"Covered in Sawdust"
. . . continued from page
I was interested to read an article about
your work in the Salt Lake Tribune (11/2/98), in which Joan
O’Brien commented, “Long before David Delthony moved to southern
Utah, he was sculpting furniture reminiscent of the red-rock country.”
Were you influenced by this landscape?
DD: As Joan aptly
indicated, I had developed my visual language long before
the awe-inspiring formations in southern Utah, but obviously
my Sculptured Furniture was originally influenced by a similar
perception of nature and biomorphic forms.
I have also been inspired by sculptors like Moore, Brancusi
and Arp as well as by other woodworking artists like Wendell Castle
and Sam Maloof.
KK: You refer to your
art as “Sculptured Furniture”. Could you describe your
work for us?
DD: As a furniture artist, I sculpt
with the material wood, investigating interior space and defining
exterior boundaries. My work focuses on the dialog between functional
and aesthetic values as I try to incorporate and balance these
in each object. It is important for me to utilize my knowledge of the
material wood and of ergonomics to create organic forms which engage
the user through their function and my own personal visual language.
As I work within the syntax of fine furniture, I endeavor to infuse
my work with an artistic sensuality, embracing visual and tactile
senses and encouraging the human contact which is essential to my vision
as an artist.
KK: The “art world” often ignores or attempts
to discredit what could be termed functional art or artistic
furniture. What are your feelings about this?
DD: It seems that in our
contemporary society, when an object takes on any type of functional
characteristic, it loses recognition as an artistic expression.
If we look back to prehistoric cultures, especially African, we
can see that the origins of furniture were closely related to
rituals, mysticism, and artistic expression. The first chair or
stool in early cultures was created by artists and craftsman for the
tribal leader to elevate him and symbolically represent his position
in the community. Following this example of the “chair”, the
correlation between function and artistic creation is even obvious
in more modern monarchial societies where a throne evolved out
of the original symbolism of the stool. In my own
work, I have even done a series of “King’s
Chairs” which relate to this theme. Unfortunately for many
people though, the idea of “functionality” seems to be a negative
characteristic in the art world. From my own experience
though, adding a functional at- tribute without sacrificing artistic
values can be an elevating and dynamic
feature as well as an extremely challenging task.
KK: I agree
with you entirely. To me one of the strengths of your organic
and sensuous forms is that they are successful as artistic statements
and as functional entities. Neither aspect is sacrificed
or relegated to a secondary position. What do you see as the responsibilities
of the artist as opposed to the craftsman?
important would be the unique sensibility of the artist and
the successful expression of this sensibility in his personal
style or visual language. A furniture maker who did not develop
this unique sensibility and made purely utilitarian furniture would
not fulfill this requirement. Whether the expression of the
artists sensibility is “successful” or not is extremely subjective,
but it should not to be measured by commercial or financial acclaim.
Decisive is that the finished work somehow reach out, touch and evoke
a response in the observer.
KK: There are pieces of
fine workmanship, made by excellent craftsman who do have their
own style. Are there other features which can also be used when
examining the questions of art, art furniture, and craft?
DD: I think there is another characteristic
which separates the artist from the craftsman and that is the artist’s
emphasis on the creative process. For the artist, the
creative idea is actually the driving force and takes precedence
over function, craftsmanship or material. He may be bound
by a utilitarian purpose or the use of a specific material, but
more decisive for the artist is that he express his idea through
a creative process. Functional values and mastery of
the craft, although often central in furniture art, serve as tools
for the realization of the artistic expression and should not become
the end product. Unfortunately in certain disciplines, these
very tools have become an impediment to being accepted in the world
KK: As someone who has
been closely associated with galleries and exhibition venues, I realize
how few opportunities there are to display functional art as
opposed to what some would term “pure” art. Do you think it possible
that we develop an expanded consciousness for the concept of art
and that functional art and art furniture be included
in this definition?
DD: Yes, there are definite
developments in this direction, especially within the furniture
arts. An increasing number of educational institutions
are combining high quality instruction in the crafts within their
art curriculum. There are also a number of important societies,
organizations and publications (for example, the American Craft
Council and the Furniture Society) which promote the functional
arts and where appropriate, their inclusion in the art world.
The recognition of artists like Dale Chihuly, Betty
Woodman, Peter Voulkos and Wendell Castle, who had their origins
in functional art, contributes to the public awareness of functional
art, but still, when seen as a whole, there is a lot of educational
work yet to be done.
