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    April 2009
Published monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization
Chad Crane

Artist Profile: Salt Lake
Newer Frontier
Chad Crane's re-presentation of the West at Palmers Gallery
by A.C. Bacall

The inauthentic disrupts the authentic in Chad Crane's Taming the Myth, an exhibition of new paintings opening at Palmers Gallery as part of the Gallery Stroll on April 17th. With sardonic whimsy, Crane explores the heroic clichés of the nineteenth-century American West, which are mostly reduced to conflicts between "cowboys and Indians." His deft manipulation of multiple media—acrylic gel transfer, oil, colored pencil, graphite, and a fine layer of encaustic over all—allows viewers to accept that these somewhat ridiculous characters and incongruous symbols can be coherent in time and place, even as his caricature-like rendering of them unites us in seeing our reality as firmly distinct from theirs. They remind us that, as Crane puts it, "what's represented isn't actually what happened at all."
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Art Professional Profile: St. George
Nathan Wotkyns--Artist and Entrepreneur
by Lisa B. Huber

Nathan Wotkyns is gifted with a winning combination; he is an artist as well as an entrepreneur. The combination has resulted in a successful career as a photographer as well a wonderful addition to St. George's gallery scene on the city's historic Main Street. It all began with fly-fishing. After twelve summers of fly-fishing with his dad in Utah's remote regions, Wotkyns says he realized "these areas were very special to me…I picked up a camera and started making photographs of the wildlife and landscapes I encountered."

Wotkyns found there was a market for his photographs and at the encouragement of family and friends, opened his first gallery at age 25 during the 2005 St. George Art Festival. He says Twigs & Moore was the only other gallery at that time in the downtown area. He felt that Main Street was a prime location for a gallery and waited a year for the space to finally become available and called his gallery "Wide Angle Art." It would be a year before he could afford to remodel the space. The gallery is now very trendy, although at home with the historic building features.

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Exhibition Review: Ephraim
The Scale of Imagination
Utah Ties at the CUAC
by Geoff Wichert

Draw an X from corner to corner across Utah (something the Democratic Party did years ago) and right where the two diagonals meet, in the geographic center of the State, Sanpete County nestles in the valley that shares its name. Like Shangri-la, this long, narrow rift, stretching from the ruins of Thistle in the north to Salina in the south, is so isolated that, when they hear it mentioned, folks on the Wasatch Front usually ask where it is. Where it is to 30,000 citizens, almost every one of whom can recite his or her descent from the pioneers whose remains lie scattered across it, is home: Zion.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Sanpete County’s dominant artistic bent is towards traditional subjects and styles of representation. As a community, its aesthetic heart lies with the pioneer painter C.C.A. Christensen, celebrated more for the conviction of his faith than the skill of his image making. Christensen died in Sanpete County, and perhaps a dozen well known artists can be found at work today within a ten-mile radius of his log cabin studio. But traditionalists are not alone in feeling that their history gives them a right to be here. Abstract painting and sculpture, photography, video, computers, and pretty much the gamut of non-traditional media are found here as well. Competition between the garde and the avant, each backed by a coterie of unabashed partisans, became so acute a few years ago that for its annual juried exhibit the Central Utah Art Center in Ephraim was forced to look beyond the mountains for a mediator who wasn’t related by blood or marriage to either contending party.
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C.C.A. Christensen