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    October 2009
Published monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization
Work by Meri DeCaria

Artist Profile: Ogden
Still Waters Run Deep
The life and art of Meri DeCaria
by Sheryl Gillilan | photo by Stephen Seko

Meri DeCaria's art reflects her life -- at times whimsical and colorful, other times thoughtful and controlled. People may know her as the professional, somewhat reserved director of Salt Lake's Phillips Gallery, but beneath the formal surface her life is teeming with energy and vibrancy.

DeCaria grew up in Minnesota with three siblings. Her parents divorced when she was very young and the kids were raised by their dad. "He was a lawyer and a workaholic," DeCaria says, "so we got to run wild." When not working, however, her father exposed the kids to lots of culture – music, art, and bee keeping.

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Alder's Accounts
Barren Sageland and Towering Heights
Cornelius Salisbury and the lure of the West
by Tom Alder

As I approach these columns, I generally start with the usual background material (born, died, did a bunch of stuff in between), supplemented by search engine snippets sent my way by my beloved editor Shawn Rossiter. Ever since Rossiter mentioned Utah Digital Newspapers as one of his sources, I have been consulting it as a routine. Frequently, and especially with artists who lived in Utah's backwoods, the articles I find deal with what "Mrs. Burnham" served at the tea at somebody's house where the art of so and so was exhibited. Every once in awhile, though, in between yawns, I come to a skidding halt, like the report I found in a December, 1927 article in the Richfield Reaper while researching Cornelius Salisbury. "Charging that his wife threw a heavy missile at him, and not only threw it but struck him, Cornelius Salisbury filed suit Monday asking divorce from Marie T. Salisbury." Huh? I continued on. "Another alleged cruelty was the procuring of a revolver, which was loaded, and Salisbury declares his wife has threatened to shoot him..." That's the type of urban legend that gets passed around at meetings of the Art Nurdz, the type of thing that makes you say, "Well if it's not true, it should be." But in this case it is true, or at least documented. And it was a legend I had never heard before.
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Artist Spotlight: Salt Lake
Where You're Coming From
The Art of Myranda Bair
by Analisa Coats Bacall

There are many little contradictions to be unraveled from an installation of love letters. Issues of the private being made spectacularly public, the artist's past being re-lived in the viewer's present, the intimately ephemeral being displayed as though it has a more enduring physicality than it truly does—all can be drawn from such a work. The installation in question, titled simply Love Letters, is an open-ended project from Salt Lake City-based artist Myranda Bair that offers viewers a peek into her own memories, correspondences, and musings on romantic relationships. Eighteen "letters" are arranged chronologically and grouped by subject (that is, by boyfriend, whether ex-, unconsummated, or current, seven in all), with each printed on small sheets of Italian handmade paper and tacked, unprotected and raw, to gallery walls. Love Letters will be on view at Austin's Creative Research Laboratory this month as part of the exhibition Tell Me Everything, As You Remember It.

What constitutes a love letter? Some are letters Bair sent to former boyfriends, or poem-like recountings of conversations and events. Some are brief and entirely borrowed, like "Coronado Island," which Bair takes from a postcard she received:

Myranda,
This is where I stayed in SD,
pretty nice place. Sorry I forgot
your birthday and sorry I make
you upset all the time.
love,
Daniel


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Love Letters by Myranda Bair