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      October 2010
Published monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization    

Artist Profile: Salt Lake City

The Accidental Artist
The life and art of Sam Wilson

Sam Wilson has taught at the University of Utah for over thirty years, so his iconic paintings, densely packed with pop and art-historical figures are familiar to most in Utah's art community. In this, our first installment of a video interview as artist profile, Carol Fulton sat down with the wry and engaging artist to discuss his routine, his reasons for raiding the vaults of art history, and what exactly is going on with his paragraph-long titles.
Exhibition Review: Park City
Positively Pixillated
Devorah Sperber at the Kimball Art Center

Viewed, as one so often must, from a distance in space and time—for instance by reputation and in the media rather than in person—Devorah Sperber's phenomenally popular but largely critically ignored works of art present numerous challenges. From her studio in Woodstock, New York, she has exported dozens of closely related, often similar works, most of them executed on an institutional rather than a domestic scale, using glossy and high-tech materials, each seeming to pull off the same trick in order to make the same point, and that point falling into a chasm somewhere between incompatible realms of science and art. She’s been called—one might say dismissed as—a Postmodernist appropriator, a Feminist, and a popularizer of science, while her works are misread as gimmicks, assemblages, installations, and the lower forms of humor: puns and one-liners.

The truth, as usual, is more subtle, slippery, and complex. For while Sperber doesn’t actually belong to any of the now-exhausted camps that have cluttered the landscape of art for the last half-century, she incorporates the raveled threads of their various narratives into a strand she makes by twisting them together, thereby restoring to art the feeling of a unified purpose such as artists and their audiences shared before it disintegrated under the assault of the permanent avant garde. Sperber displays no need to shock or baffle her audience. Instead, and this may be her greatest challenge in a cynical age, what she wants to do is delight her viewers, and instead of sending us home feeling either superior or alienated, she means us to go home filled with curiosity and thinking in new ways about how seeing becomes knowing.

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