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"Giving everyone their fifteen bytes of fame".
September 2002
Page 3
Artist Profile -- Escalante                 "Covered in Sawdust" continued from page 1
Delthony sculpting with a chainsaw
. . .Working out of my basement shop (and sometimes outside in the driveway where I almost lost a finger to the saw), I designed and built furniture, getting small commissions by word of mouth. Fortunately I realized after a year that my self taught skills and knowledge of woodworking were in- sufficient.  Lacking the funding to attend a degree program in fine wood- working in the US, I turned to the “old world” which was still renowned for its educational system of teaching fine craftsmanship and moved to West Berlin, Germany.

KK:  What made you choose Germany and West Berlin?

DD: I was very inspired by the German “Bauhaus” tradition of combining workshop experience and extensive material knowledge into art and design instruction, and for someone in their late 20’s the divided city of Berlin was a unique and inspiring environment.   At that time, higher education in Germany was sponsored by the state, so it was possible to attend a university and cover other living expenses with part time jobs. I enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts, receiving my degree in interior design in 1975.  Unfortunately, in the Academy I didn’t encounter the combination of craftsmanship and artistic design I had expected so I turned to the time honored German apprenticeship system, working in various woodworking shops and eventually receiving my Master Delthony during the glueing processCabinetmaker accreditation.  Armed with the traditional skills of the trade, I then set up my own shop in an old factory floor near the Berlin Wall in a section of town which had been vacated by business during the Cold War and had been inundated by artists who sought the atmosphere and low rents.

KK:   This sounds like a long journey back to the roots of your artistic aspirations. Were you then able to utilize your accreditation and skills as an Interior Designer and Master Cabinetmaker?

DD:  In general yes, because I now had the ability and knowledge to undertake projects I had only dreamed of before.  But instead of taking on traditional 
David Delthony 'High Chair' commissions which might have produced a steady income, I immediately decided to venture into the world of art, abandoning conventional rectilinear forms and  beginning to sculpt with wood.  My initial pieces were large works for children to play on, which I first exhibited in Berlin and later in West Germany. Since the physical process of creating my art work –sawing,    jointing, planing, laminating, chain sawing, sanding, finishing – requires many tools, I  simultaneously became a habitual visitor at junk yards and business closings, collecting almost all of the heavy machinery and hand tools I needed.  Due to the ongoing reconstruction after the war, Berlin was an unbelievable source for used machinery, making it easier for me to build the physical foundation for my work there than it would have been anywhere else.

KK: I know that it is difficult to make a living as an artist doing this type of work, but you stayed true to the concept of creating Sculptured Furniture.  Would this be an accurate description of your development?

DD:  Yes, once I  had the knowledge, training and  equipment  to work sculpturally with wood,  I put my energy into following this path, concentrating my efforts into creating and exhibiting my work, developing new techniques for making sculptured furniture, and improving upon the equipment I needed for my work.  I continually deepened my own knowledge and expanded upon the possibilities I saw in sculpting furniture in wood.  In a certain sense, “Sculptured Furniture” became my life.

David Delthony 'King's Chair III' KK: During your 25 years in West Berlin, you exhibited extensively at shows and fairs all over Germany as well as in Europe - almost yearly at the international furniture and art fairs in Cologne, Munich and Milan as well contributing to “Made in Germany” art and craft exhibits worldwide (even as an American living in Germany!). You also received a great deal of recognition in the media, won prizes and your name was associated by many with “sculptural woodworking.”  What made you leave all of this and move to Escalante, UT in 1996?

DD: A number of factors contributed to this. A few years before the Berlin Wall had come down, and although this was of course a positive development, it also brought tremendous changes to the city – congestion, traffic, construction and rising costs.  The factory floor my wife and I had rented became unaffordable as big business returned to the city and literally displaced many artists.  We realized that we too would have to make a major change and for a myriad of reasons, decided to move to a rural location.  Having been fascinated on vacation trips through the southwest by the canyon country and the possibility of a more sustainable life style, we made the radical decision to relocate to a remote section of southern Utah.
Exhibition Review-- Salt Lake City 
Layne Meacham: You Like What You Know at the Artspace Forum
Layne Meacham 'Shaman'

by Shawn Rossiter

Layne Meacham is a child of the fifties. Not the fifties of Ike, apple pie, poodle skirts and crew-cut conformity, but the abstract fifties – the fifties of de Kooning, Kline, Twombly and Dubuffet. Meacham's artwork is a synthetic form of abstraction, incorporating much of the advances in painting that occurred during the fifties and continues to inspire artists to this day.

To see Meacham's current exhibtion at the Artspace Forum Gallery is to trace the family tree of expressive abstraction. Meacham's pedigree runs through de Kooning and Kline, and reaches back to the cave paintings probed by Cy Twombly, but his most dominant progenitor is Jean Dubuffet, the late twentieth-century French painter whose interest in psychology and the art of “outsiders” is so similar to Meacham’s own background. The difference, however, is that Dubuffet’s art brut, or “raw art,” was never so tasty as Meacham’s.

Walking into Artspace Forum Gallery and being surrounded by Meacham’s works is like being lost in a candy factory. A taffy factory, to be precise: its oranges and lemon yellows, magenta reds and pale greens hardened on to the surfaces of Meacham’s canvases. Like the traces of hungry children passing by the taffy machines on a class field trip, the artist has scratched, imbedded, swiped and otherwise manipulated modelling paste on to his canvas to create a sumptuous visual feast.

Technically, Meacham’s strongest trait in these works seems to be the push-and-pull (that painterly quality so favored by Hans Hoffman) that he is able to achieve in his synthesis of styles. His gestural brush work gives the paintings layers that receede into the surface, while the three-dimensional almost sculptural surfaces give the works a full-bodied form that won’t let the works fade into the walls on which they are hung.

Exhibition Announcement -- Salt Lake City 
Sugar House Studios Show

Saturday September 7th and Sunday September 8th the Chroma Gallery and the Rockwood Artist Studios will hold their quarterly open studio show and sale in Sugar House.  The Sugar House area of Salt Lake City is home to a number of artist studios, including over twenty artists in the Rockwood space.

Chroma Gallery, located within the Rockwood Space, has recently expanded their exhibiting space.

Chroma Gallery will feature the works of Darryl Erdmann, Shawn Rossiter and Andrew Smith.   Exhibiting artists in the studios include Kindra Fehr, Bevan Chipman, Sandi Olson, Laura Boardman and Kent Rich.  The studios, located west of the Blue Boutique at 1064 East 2100 South will be open 4:00 to 8:00 pm Saturday and Sunday, September 7th & 8th.