display at the Spring Salon: La Jeune Femme by
Jeannine Young and Reframing by Layne Meacham
(Photos by Steve Coray)
The Good Stuff
By Robert S. Olpin
So, a little over a week ago or so, this guy named Shawn
Rossiter calls and asks if I will write something about
this year's Springville Salon and I say yes! Why did I do
that? I don't have the slightest idea, unless it was this:
"Artists of Utah develops a website that has become
a crossroads for Utah's visual arts community." (Utah
Cultural Alliance E-Newsletter, May 13, 2002) "Artists
of Utah" is the group Rossiter represents and I just
happen to think it's cool that these people have gathered
together this way (electronically, one might say) even if
an old guy like me does see it that way.
So now it is later on Monday, May 13, 2002, the day after
I got my Spring Semester grades done, and I'm safely
inside a closed (ever on Monday) Springville Museum of Art.
(I say "safely" because I always fall asleep at
the wheel when I pass BYU on the highway and never know
if I will live or die on each trip to this place.) And,
even more specifically, I'm now into what Vern Swanson,
Springville's museum director, calls "The Glory Room."
Its the big one next to the front windows where all the
award-winning stuff is on display during any given Salon,
and these would be the "Jurors Awards," the "Director's
Awards," and the "Merit Awards."
The Jurors this year were Jody Clotz-Veletes, an old friend
of Vern's now of Abilene, but for years a 19th-century art
expert working in New York City, and Donna Poulton, a great
friend and colleague of ours here in Utah with an excellent
eye for contemporary work of excellence. Swanson's policy
over the years has been to invite one juror from outside
the state and one from within, one interested in "traditional"
work and the other with a greater interest in different
"contemporary" forms, and one female and one male
juror. So the two women jurors this year were an
exception, and guess what? They worked better together than
any other team Vern has seen doing this job over the years.
Further, they accepted 241 works out of 942. That's 701
pieces "out of here"; "thanks, but no thanks";
sorry Charlene, but we found your work not good enough -
- a serious venture this "How do you like me so far"
art business! But "The Glory Room," as it turns
out, can make one (at least if you are an old art historian)
forget the preceding carnage and find some excellent selections
for awards within. An old friend's work for one, a merit
award winner called Top Hat. It is a 1988-dated watercolor
on satin by
Bonnie Phillips that is big (40 x 40"), and square,
and filled with that kind of sweeping and rich transparency
Bonnie has become known for over the years.
And next to it another merit award-winner even larger, a
2002 diptych by Clay Wagstaff, of Tropic, showing fine old
poplars in each section (72 x 36" each) that relate
rather wonderfully well to low horizons beyond. Here is
expansive and monumental nature becoming a kind of altar,
this as opposed to the Phillips abstraction next to it so
wisely drawn from our wide-open spaces in part. A good combination
this, near the entry to the gallery. And then across the
way there is another large merit award-winner, called
Reframing (72 x 66 3/8"), done in 2000 by the colorfield
Layne Meacham. In fact much in this show seems large
in size, and I am finally told by director Swanson that
I'm right to think so because in fact the entries this year
have been larger than ever before. And for whatever
reasons, less watercolor ended-up in this exhibition which,
by the way, is the second largest in number of works ever.
(The 2001 edition was the largest of all time in number
of pieces, the third largest was in 2000, and .., well I
think we may see a trend here.)
Continued on Page
Utah Alternative 2002
Underway at the Wells Fargo
Center, 299 S. Main, is "Utah Alternative 2002,"
an exhibition of 45 contemporary artists who started their
artistic careers in Utah. Some have moved on, but still
continue to exhibit in Utah, leaving their mark on the local
art scene and continuing to have a following here.
The exhibited artists are progressive in their work, always
changing and developing new ideas and approaches to making
art. The resulting artworks range from representational
to conceptual, often commenting on social and political
issues and requiring the interaction and response of the
viewer. Alternative art, not largely collected privately
and usually found in corporate and museum collections, exists
on the outskirts of most commercial galleries and is therefore
under represented in the community. The show runs through
July 19. For more info, call 322-2428.
by Shawn Dallas Stradley
I have known
Pilar for many years and it is always a pleasure to visit
her in her beautiful home. She lives life as full, colorful
and vibrant as the many paintings she has done over the
years, many of which adorn her bright home. Pilar is from
Mallorca, Spain, and creates in her everyday life, her artistic
works, and even her charming conversation, an intoxicating
blend of the Mediterranean and the Rocky Mountain West.
Personally, I don't get too enthused about how the scholars
and reviewers interpret an artist's work. That has never
worked for me, so I won't take that approach. For this article,
I have included just a small, representative portion of
the conversation I had with Pilar. Through her descriptive
responses, it was a delight to learn first-hand from this
talented artist how she found her way to painting and what
Shawn: Your resume answers one of my questions, and
that is, you are self taught?
Pilar: Yes, and I am sort of proud of it.
Shawn: Well, you should be. Your work is wonderful,
it is very successful.
Pilar: When I started, I was older. I had always
wanted to be an artist, as I think I have probably told
you, but in Spain I didnt have a chance. My family,
they were very conservative and my mother didnt want
her daughters to do anything. So, when I came here and I
had children I thought the opportunity was long gone. Then
all of a sudden I started doing sculptures. My son, who
was fifteen, wanted to have a class in photography at the
Art Barn. My husband said, Why dont you take
a class in something so you dont have be driving him
back and forth? I said okay and I took a pottery class.
I always had to wait for the wheel and while I was waiting
I started forming things with the clay, and I decided that
is what I wanted to do.
Continued on Page
Celebrating The Human
Fables Fine Art, a gallery begun by artists earlier this year,
has organized "Celebrating the Human Form", a collection
of 2D and 3D artwork which interprets the beauty of the human
form in all styles. The exhibition opeining will be
Friday June 21, the same weekend as the Utah Arts Festival,
at Fables, located at 60 E. Exchange Place, SLC, UT.
For more information call Stephen 435-232-1130, Lynn 801-706-5231
or Dan 801-484-5161.