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"Giving everyone their fifteen bytes of fame".
July 2002
Page 2
Art Issues
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 wonderful start!

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 some fashion.

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 celebrates.

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.

Art Issues
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 need trouble.

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 a gallery.

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 form.

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 it.

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
Scott Green 
HB 256
Greg Ragland 
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 Form. 

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 All One.

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.

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 We look forward to seeing your work.