Sundance artist Kent Christensen takes human obsession seriously: Like food, especially food, with an emphasis on dessert. And typically, that is what he paints.
He recalls growing up “in the orange, lemon, and avocado groves of Southern California, where I acquired a fondness for orange crate labels, pop culture, and local fast food.” Reared in the Mormon Church, he says, “with its strict prohibitions against perceived vices such as coffee, tea, alcohol, and tobacco, I gained an appreciation for the Mormon culture’s zealous overindulgence in the substitute vice of sugar.”
Christensen says his work is “a praise of Western cultural folly that cuts both ways: comforting and familiar nostalgia, in the form of food or religion, is never too far from greed, obsession, indulgence, and narcissism – especially in these times of protracted recovery from financial collapse and unsettling political and populist dysfunction.”
He is working on a large compositional interpretation of Bosch’s big triptych “Garden of Earthly Delights” in the Prado titled “ Secrets of the Great Salt Lake.” The Bosch, Christensen says, is “one of my all-time favorite paintings, and informs my tendency toward the surreal.” He sent us the color study but figures it will take another year to get the larger oil done.
Represented by Eleven Fine Art in London, Christensen is an associate professor in the art departments at the University of Utah and Utah Valley University. His gallery recently sold three of his paintings to the swanky Hotel Crillon on Place de la Concorde in Paris. One is of red Utah Jell-O.
Christensen will show the color study of “Secrets of the Great Salt Lake” and an 11” x 14” (actual size) master copy of Wayne Thiebaud’s 1994 “Three Donuts” in “Emulations,” a show of master work copies and original works by artists Brian Kershisnik, J. Kirk Richards, Susan Kruger-Barber, Faith Kershisnik, Lee Bennion and Fidalis Buehler at Writ & Vision, Provo, through March. Opening reception March 2, 6 p.m.
UTAH’S ART MAGAZINE SINCE 2001, 15 Bytes is published by Artists of Utah, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Categories: Who Do You Love