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    February 2009
Published monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization
Sandy Brunvand

Artist Profile: Salt Lake
Take Two
Sandy Brunvand's Life Becomes Her Art
by Geoff Wichert

When we say an artist puts her life into her art, we usually mean that important events become significant subject matter. But for Sandy Brunvand, the process is both subtler and more pervasive. Hearing her unravel the origins of her paintings and prints, whether in exceptionally accessible written statements or in her spontaneous and acute conversation, two things quickly become apparent: from the beginning, a fundamental curiosity about the workings of the world that would do credit to a scientist or a philosopher has informed her work, and she never rests. Instead, each new discovery or understanding, whether found in nature or in her studio technique, spurs further research and new imagery. The result is like that mythical boat that over time saw every single plank and fastener wear out and be replaced, yet while totally changed was still thought by its crew to be the same vessel. The Sandy Brunvand (she pronounces the U like "brew" rather than "brush") whose art is on exhibit this month at Park City's Kimball Art Center differs in every salient detail from the person who entered art school over twenty years ago, but those two figures are sequential expressions of a driving energy instantly recognizable by anyone who has been fortunate enough to feel its touch.
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Notes for Bob & Bill
Cupid & the Richards Girls
Stories of Love and Art in Utah's History

If for no other reason than that health insurance isn't cheap, good sense would suggest that for love artists should look outside their own immediate circle -- say, to lawyers and doctors and such. But stodgy, clean-cut Good Sense is no match for the shock and awe campaigns of the naked, winged infant we call Love. Cupid's arrows tend to hit whatever is close at hand. And studio spaces are fairly tight quarters, so it's no wonder that Utah has a long history of artistic couples.
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Exhibition Review: Salt Lake
Inner Visions
Blindsight at the Salt Lake Art Center
by Ehren Clark

The artist's eye is revered as if it were a sacred object, a visionary orb that sees all, externally and internally. Rembrandt saw the soul of the sitter as well as the form. For many artists -- good artists -- this tool bridging the object and the subject goes beyond physicality. Meaning is the holy grail of art and great artists must use their imaginative prowess to greater effect, to look deeper, to see more sensitively. This, paradoxically, is more so the case if the artist lacks this necessary visual tool. Legally blind and visually-impaired artists deconstruct all parameters of art-making. Four such artists whom are featured in the current exhibition at the Salt Lake Art Center: Blindsight: A New Perspective on Painting. This is a highly probing exhibition, opening the door to penetrating questions on art-making, art viewing, aesthetics and the nature of art.

One is struck with a sense of respect for the four men represented in this exhibition. Like Goya or Beethoven, they are remarkable for their courage and for their venerable bodies of work. The examples of all four displayed seem to rely heavily on the mind's eye, revealing a psychological vision emanating from their canvases.

John Bramblitt has been legally blind since the age of 19, and he also suffers from a related hearing loss. He is "functionally blind," meaning he can differentiate only between sunlight and darkness. Now 37, Bramblitt has developed a methodology that frees him to go forward, to progress as an artist. Remarkably he renders canvases that not only are tonally balanced but also filled with boldly rendered colors. He does create canvases in black and white, but "Perceptions # 2 (Angry Baby)," uses a broad color palette. His subjects are composed of contoured sections of hue. Remarkably, to achieve his desired color effect, Bramblitt has learned to differentiate between the textures of varying oil pigments and applies them accordingly.

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Perceptions #2 (Angry Baby) by John Bramblitt, 2006.