TRASA'S Emerging Women
. . . Although many of the works were technically
competent, they often lacked cohesion of feeling or thought. Each work
seemed to point the viewer in many directions, so that all that was communicated
clearly was the decorative quality of the work.
An exception was "Spilt Milk," a large painting, about 4'
tall by 3' wide, by Teresa Lane. This painting is both beautiful and
creates a clear sensation of mystery through its color and the way
the paint was applied.
Its most striking device is the use of a piece of linoleum
as part of the painting surface. The linoleum is patterned like a Turkish
carpet, and the painting includes other references to floors. The
artist uses a limited palette of colors, and the painting is generally
a glowing, translucent dark red. Near the lower center is a small
translucent white image of what appears to be a cake or cheese with a
slice removed. Although I did not understand the reference to spilt milk,
the painting is gorgeous and somewhat mysterious.
Another successful work was
Kathleen Ferdon's painting "Earthly Delight" -- an unpretentious little
watercolor confected of colorful dancing rectangles. It is completely nonobjective,
and uses a shallow space and juxtaposition of colors and sizes to create
a lively and delightful effect.
Other works, though ambitious in design, are less successful
in result. "Medusa" by Olivia Glascock is an attractive mixed-media book about 8" square, with a stiff folder to contain it and a beaded
bracelet placed next to it.
The green marbled inside of the folder
and the printed end papers of the book are sumptuous, as are the delicate
rice paper and gold pages inside. The decorative "S"-shaped snake in
brass relief inset into the book cover adds to the book's opulent appearance.
The contents of the book are a few delicate drawings of a pretty female
head with snakes for hair. This "Medusa" is shown in several mental
and physical states. The drawings look like overexposed photos. Medusa
herself looks wan, effete and powerless. Instead of the muscular
serpents that usually adorn Medusa's head, the snakes in these drawings
look as innocuous as worms. In Greek mythology Medusa was a powerful Gorgon
whose eyes turned anyone who looked into them to stone. Clearly Glascock's
represents a Medusa shorn of her
power, and by its opulence the book indicates that this is a precious
image. This pretty, sickly Medusa saddens me, and her presentation
as something precious is sadder still. Perhaps the beaded bracelet was
left by the Greek Medusa to re-empower her eviscerated sister?
"Archaic Torso of Apollo" by Linda Woodruff Bergstrom consists of a large sheet of clear plexiglass divided into two sections.
On one half of the plexiglass sheet is a frontal relief of a large
male torso, from waist to neck, made or cast in gauzy cloth stiffened
with a clear medium. Inside the rough, generalized, translucent torso is
a light, and the cloth extends beyond the edges of the torso in vague
On the other side of the
plexiglass, printed in gold, is a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, "Archaic
Torso of Apollo," in English translation from German, with no translator
noted. The poem begins:
cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit And yet his
is still suffused with brilliance from
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned
gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you
so nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and
The gauzy relief torso in Bergstrom's work is indistinct, unexpressive, and certainly not
beautiful. It is cut off at the waist, as if to exclude the sexual implications
of the description of Apollo's hips and thighs in the poem. The light
within the torso is a literal representation of Rilke's words, ". His torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside like a lamp."
This work is a lesson in the difference between art and not
art. On the left is the Rilke poem: rich, suggestive, sensual, and definitely
a work of art. On the right is a literal representation of a part of
the poem, with all of the flavor and wonder of a box of cereal. The
torso is dull, and does not attempt to parallel the feeling of the poem.
The result is an interesting lesson in the meaning of "art," but as a work
of art in its own right it is too pedagogical for my taste.
A number of the paintings and drawings in this show are signed
in very odd ways. For instance, there is a lovely watercolor of a winter
landscape composed in horizontal bands. In the front is snow, then
winter dark trees, the rolling hills with a bit of color, and above
a wet into wet painted winter sky with clouds. Sounds pleasing, does
it not? However, the artist has signed the painting twice on the field
of snow, in lines thicker than the lines of the trees. This places the
signatures in the very foreground, and makes them the most important part
of the painting visually!
On the second floor of the TRASA building is graffiti from
a previous show. It was there that I saw the most ambitious work
displayed. A large L-shaped wall covered with a very abstract expressionist
graffiti caught my eye. There is an underpainting of what looks
like blocky and pointy word forms in mostly purple, blue and yellow.