After his upcoming
exhibit at the Utah Arts Council’s Rio Gallery, David's work can be seen
in southern Utah in Torrey Home & Garden and Brigitte’s can be found
at Gallery 24 as well as in their own Escalante studio.
This interview was conducted by Karen Kesler,
designer, painter, object-maker and partner in the recently
opened Gallery 24 in Torrey, Utah. All artwork is copyright
David Delthony and may not be reproduced without written permission.
David Delthony can be contacted at (435) 826-
4631 or email@example.com
Gallery Stroll Preview-- Salt Lake City
by Mariah Mann
The Salt Lake Arts Center, located at 20 South West Temple is currently
hosting two exhibits. PERSPECTIVES OF CONFLICT feature's work by
local artists. The featured artist, Kazuo Matsubayashi, is a professor
of Architecture at the University of Utah who has added to the scenery of
Utah with works including ASTEROID LANDED SOFTLY, which currently resides
at the Gallivan center. Supporting artists include but are not limited
to Fletcher Booth, John Erickson, Suzanne Fleming, and Gary Pickering.
All types of media are presented in this show.
Artist Victor Kastelic
displays his lifetime achievements in a show titled CLOUD BURST. Kastelic
spent 12 years in Italy drawing with pencil and oils. For this show
he included three hundred small drawings and a few large murals painted
on the art center walls. Both shows will hang until October 5th.
Art Access Gallery, 339 West Pierpont explores
the subject of Spirituality. The show, entitled SPIRITUALITY AND COMPTEMPORY
ART, features artists Phil Richardson, Trevor James Bazil, ViviAnn
Rose, James Charles and Gregory Parascenzo. This diverse group of artists
present their personal exploration and interpretation of spirituality
through sculpture, paintings and photography. This show challenges and
reinforces spirituality. Gregory Parascenzo explores the ritual side
of spirituality with his paintings using the relationship of the artist
and the act of creating. James Charles uses his life experiences being
educated in Catholic schools and in a naval hospital to paint his figurative
forms. To VivAnn Rose "Nature is her church and Art is her religion. Her
photography's presents the spiritualness inherent in nature. Five artist,
five different styles one large idea.
Letter From the Editor -- Artists of Utah
This "letter" was conceived late at night, the time of dreams, delusions,
and false senses of grandeur. It was not revised in the rational light
of day and so may not be suitable for all audiences.
Click here to read.
continued from page 3
Despite the varied influences in his art, Meacham seems a uniquely Utah painter,
proving once-again that the rich variety of the Utah landscape inspires and
infiltrates more than just the landscape painters. His surfaces reminds
one of relief images done by Satellite of the San Rafael. The cracked layers
of his impasto in works such as “Blue Mound People” (9’x14’) immediately
call to mind a dried out desert flood plain in mid-August heat. And the
artist’s scratchings and indentations in these once wet-now dry surfaces
are like the dinosaur tracks that are scattered across Utah’s skin – a reminder
that this unique beauty was once altogether different in its make-up.
Though many of the works in the exhibit remain purely abstract explorations
of the pleasures of creating, referential symbols do appear. “Navajo House
Blessing” remains in the same colorfield and process-created works as the
others but hints at a yellow sun, hills, trees and hogans. A sense of landscape,
of directions, pervades many of the works. “Romanian Gyspy Trail” speaks
of migrations and movements. “Land of Sirens” a huge mural piece, has a
warm mystical feel to it, the magical quality of the Mediterranean. A soft
magenta floats like a siren’s call over a pale sea of green -- like drowning
in a late summer romance.
Meacham has done his forefathers proud. He has successfully shown us that
the tactile, sensual quality of making art is primary and that color and
form and texture are sufficient to move the soul.
Layne Meacham "You Like What You Know"
will be showing until September 15th. The Artspace Forum Gallery is located
on the corner of 5th West and 2nd South in SLC -- across from Gateway.
Additions to the Site -- Artists of Utah
Corner -- Name That Piece
Art Historians of Utah Unite!!! Demand has created a new section in
Artists of Utah's Collector's Corner. Recently introduced, "Name
That Piece" provides a venue for Collector's to learn more about the pieces
they own. Collector's are invited to submit their questions about
the authorship, date, or other information about their pieces, hoping to
get input from the community at large. Take a look and see if you
can help out or put something out there with your question. Is the piece
you inherited from your grandmother an early LeConte Stewart? Find out.
Visit the Collector's