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       May 2010
Published monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization    
Van Chu

Artist Profile: Salt Lake City
Capturing the Self
The photographic art of Van Chu
| photos by Kim Silcox

It would be a disservice to Van Chu to spend the majority of this article discussing the unfortunate pairing of his work with photographs by Carl Oelerich, so the criticism will be brief. Chu’s latest exhibit, Photographic Brushstroke, shares gallery space with photographs by Carl Oelerich, who displays candid narrative pictures exploring America’s tense relationship with modern day Cuba. Both Chu and Oelerich have black and white pictures on display, they have clearly drawn influence from abroad, and both artists convey a powerful message. Do these similarities warrant shared exhibit space? Absolutely not. The stark contrast between the ethereal and personal nature of Chu’s work and Oelerich’s politically charged photographs is jarring and detracts from the work of both artists.

In spite of the misguided arrangement, it’s difficult not to be swept away by Chu’s work.

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Exhibition Preview: Salt LakeCity
A Splash of Attention
The Western Federation of Watercolor Societies Comes to Utah

It can be seen in Utah approximately once every eleven years. It’s not a comet or constellation in the night sky. It’s the Annual Exhibition of the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies, which is hosted each year by one of the 11 member watercolor societies from nine western states. Last seen in Utah in 2001, the exhibition has circled the West and rotated back to Utah this year for a six week run at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center, May 14 – June 28, 2010.

The 300-member Utah Watercolor Society spent the last nine years planning for this “really big show.” Secure the venue? Check. Create the call for entry? Check. Find an internationally renowned artist to be juror and judge? Check. Arrange for hotel, catering, transportation, local art tours for visiting artists? Check, check, check.

“The to-do list seems endless,” says Nancy Maxfield Lund, UWS project manager and event chair, who herds the cats…uhhh UWS members…into committees to take care of the myriad details. “It’s definitely a team effort, made a bit easier by the fact that this is the 35th time this exhibition has been organized and each year the organizing team learns from the experiences of the team before,” says Lund.

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Exhibition Review: Salt Lake City
A Completely New Entity in the World . . .
Colour Maisch and Sandy Brunvand at Finch Lane Gallery

To the Greeks, character was fate. More than accident, and certainly more than willpower, his inborn pattern of action and response determined how a man’s life turned out. The equivalent influence in an art gallery is architecture. At the A Gallery, for example, a featured artist can dominate the open plan, but not stand alone. At Phillips, stairs separate the main space, dominated by windows, from the enclosed cellar. Both these commercial galleries deliberately surround the featured work with clutter: art presented more or less the way it’s likely to appear in collections, with pieces imposing or imposed on by those nearby. The Art Barn’s Finch Lane Gallery is not a commercial enterprise (though the works are usually for sale) and its spatial organization permits presenting two or three clearly delineated exhibitions, each bounded and visually united by four surrounding walls. For its curators—in fact a committee of artists who choose and schedule shows based on the gallery’s pro-public and pro-art priorities—the challenge is usually to mount two shows at once that connect on some level. This month’s example is a triumph: two artists from different backgrounds, one just achieving recognition and the other an established veteran, using contrasting materials and following individual protocols, have produced exhibitions that sound together in pitch-perfect harmony.
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Work by Colour Maisch at Finch Lane Gallery