On the Spot | Visual Arts

Lelsie Peterson

Leslie Peterson has been involved in Utah’s cultural community for many years. A graduate of the University of Utah, she worked for Utah Opera in several capacities, most recently as Managing Director; she was also part of the successful Zoo, Arts & Parks Renewal Campaign. In addition to her day job as Iterim Director at the Salt Lake Art Center (soon to change, since the Center announced the hiring of a new director — check out our blog), Lesliely serves as the Vice-President of the Art Access Board of Trustees. You’ll find her at their annual 300 Plates fundraiser on May 15.

What hangs above your mantel?

The first thing I see when I walk through my front door at the end of the day are two 30″ x 44″ panels of boldly colored hand-painted silk suspended on rods side by side in my living room. I found them at an arts festival in Arizona several years ago and was immediately drawn to the vivid images and bright colors painted on the delicate silk fabric, which at the time was swaying gently in the breeze. I’ve always loved textiles, and appreciate the warmth, texture and dimension they bring to a room. The images are both exotic and mundane: one is entitled “In the Country” and depicts a woman harvesting in a field under a hot sun; “Turquoise Pitcher” suggests a leisurely domestic moment. The artist, Mary Kuder, uses spontaneous and generous strokes to convey her subjects.

What is your favorite building in Utah?

While certainly not the most dramatic example of architecture in the city, one of my favorite buildings is the White Memorial Chapel. Nestled across from the imposing State Capitol building and next door to the Council Hall, home of the Utah Office of Tourism, it’s a modest church, a duplication of an original Latter-Day Saint ward built in 1849 in the early Utah Gothic revival style. Parts salvaged from the original structure and used in the 1980 construction include the steeple, cornerstone, window frames, doors, benches, pulpit and the stained glass window. The chapel boasts an impressive view of the Capitol Building, City Creek Canyon and the city, and is a frequent destination when I’m out for a walk. Today it is used for non-denominational services and receptions, and ten years ago my husband and I were wed there.

What is the most memorable exhibit you’ve seen recently? 

On a recent trip to Toronto, I visited the Royal Ontario Museum where, faced with the difficult decision of choosing just one exhibit to peruse within a short period of time, was delighted to see the touring show, Drama and Desire: Japanese Paintings from the Floating World 1690 – 1850. Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the exhibition features a wide variety of works that invite the viewer to experience the worlds of kabuki, tea ceremonies and the theatre, populated by deities, emperors, geishas, dragons and serpents. Delicate brushwork also depicts everyday life: beautiful women adjusting their hair in a mirror for an evening out, reading letters from a lover, or engaged in preparations for a village festival. The exhibit provided a unique opportunity to catch a glimpse of a stylish and alluring period of art captured by some of Japan’s masters of the 17th to 19th centuries.

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.

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