The Lusty Month of May
A Burst of Activity as Spring Hits Utah
The month of May is full of activity for Utah's visual arts world.
Mountain West Conference
On May 13 the Utah Arts Council holds its annual
Mountain West Conference on the Arts at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center. The former two-day conference has been condensed into one day of activities: workshops, networking opportunities, a luncheon and the presentation of the Governor's Awards in the Arts. The conference is open to individuals and organizations. The Cultural Celebration Center, site of the conference, will also host the 35th Annual Western Federation of Watercolor Societies Exhibit the same weekend (see our article in the right hand column).
With the end of the school year, student shows have been up at campuses all over the state this past month. In Salt Lake the student shows are continuing into May, and leaving the campuses to do so. The MFA students from the University of Utah opened their student-organized exhibit, Mind the Gap, at GARFO this past weekend. The opening night featured a collaborative performance by students from the dance, music and art departments.|0-1| If you like what you see at Mind the Gap, you'll want to catch the final MFA shows of those students graduating this year: Van Chu's Photographic Brushstroke is now on exhibit at Salt Lake's Main Library (see page 1); Kirsti Ringger's sculpture exhibit, Thinking Inside the Box, |2| opens this weekend (May 7th) at Adonis Bronze in Alpine; Cristin Zimmer's final show, Surface . . . ing goes up at the Gittens later this month (May 12 - 27).|3| The show will feature her figurative ceramic work, which you may remember from our 35 x 35 exhibition last year. An interview with Zimmer discussing that body of work, as well as future projects (a sneak peek of which can be seen at Mind the Gap) appears here.
The largest exhibition of student work will surely be the University of Utah's Art and Art History Student Advisory Committee extravaganza in downtown Salt Lake. In May the art department will descend upon The Felt Building (341 S. Main) |4| and take over 17,000 square feet of space with three shows from University students.|5-6| The first is an exhibition of work from the Art Department’s graduating seniors, juried by Leia Bell. The department will also holds its annual Alternative Show, which emphasizes large-scale works, collaboration, and a variety of site-specific installations engaging some of the 17,000 square foot gallery’s more idiosyncratic spaces. Last in the lineup is a new show entitled 4x5, a non-juried, size-specific show of small works, accessible to the entire student body of the Art Department. Receptions will be held every Friday in May, from 6-10pm.
Gallery Strolls and Gallery Rolls
The end of the semester may mean a lull on the college campuses, but local art scenes are as lusty as ever. Lewis J. Crawford's show, Sidewalk Shadow Creatures, opening at Universe City this Friday (May 7) during Ogden's gallery walk, will make you look twice at the sidewalks you tread to the next venue in historic downtown Ogden. The artist's whimsical series is a hybrid technique of painting and photography that creates unique images of creatures that only exist as shadows of themselves.|7| Provo has its own gallery walk on the same evening; the posting on our Facebook page this month of images from Painted Temple's exhibit of glass work by Treavor Holdman |8| gives us hope that the Provo scene may be picking up again. Bountiful, a satellite of Salt Lake, has never had its own proper gallery night, but the BDAC's upcoming show of sculpture and collaborations looks promising. And it opens the second Friday, so won't compete with any of the other gallery walks. Salt Lake City was recently awarded silver status by the League of American Bicyclists. You can celebrate the award (and make a push for gold status) by joining the annual May Gallery Stroll event, Gallery Roll. Enjoy the nice weather (fingers crossed) and don't worry about finding a parking spot as you coast from gallery to gallery atop your favorite two-wheeler. For listings of Salt Lake exhibits as well as exhibits all over the state see our Up and Upcoming listings on pages 8, 9 and 10.
Help for Haiti
The half dozen galleries in Sugarhouse may be a bit far for underconditioned cyclists to reach on Gallery Stroll night, but they are worth the trip sometime during the month. For its May exhibition (opening May 15), Sugarhouse's Aperture Gallery looks to help relief efforts in Haiti with an exhibit by local painter and sculptor, Ashley Bennett Stoddard.|9| In Soles for Haiti Stoddard will present a selection of abstract paintings that incorporate footprints (soles) of children and adults in addition to a selection of sculptures and block prints. Stoddard has also created a unique footprint pendant that will be showcased for sale. In keeping with the gallery's policy to combine exhibitions with charitable fundraising efforts, 50% of proceeds from painting and sculpture sales and 100% of pendant sales will benefit The Hope Alliance and its efforts in Haiti. Our own photo editor Kim Silcox is working with another aid group in Haiti, The Mangrove Fund. A planned trip this month was postponed when the home in Port au Prince that the team was to stay in was taken over by a hostile, local gang. Silcox still looks forward to going later this summer with the same foundation to document the current conditions and the relief efforts that continue in Haiti. Westminster College is also looking to use art to help Haiti. They will host a silent art auction and fundraiser for victims of the Haiti earthquake on May 8, at 5 pm in the Special Events Room in the Dolores Doré Eccles Health, Wellness, and Athletic Center. The event will feature art work from around the community, and all the proceeds will be donated directly to the Doctors Without Borders Haitian Relief Fund.
