Trent Call is a little bit “Disney;” Clint Call is a true Geppetto – a wizard with wood. Together, son and father have a hell of a show going down at Finch Lane. Best in show? Probably the numerous, notable, and intricate hanging kinetic pieces along the walls on which the two collaborated.
I wanted to steal the wooden automaton duck – so Brit, replete with bumbershoot and four-in-hand tie, webbed toes tapping as he waits sort of impatiently for the bus – what’s Brit for bus? Anyway, it’s a marvel. Be sure to peek inside and see the inner workings at work – every bit carved out of wood except for the screws. All the automatons are mostly unadulterated by metal, the insides visible and as artful as the exteriors and the concept. One of the “Droll Dolls” is named Lucy and she is a joy. They are very personable, these automatons by the Calls, and their feet move, too! (Semi-creepy.) Oh, bring quarters: There are art vending machines. I got a Sun God sticker. Ra. Ra.
“Reassembled Dog,” a large wooden work by Clint Call is a showstopper, so lifelike you want to pet the creature. But you probably shouldn’t, without permission. The curve of the tail, the sturdy legs, the happy face . . . a good dog.
“Brief History,” above the fireplace, represents things that Clint has enjoyed during his life. “Tools, furniture, a notebook, a used piece of wood . . .”
A Salt Lake City native, Clint Call, 74, graduated from the U of U with a BFA in 1977 (he studied under Richard Johnston, Steve Connell, Tony Smith, George Dibble – that great group of educators — and attended summer classes at the Art Barn). He holds an MFA from Montana State, and won the Northwest Crafts and Sculpture competition. He was awarded a solo show at the University of Washington in 1979. (After high school he spent six months in the Army and realized then that he wanted to pursue art.) He retired in 2019 after 34 years of designing furniture and custom architectural pieces with his partner, Janet Call, an artist who also did sculptural graduate work at Bozeman (she in metal and he in wood, says their son, Trent). Clint realized retirement meant, “I can make art again!” And so, he has been.
Several of Clint Call’s works have moving parts. Attend the Gallery Stroll reception, Friday Oct. 20th 6-9 pm, to see the pieces in action. Video courtesy Trent Call.
Looking more like they belong in the Magic Kingdom than the Art Barn, two terrific works by Trent Call flank the fireplace while others, a couple in perfect black and white (circa Steamboat Willie) and a delish work in color featuring a pink pair of shades (not even a hint of Barbie here, I don’t think but I haven’t been) and a cocktail glass can be found hanging around the walls. Take your time and enjoy them. Or take one home, if you can. The artist explains that his “neo-Pop process combines the particular and the spontaneous into a layered paint sandwich.” He stuck with cartoon themes because they seemed to work best with his father’s concepts in this show.
Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Trent Call, 43, graduated from the University of Utah in 2004 with a BFA in painting. He went to Highland High and studied under the late artist and educator Pat Eddington, who encouraged his artwork. “Pat went to college with my dad. We used to correspond after high school, we wrote letters back and forth.” (Eddington was a tireless correspondent who wrote to presidents and kings and other artists the world over and heard back from many of them.) Trent is involved in a wide range of ongoing projects around Utah including murals, zines and commissions. (He started publishing the zine, Swinj, in 1998.) His work combines formal academic painting with comics and popular culture. Trent currently works out of CAPTAIN CAPTAIN Studios in beautiful downtown Salt Lake City.
The question I forgot to ask is what made them do it? I mean, the famed local muralist – check the Utah Jazz homage at 110 S. Main Street — and painter of delicate nudes (“They’re all my friends, people that I care about,” he explains), and of crazy cartoons, says he didn’t even know about this grand scheme; his dad, who kept busy remodeling Trent’s kitchen after closing his business, was the one who put in the application last year for them to appear at Finch Lane. Janet Call designed the artist’s kitchen and Trent and Clint built it. “Growing up with my parents when I was a little kid, I remember that they worked and that they had a partnership,” Trent says.
He adds that working with his father on the show wasn’t much different from working with him on remodeling the kitchen. Apparently, collaboration is just that, whether it’s cupboards or art.
Trent Call & Clint Call: Druthers & Droll, Finch Lane Gallery, Salt Lake City, through Nov. 17. Gallery Stroll Reception, Oct. 20, 6-9 pm and Nov. 17, 6-9 pm.
A graduate of the University of Utah, Ann Poore is a freelance writer and editor who spent most of her career at The Salt Lake Tribune. She was the 2018 recipient of the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Artist Award in the Literary Arts.