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    March 2009
Published monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization
Work by Blue Critchfield

Artist Profile: Salt Lake
Blue Notes
Rest assured that Blue Critchfield is not splegiarizing . . . whatever that means
by Tiffini Porter Widlanksy | photos by James Stoddard

From the artist's sketchbook:

"You glanced at an overweight man examining himself in a mirror to see how expensive jewelry looked on him. You thought: paint someone doing something trivial next to someone going through hell . . . do it."

"Being a responsible consumer is an important spiritual act."

"He's putting the TV out of its misery. He's sad to see it go because of his addiction. His central nervous system is exploding into solutions."

"Do I have to instill a sense of fear in my audience to get them to pay attention?"

When Blue Critchfield offered to lend out his sketchbook for perusal, he may as well have said, "Hey, here's a key that opens a door into my brain." Letting it go was risky, but appropriate for an artist who is pointedly focused on authentic communication. His personal definition of success revolves around "creating paintings honestly and thoughtfully," which, in his terms, is accomplished through relentless honing of both skill and intent. "When I look at a piece of art," Blue explains, "I think, ok, so what is this really doing? Does this offer anything? Does this say anything? Is it part of some transcendental cause? What is it contributing to society? I think I'm trying to figure out my own worth as an artist. So, while it's not always fair to place every artist in that context of having a social purpose, that's what I consider."
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Exhibition Spotlight: Provo
Identity C(h)rises
I am Chris Purdie at Sego Art Center
by Ehren Clark

On Friday, March 6, at the Sego Art Center thirty-five performers will be playing the role of one visual artist: Chris Puride. Wearing the artist's "uniform" -- black clothes, black glasses, black knit cap -- they will be acting out the part of the visual artist during the three hour perforamnce. This idea may seem like the narcissistic fantasy of an egotistical megalomaniac, but in reality Purdie is a shy, soft-spoken individual. The performance, then, is an examination of identity, a play on personas, and in the words of Sego director Jason Metcalf, "an excercise in relational aesthetics." The artist and collaborators participate in a collective experience greater than individual artistic achievement and invite viewers to become part of the dialogue. A week before the opening performance I sat down with five of the thirty-five Christ Purdies participating in the performance to discuss art, performance and the creation of identity. What follows is a redaction of the conversation.

Chris Purdie 1: For me I think it is a life long process. I might find my identity here in Provo but when I move to grad school my identity might become lost in a world and I might have to redefine where I fit and how I interact. Chris Purdie 2: There are so many aspects of one's core or essential self. They are very contradictory, some are vulnerable, some are cruel, some are wise, and each role all relates to an aspect of an own personal being. Chris Purdie 3: Everyone has a different side of them that comes out depending on their surroundings. When I am at home I am at a place where I can be comfortable, where I can be Chris, a Chris that I am comfortable with, or when I am at a show, where I can talk about my art, I find that I draw in because this is a place where I feel uncomfortable, that this brings out the scared side of Chris, the upsetting frustrated side of Chris, or when I am doing my finances this brings out the analytical side of Chris. 2: This project came from developing another persona in a way, letting someone else be Chris Purdie.

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Exhibition Reviews: Salt Lake & Ephraim
Abstract Realism
Exhibits by Matthew Choberka at CUAC & Finch Lane
by Geoff Wichert

Matthew Choberka, a well-liked and influential painting professor at Weber State, can briefly be seen in overlapping exhibits in two of the most progressive galleries in Utah. His work could be called post-modernist, or painterly– environmentalist, but it seems to me that he partakes of a mainstream movement that hasn’t been named yet; it ought to be called Abstract Representation, or, in the manner of its great and direct ancestor—Abstract Expressionism—it might style itself Abstract Realism.
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