Las Artes de México & salt 1
As Westminster College proves, not all corners of Utah's campuses will be quiet this month. At the University of Utah this week the UMFA opens Las Artes de México, an expansive exhibit on loan from the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The exhibit explores the art, history, and culture of Mexico through an array of artworks, from ancient Mesoamerican artifacts to twentieth century masterworks by Diego Rivera and others. Situated at the conclusion of the exhibit visitors will encounter an installation by contemporary Mexico-city artist Adriana Lara. Lara's work is the first installment of salt, a semiannual exhibition program organized by the UMFA's Jill Dawsey to "reflect the international impact of contemporary art by forging local connections to the global, and bringing new and diverse artwork to [Salt Lake]." The program debuts on May 6th with an "artist talk" conversation between Dawsey and Lara at 7 pm. The exhibit runs through September 26.
Western Federation...continued from page 1
Last year’s WFWS exhibit was held in San Diego, hosted by the San Diego Watercolor Society in their own gallery, located in a mixed use development on a former military base. UWS, without a gallery of its own, had to find a space that could accommodate at least 100 paintings. “The Utah Cultural Celebration Center is perfect for this size exhibit,” says Lund. “Plus, the facility has classroom space that we can use for framing, and an auditorium for our awards banquet.”
WFWS exists primarily for the purpose of mounting this annual exhibit showcasing the very best in watermedia painting throughout the West. For those artists who aim for excellence and national recognition in the likes of the American Watercolor Society or National Watercolor Society, WFWS can be a steppingstone. Each WFWS member society encourages its members to enter, and this year about 460 of the combined societies’ 4800 members entered the competition.
Each of the member societies selects a delegate and alternate to coordinate their members’ entries and to attend the annual WFWS business meeting held in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition. As artists, these delegates don’t want to sit in boring meetings all day, so a little art tourism is on the agenda. A fleet of UWS members with cars will carry delegates to galleries and museums, including the Salt Lake Art Center and Utah Museum of Fine Arts; to Temple Square and other nearby attractions; and down to the Schorr Gallery in West Jordan, where UWS has another show – the annual UWS Spring Open Exhibition – featuring artists from all over the state.
“We’re proud of Utah’s art community,” says UWS president Maura Naughton, “so we want them to see a good representation of what it’s like to live and work as an artist in Utah. They won’t have the time for the whole enchilada, but they’ll get a good taste.”
In addition to the delegates from each society, UWS expects many of the 101 artists with works in the show will also come to town. It’s not every day, or even every year, that an artist is fortunate enough to have work accepted in this competitive show, so many will make the most of the honor by being here in person to accept accolades and, perhaps, some of the $7,000 in cash and merchandise awards.
Juror Carla O’Connor was challenged to select 101 paintings out of 1,100 entries to make up a representative show with a high standard of excellence. In her statement included in the exhibition catalog, O’Connor says, “As the juror, for any competition, my criteria for selection and awards are: a unique and creative concept, a thoughtful and deliberate composition, an understanding of the design principles, and technical expertise. I look for artists who push the known limits of their skill and see new and imaginative approaches rather than repetition of previous success and mere reporting. I am always looking for the artist who takes a risk and paints true and direct from the heart.”
Once artists were notified of their accepted paintings they had them matted in the specified white or off-white mats. Each society delegate collected their members’ matted paintings and shipped them, unframed, to Lund. Bullock Frames ordered identical, simple but elegant, frames from Designer Molding in the required sizes. UWS volunteers will gather on a Saturday and, under the guidance of Steve Sheffield, of Bullock Frames, frame all 101 paintings.
“The simplicity and uniformity of matting and framing creates a very elegant look for the exhibit,” explains Lund. “All you see is the art when the framing is that neutral.” At the end of the exhibition, the crew of volunteers will rally again to disassemble the frames, which will be sold to UWS members at a discount.
Seventeen awards will be given at an awards dinner on May 14, just before the public opening of the exhibition. Much of the total cash pot of $6,100 was donated by local businesses, including Ray Quinney Nebeker Law, Petersen Art Center, and Thomas A. Shaffer, Attorney at Law, as well as by many UWS members. One fundraising strategy sought donations from the students of Utah’s most popular art instructors so that awards could be “named” in their honor. Thus, the “Awards of Merit” honoring Marian Dunn, or Harold Petersen, represent more than $400 each, donated by their students and other UWS members. Other honored instructors include Steven Sheffield, Joseph Alleman, Carl Purcell, Lester Lee, Willamarie Huelskamp, Laurel Hart, and Osral Allred. The honored instructors are expected to attend the ceremony and help present the awards.
Additional gift certificates and merchandise have been donated by some of the major art suppliers to supplement some of the cash awards.
Three of the lucky artists accepting awards this year will be Utah’s own Maura Naughton,|0| Nancy Maxfield Lund,|1| and Janice Walker Hall.|2| There, the cat’s out of the bag, but it’s no longer a surprise for all the award-winning artists, who were given ample notice in time to buy plane tickets and appropriate red carpet attire for their big night in the spotlight.
UWS Spring Open Exhibition at Schorr Gallery
Usually the biggest event of the UWS year, this year’s Spring Open Exhibition is not to be eclipsed by the WFWS Exhibit a bit to the north. Also juried by Carla O’Connor, the Spring exhibition at the Schorr Gallery (8000 S. Redwood Rd., in West Jordan City Building), was selected from watermedia artists (UWS members and non-members) all over Utah. The show runs April 19 – May 27; the artists’ reception and awards presentation will be on Friday, May 7, 6-9 p.m.