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"Giving everyone their fifteen bytes of fame".
September 2002
Page 6
"Covered in Sawdust"                                                           .  .  .  continued from page 3

KK: 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?

biomorphic DD: As Joan aptly indicated, I had developed my visual language long before seeing 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.  kingkings 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?

DD: Most 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 of art. 

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.

port 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
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 
Now More Than Ever
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.

Layne Meacham
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 

Collector's 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 Corner.