary vibe of its soft focus. Encaustic has been in use at least since Greek Egyptians used it to capture ironically lifelike portraits on coffins almost two thousand years ago, but it fell out of favor in time and only returned to popularity in the 1990s. Although the reasons for its revival include new technology and its Expressionistic quality, some of its greatest appeal has to do with the same qualities that may have led to its fall from grace long ago.

Jeff Cohen, who was added to the exhibit at Julie Nester Gallery at the last moment and was not included in the publicity for it, is one artist who uses wax as a substitute for varnish. He builds a painting up out of identically sized, separate blocks held together like so many decorative tiles. When they are painted, he uses a wide, flat brush to draw a coat of molten wax over each individual panel. By varying the direction and other qualities of the application and leaving the surface to cool with the brushstrokes still visibly present he adds to the awareness that each facet of the complete image is separate and discreet. In "Three Marbles on Steel" the final effect may allegorize the way we take in most information in discontinuous bites—chapters of a book, episodes of a story, repeated partial viewings of a scene that may change with time of day or weather, from the disparate parts of which we build our complete mental picture.

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Marbles on Steel by Jeff Cohen at Julie Nester Gallery