On the Spot | Visual Arts

Meri DeCaria

While Meri DeCaria is well-known in Utah as the Director/Curator of Salt Lake City’s Phillips Gallery and also as President of the Salt Lake Gallery Association. she is equally recognized for her work as a visual artist. Producing art in an age where social commentary and complex, visually difficult imagery are commonplace, DeCaria chooses to work in a more whimsical manner. Her paintings may even appear to be frivolous (with her use of brightly colored surfaces) but after a moment’s notice the viewer can see the nurturing of life and relationships presented on canvas. Each piece is invested with emotional presence bringing into being energy and life. Her images exalt in the space where anxiety and control collide.

DeCaria’s work was recently selected by the Utah Arts Festival as the basis for its graphic images for the 2008 Festival. DeCaria’s commissioned pieces will become part of the Utah Arts Festival’s permanent art collection and displayed at the Festival’s gallery space.

What hangs above your mantel?

My 1970 home has a funky pored rock fireplace. It’s long narrow shape and the business of the rock demand simplicity. I’m always in search of the perfect piece (is there such a thing?) but for now two abstract expressionist/minimalist paintings on paper occupy the main space: a dark red painting by Kenny Davis (where is he now?) and a lovely translucent yellow painting with cobalt at the top by Carolyn Coalson. To the left, my low hearth extends about 20″ beyond the fireplace. Above I have a stack of small works by Marcee Blackerby, Denis Phillips and David Crown topped with a Linda Pierce ‘eyeball’ built of concrete and covered with buttons.

What is your favorite building in Utah?

The Cathedral of the Madeleine; great gargoyles, dramatic positioning on S. Temple with the steep incline of B street, and the interior, I can’t get enough of all that stained glass and color. I love the bells too, I’m briefly transported to Europe every time I hear them.

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

Small French paintings at the National Gallery in D.C., it was in a side room on the main floor, an intimate space with about a hundred little gems. I’m usually not a huge fan of traditional art but these just struck me as private views into those artist’s souls.

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