Outside Looking In
"Celebrating The Human Form"
By Shawn Dallas Stradley
Paganism, gods, deities, seasons
and blatant, talented portrayals of nudity immediately greet the guests
of Fables Fine Art as they walk in the doors off Exchange Place. What a
On Friday evening, the 21st of June,
I had the enriching experience of attending an art opening at one of Salt
Lake City's newest downtown galleries. The exhibition, "Celebrating the
Human Form", was a tremendous success visually and conceptually. For me,
it was the first time I had even heard of Fables since they had opened
their doors in January of this year. As I socialized my way through the
event, I was pleased that a friend had brought it to my attention. I viewed
the works of more than 50 artists in a variety of media, from oil paintings
to mixed media, to bronze and neon, that all celebrate the human form in
During the opening I had the opportunity
of meeting with the owner and the director of Fables and of sharing in
their enthusiasm for art in general, the importance and urgency of the
concepts presented in the current exhibition and their overall commitment
to presenting and challenging the visual arts here in Salt Lake. Stephen
Teuscher, an artist and owner of Fables, states, "In this show, we are
celebrating all styles of art that depict the human form, including expressions
of deep emotion, spirituality, sexuality, frivolity, and mindfulness; from
the sublime to the outrageous. We expect this show to be the first of many
unique opportunities for the inspired art community in Utah."
The Fables group made a call for entries
inviting emerging artists to submit displays of challenging, thought-provoking
expression of the human form. Close to a hundered artists submitted work.
A painstaking selection process whittled the pieces down to 54 artists
of diverse styles and media: sculpture, glass carvings, paintings, and
photography. The works represent the full spectrum of artistic impressions
from the classical representations of the human body to the abstract expressions
of mood and desire. Many of the artistic forms express the flow of energy
sensed in the rhythms of risk and enchantment. The result is a wonderful
mix of which Lynne Van Treese, the Director of Fables, states, "We are
pleased to have included the widest possible variety of offerings demonstrating
the beauty and elation that is inspired by the human form."
"Celebrating the Human Form" is the
first of many exhibits with specific themes that Fables Fine Arts has planned
to enhance and increase the depth of conversation about the various issues
that face our unique community. This particular exhibition is the effort
and concept of Dan Cummings and his various conversations with Stephen
and Lynne. During recent months while the Utah State Legislature was meeting,
one of the legislators came into the gallery and discussed the current
law on exhibiting nudes. Since many representations of the nude form are
found in classical art, the three were surprised at the parameters discussed
in the Utah statute. Though the law has since changed, the encounter provoked
many a lively discussion, which culminated in the creation of an exhibit
that did just what may have been previously out-lawed: acknowledging, celebrating,
viewing, portraying and enjoying the human form.
"Celebrating the Human Form" invites
the audience to have a refreshing curiosity about the many of aspects of
our common connection, the human form and gives us an opportunity to recognize
and feel the transforming nature of the physical expression of our beings.
It challenges current local thought patterns, behaviors, mental stumbling
blocks and naive perceptions, yet it does not offend. After all, what could
be offensive about the human form? We all have one. Our individual and
varied forms are our unique gift and this is what this particular exhibition
Through this exhibition, Fables has
fulfilled its mission of sharing unique and sophisticated art with the
Utah community and has risen to the challenge that our unique community
so often presents. They have unabashedly brought to the forefront of a
sometimes timid art community some of the local taboos: nudity, the human
form, beauty. I look forward to what lies ahead for this gallery. Now that
the challenge and standard has been set for and by themselves it will be
interesting to see what more they accomplish and present in the near future.
Fables Fine Art Gallery is open to visitors from noon until 8:00 p.m. Tuesday
through Thursday and from noon until 10:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays or
by appointment, at 60 East Exchange Place in Salt Lake City.
Inside Looking Out
The Wild, Passionate Ride That Led
To "Celebrating the Human Form"
By Susann Spencer
Fables Fine Arts had just been open
a few months when State Senator Ron Allen, a budding photographer in his
own right, came into the gallery. As Ron perused the current exhibit, he
brought it to the attention of Lynne Van Tress, gallery director, that
many of the nudes on display could get the gallery into trouble under the
current State law. One of the rare Democrats in the state legislature,
Allen had been the sole "nay" vote against spending the taxpayers? money
on the establishment of the Porn Czar office (Ron felt that clarifying
pornography and protection of minors issues could be handled by lawyers
within the Attorney General's office). Allen told us that Fables could
be in trouble if it didn't work within the law. As a new business we didn't
Fortunately, at the time of Senator
Allen's visit, the State law was being revised. A copy of the law was faxed
over to the gallery and distributed to staff and friends. Yikes! We not
only learned about the law and our liabilities but were introduced to new
vocabulary words too, like "turgid". We found many ways to use that word.
