Feature -- Salt Lake City
"Poor Yorick" continued from page 1
Slaugh likes using the human form
in an expressive way. He studied painters like Odd Nerdrum and Lucian
Freud, but his real heroine and hero are Alice Neel and Egon Shiele, whose
figures he prefers for their vulnerability.” The game that I’m playing
is the experience of reality run through the filter of “you.” Everything
I do is a variation, even plein air. There’s a tension for me between
improvisational drawing – the on and off the rabbit trails – and the grand
composition, like The Raft of the Medusa
-- the height of Western
Art. Improvisation is the place where there’s the most juice.
But it’s incomplete. A lot of artists are after the sexy, effortlessness
you see in Sargeant’s paintings. I’d rather have something overworked
than sloppy. Structure without overproducing.”
Slaugh has done enormous murals of
family gatherings. They take place in city parks, storage units,
or in a dining room with fake paneling on the walls. The full-colored
figures are distorted, sometimes grotesque. Perspective jumps in
and out at the viewer. There is a lot to take in, not only in the narrative
of the painting, but in the ways in which distortion fools with the viewer’s
eye and emotions. A good example is a piece Slaugh did after a grade
school class portrait. Did girls really look like Martians?
Did the teacher really have a gigantic head? Did the principal look
like a mortician? If most of us drift back in our memories of grade
school, the answer is: “Yes.” Slaugh has gotten it right.
The hallways of Poor Yorick are plastered
with paintings, photos, insults, and jibes; this makes it worth a trip
even when the gallery isn’t having one of its biannual openings.
It’s exciting to see works in progress, works which haven’t suffered death-by-framing.
Mark England’s huge map-like landscapes with collage occupy a generous
portion of the hallway. On his door is a calendar quote from The
Onion: “Like boxes of shit in your house? Get a cat.”
(A profile of England appears in the April 2002 archive of this magazine.)
He is happy to have moved into the studio and credits Slaugh with creating
a good dynamic there. He finds it a generous climate and will propose
both a discussion group and a drawing studio among the artists
Visiting some of the younger artist’s
studios can be like going into a teenager’s bedroom that is full of the
unedited collection of everything they have been about from childhood on.
You get a look at all their phases, corny through self-aware and back again.
In the case of the bedroom, it might contain stuffed animals, baseball
cards, ravaged Barbie dolls, Nirvana posters, Mad Magazines, and finally
beer bottles – all in the same bedroom. In the artist’s studio there
might be tentative figure studies, tenuous landscapes, nice figure studies,
confident landscapes, abstract pieces, landscapes which become more abstract,
and paintings which have been sanded down to the point of being abstract.
It’s a pleasure to sort through these collections. It’s telling about
a person that they could have reached such facility in a few short years,
already messed with it, then moved back towards a suitable hybrid.
the hallway from Mark England is Steve Larson, who shares a studio with
Jason Jones. Jones wasn’t in so we couldn’t sort through his stuff.
When we visited Larson was photographing a large, raw, abstract
painting on an unfinished scavenged board with added fabric texture.
Larson says he goes through the same visual concepts in abstract pieces
as he does representational pieces. He likes doing both, but he especially
likes trying to get in between the two, getting more at the energy of the
subject. When he doesn’t paint from life, he doesn’t use photos but
instead “half references and half conjures.” He has done some interesting
pieces of the neighborhood around Poor Yorick and lately he seems to be
getting at the “in between” he favors. Larson shows at the Avenues
Art Center and he and Jones have some pieces up at Glendinning Gallery
through November 28.
the hall is Chris Thornock. In his very orderly studio hang images
of children in landscapes, and a few straight landscapes. The models
are the most patient models he can get, his children. What is most
striking about Thornock’s images is the way he paints skin. He says that,
because the part of his work that interests him most is the narrative,
the act of applying
paint can often be boring. So he does things “to treat himself” like
doing a great ear, a closed eyelid, or a bare- chested boy where he can
concentrate on the different color of skin tones from transparent blue
all the way to tan. He admires Eakins and Wyeth and he feels that
his paintings have a distinct American feel.
Jason Wheatley only had one or two
paintings in his studio, having sent the rest of them off to galleries
in San Francisco and Palm Desert. Wheatley can be monosyllabic.
It’s difficult to drag much out of him, but one only need look at his paintings
to see what his consciousness is crowded with: pelicans, pigeons, fish,
dogs, shrines, vases, cymbals, lemons, cages, parasols, monkeys, lilies,
and statues of Jesus. His compositions are jammed with crisp, clean,
well-rendered, photo-real objects in luxurious colors within a highly glazed
surface. I asked him if gallery owners ever encourage him to paint
one image, or group of images, because they sell better. No, he said,
even when gallery owners tell him to lay off the monkeys because monkeys
aren’t selling very well, he paints more monkeys and they sell anyway.