This layer of painting has a kind of shallow, rectangle based three dimensionality.
Over that are painted orange squares, words, and balls and ball-like
cartoony heads. The surfaces in the balls and heads are white, with colored
lines around the balls and used for the drawing in the heads. The second
layer of painting seems to float over the first, once again in a shallow
abstract expressionist type space. The work gave me feelings of energy and
vertigo. It is like the child of a Jackson Pollack and the comics.
TRASA did the arts community a great service to take a chance
and produce an exhibit like “Emerging Women.” Unfortunateley,
the show was disappointing overall. However, the work of emerging artists
is not expected to be completely formed. I hope each artist will continue
to clarify her vision and expression, and that we will see work that
is more powerful and exciting from these artists in the future.
TRASA is located at 741 S. 400 W SLC (Gallery Hours: Thurs.
and Fri. 5-8 PM, Sat. 12-5 PM) at the former Utah Pickle Co. building. Look for the graffiti sign painted on
the building to find it.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: To read a response to this review sent by Linda Woodruff Bergstrom click here.
Exhibition Announcement -- Ogden
WHAT'S UP AT THE
Jamaica Trinnaman of Alpine will
be exhibiting a collection of her works in the Eccles Community Art Center’s
Main Gallery. In the Carriage House Gallery new works by Nancy G. Clark
will be featured. These exhibits will open Friday September 6, 2002.
A reception for the artists is scheduled the evening of September 6th
between 6 and 9 p.m. in association with the Historic 25th Street Stroll.
The public is invited. The exhibits will continue through September 28th.
Jamaica, who received a Bachelor of Science in Art with an
emphasis in painting from USU, tells us that “Art is much what
it was to me when I was twelve - a place where I can say or do what
I please. A place to play or scream, cry or kiss, dance or be still.
It is a place where life becomes a visual thing, a composition, a liquid
work on drying canvas. It is a flat picture filled with depth of emotion,
a moment with a lifetime of building up to, a structure or wood and
fabric taking on flesh and bone and thought and mood. My work is nothing
more than my thoughts, my experience, and my opinion. A reflection of
a woman’s life and imagination. I try not to limit myself in my work,
I allow myself the luxury of switching mediums, subject matter and even
the way I paint.”
Nancy G. Clark is a California
native, who moved to Utah with her husband seven years ago. Since
moving to Utah, she has joined the Eccles Community Art Center, The
Palette Club of Ogden and has become a two-star member of the Utah
Nancy says “My work has evolved in the last seven years.
I work in acrylic, gouache, mixed media, collage, oil pastel, charcoal
and printmaking. My paintings have grown more abstract with inspiration
from the mountains and canyons around me. “Mood” is what I am after in
my paintings, and I’ll use whatever medium that best achieves it.”
The Eccles Community Art Center is
located at 2580 Jefferson Avenue in Ogden. Regular gallery hours are
Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.; Saturdays 9:00 a.m.
until 3:00 p.m. The Center is open to the public admission is free.
Exhibition Announcement -- St. George
NO LONGER – Art speaks loudly for animals.
Silent No Longer, an exhibition of
works by Cyrus Mejia
, is on display in the Legacy Gallery of the St George Art Museum
until October 4th, 2002.
Cyrus Mejia, contemporary artist, is one of the founders of Best
Friends Animal Sanctuary. His art reflects the mission of Best Friends,
to help bring about the day when every dog and cat born will have a loving
home, and there will be no more homeless pets.
Mejia’s show features recent paintings of animals, viewed from
above, looking up at us. By painting their faces larger than life and
putting them up at eye level, Mejia brings a view that’s often over- looked,
sharply into focus.
The exhibition also features an installation of several works
from The 575 Project, created by Mejia in 2001. Last year five million
unwanted pets were put to death in U.S. shelters -- 13,800 every day,
575 dogs and cats killed every hour. In the tradition of the Holocaust
Museum and the Aids Quilt, each piece in the 575 Project is a memorial
to the 575 unwanted pets that were euthanized each hour last year.
St George Art Museum 47 East 200 North,
St George, UT. Admission is free. Museum hours are: Mon. 6-8pm; Tue. -Thurs.
11-6; Fri. 11-8; Sat. 11-6; closed Sundays and holidays.