Fables owner Steve Teuscher's conviction
has always been that art offers a viable means of making public statements
about things that concern the whole community. Steve has always felt that
good art asks questions of the viewer. Besides creating beauty, the artist
has an obligation to explore familiar images and emotional responses to
the world around them. It is that exploration that is inherent in running
As a culture, we have countless issues
regarding the use and abuse of the human form currently in our face: the
Taliban suppression of people, especially women, pornography as the biggest
business and export of the United States (hey, it use to be war), the rape
of an American woman every six seconds, the high rate of incest within
our own state. It can be overwhelming. Fables saw an opportunity to stimulate
dialogue and be of service to our community by helping people remember
the grace, diversity and mystery inherent in living in and among the human
As the "Celebrating the Human Form" show
was being developed at Fables, and various parties on the "inception conception
committee" were voicing their ideas and concerns, we became the microcosm
of the culture. The show brought up everyone's issues from abuse, to sexual
objectifications, shame, views on sexual orientation, pornography vs erotica
(what is the difference?), longings, sexual orientations, styles and tolerance.
Many a lively and animated discussion occurred between the group creating
and marketing the show. This carried over into powerful responses from
visitors to the gallery, as the show was being developed and erected. Yes,
art as provocateur and healing agent - art therapy in action. We lived
When Fables first began receiving
work for the show, the proliferation of the usual representation of the
female form in all her perfect beauty dominated the entrees. But as art
came in, the issue evolved and the discussions deepened. Do only the beautiful,
the fit, and the young want love and are desirable? Are they the only ones
to be celebrated? What about pieces showing older people? How about the
overweight and out of shape, the clothed and innocent? What about people
in pain, people transcending, people connecting with one another, people
celebrating living? What about them?
Artists have always been drawn to
explore various representations of the human figure. Often, a muse is the
inspiration or enticer into the realms of expression. The feminine form
is the usual symbol of the muse, as the openness of feminine form has always
called man away from his intellectual pursuits; ask him to be present with
her by enticing him into his body, to release him into his heart and soul,
to open into love. Responding to the call of a muse was always an opportunity
to loose his fear-driven mind and break his heart wide open into the many
facets of love lived. Well, today there are many new forms, genders and
orientations of the muse. Courageously, Fables was willing to offer them.
Besides, good art can move you out of the mundane and into the possible.
He who Bleeds
Aubry K. Andersen
Click on any of the images
above to view a larger version and to read the artist's comments on the piece.
On June 21st it was show time, the
grand opening of the exhibit. The gallery marketing had garnered good press
exposure and enthusiastic invitations to one and all, which resulted in
over 700 people enjoying the art and exquisite cuisine. The City let us
have sidewalk tables and musicians, a spot light of Warren Archer's Ring
Man sculpture projected on 3 story building across the way and elegant
belly dancers (great human form). We offered beauty, possibilities and
we pushed the dialogue of our times. It was a great party!!!
Through it all, we came to know we
are all one. We all want love, connection, we all hurt and bleed, we all
long for love and wonder, we all express life in unique and various ways.
We've all been issued a body, we've all got one, and living in it is wild
and wondrous, terrifying and precious. We ARE the Celebration of the Human
Senator Allen updated us recently.
"Utah legislature's heavy-handed moralizing posturing that created the
Porn Czar may have been great joke fodder for late night television shows
and Paula Houston's getting her 15 minutes of fame (some of her friends
say she has spent more time giving interviews than being able to do her
job), but currently the Utah legislature is having to come to the harsh
reality of running the government in post 9/11 budget realities. For Porn
Czar Houston, well, it looks like her office will be cut out of the budget."
The "Celebrating the Human Form" exhibit
is open until July 24th. We're hoping you have a refreshing curiosity about
the myriad aspects of our common connection, the human form. Celebrating
the human form gives us an opportunity to recognize and learn the transforming
nature of the physical presentation of our beings and how to direct our
awareness into the ultimate freedom of acceptance, understanding and connection
to one another. Creating and sharing art can be the ultimate gift of recognizing
and appreciating our common experience as human beings. Because we Are
Susann Spencer has degrees in Communication
Arts and Health Education. She markets various small businesses, teaches
resiliency training, yoga and meditation for the western lifestyle, and
designs, paints and writes. Helping to market "Celebrating the Human Form"
was her spring vacation project.
CALL FOR ENTRIES
The Gay and Lesbian Center of Utah has an opportunity for all artists to exhibit during their next show entitled 'Body Image'. All two dimensional artwork regardless of medium is welcome. Pieces need to be dropped off at The Center, 361 North 300 West, SLC, no later than Friday July 12th. Please include Name, Address, Phone Number, Medium and Selling Price. The exhibit will remain on display for approximately three weeks. Work must be framed and ready to hang, i.e. all hooks and wire already installed. Any artist is welcome to exhibit. If there are any questions or you are interested call Shawn at 539.8800 ext 17 and leave a message or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing your work.