One woman did return a painting after she discovered within it that Jesus
was holding a parasol. Wheatley sets up elaborate still lifes and
augments that with manipulated photographs. I asked him if one of
the photos of a dog riding a bicycle, behind a monkey on a tricycle, was
manipulated and he said, “The dog was really on the bicycle, and the monkey
was really on the tricycle, but not all at the same time.” Wheatley
has a show in New York in May. He will be fooling around with a little
more chaos in his surfaces in the future, working with a more “lost and
Sri Zeno Whipple (hippie parents)
is a newcomer to the studio, in fact most of his paintings had to be viewed
at Sargeant Salon in Exchange Place. There is a series of alarming
heads – the same large, loosely painted male (that looks like a female)
head. One of them is the least resolved of the three, and the face
is still. The next is further resolved and the face looks to be screaming.
The third is the most resolved but the paint has been smeared quickly back
and forth to give it the impression of movement, as if he is wildly shaking
his head back and forth. He also has a series of still lifes which
are careful, realist paintings of pears, cups, and flowers, and which seem
to have been painted by a different painter than the one of the scary heads.
One in particular is a study in grey and white of an onion. It’s
so bereft of color that it could almost be a black and white painting,
but then there is just the barest hint of green from the garden, visible
through a thin, thin, layer of onion skin.
is a fraction of the artists at Poor Yorick. The others currently
on the roster are Trent Alvey, Joey Behrens, David Laub, Tom Mulder, Ryan
Peterson, Alex Ferguson, Tracy Strauss, Ben Duke, Tessa Lindsey, Jeff Clark,
Trent Call, and Zachary Proctor. If you would like to visit the gallery
call Brad Slaugh at 759-8681, or just pop in and decide for yourself whither
lies the infinite jest.
by Nancy Green
24, named for the highway that runs through Torrey, is just winding
down from its first season. It was nearly a year ago that Karen Kesler
visited the newly remodeled Torrey Home & Garden store on Main Street
(Highway 24) and chanced to see a vacant space next door. In its
past life, the 500-square-foot location had been a garage, carwash, and
storage room. A painter and object maker, Karen immediately envisioned
a contemporary art gallery, with 14-foot ceilings and open, spacious feel.
Karen and her partner, Sally Elliot, who constructs folk-art stick figures,
and friends Brian Swanson, who creates metal and found-object sculpture,
and Pat Priebe, who interprets southwest landscapes in watercolor and ink,
were all seeking venues in which to show their work. All four artists
agreed that this seemed the perfect opportunity, and a partnership was
Over the winter, the gallery space
was remodeled, and the partners selected pieces from their own work as
well as that of other talented friends and local artists for display.
The opening reception on May 15th, 2002, was a collaborative event between
the Gallery 24 and Torrey Home and Garden next door. It was well
attended by both Wayne County residents and people from the Salt Lake area
who came down specifically for the event. All agreed that both businesses
are wonderful additions to the town.
Gallery 24 seeks to offer a complementary
yet contrasting selection of works of contemporary art in a variety of
styles and mediums. The current exhibit includes oil, watercolor
and pastel two-dimensional works, photography, metal and wood-based sculptures,
and found-object pieces of furniture. Artists include the four owners
and a variety of guests, most of whom live full-time in Southern Utah.
These include Arthur Adelmann (watercolor), Laura Boardman (oil), Larry
Clarkson (pastels and oil), Ray Conrad (pastels and oil), Brigitte Delthony
(primitive pottery and sculpture), Paula Gray (pastels and gouche), Nancy
Green (watercolor), Bill Mahon (photographs), and Jessica Watt (fabric
landscapes). In addition to works of fine art, the gallery offers
selected pieces of imported folk-art and jewelry.
135 Main Street
Torrey, UT 84775
Hyde Christ Figures
from page 1
I can imagine three possibilities
for whoever it was that invoked their constitutional right to be offended.
None of the three are convincing. The first is that the Christ figures
are inert. In Clyde’s works, Christ, or the cross he is stretched on, is
lying in the sand. So, says the offended party, the commentary is
that Christ or Christianity is powerless, inert. Not likely.
A lifeless, prone Christ is nothing new for Christian art. Gothic,
Renaissance, and Baroque art are filled with examples of a lifeless Christ
portrayed in religious painting. Some of the most beautiful Christian
paintings are versions of “The Descent from the Cross” or Christ’s body
being prepared for burial, all of which show an inert Christ, and even,
in the case of Rosso
Fiorentino, a green one.
between these examples and Clyde’s work, however, is that in the former
the works are not so much about the Christ figure but about the human drama
encircling the body -- the sorrow of the mother Mary or of the disciple
John. Clyde’s works are devoid of other human figures! the offended
Not so fast.
I am reminded of a painting by Carpaccio
pointed out to me by a friend this Spring in Italy. In this work,
Christ’s body, which takes up only about a fifth of the picture, has been
laid out on a stone slab in front of the tomb. A variety of things
are happening in the painting, but nothing or no one in the painting is
directing their attention to the body of Christ. The body of Christ
is being ignored, except by the viewer of the work. The
lack of figures in Clyde’s work can be seen more as a commentary of how
the figure of Christ has been forgotten or possibly as an invitation to
the viewer to consider his or her own relationship to the figure of Christ.
But nothing from the treatment, the lighting, the view points or other
aspects of Clyde’s work shows it to be a derogatory comment on the Christ