Sylvia Ramachandran teaches ceramics at the University of Utah. She is included in the faculty show at the UMFA this month as well as Terra Nova’s Great Things/Small Packages exhibit in Provo.
1) What are you reading lately?
Right now I’m reading James Trilling’s Ornament: A Modern Perspective While I was in art school, I found that anything decorative or too visually pleasurable was usually treated with suspicion. Trilling has some interesting ideas on how these attitudes came to be and what they say about our cultural values.
2) What hangs above your mantel?
Over my mantel I have a print of Wyeth’s “Master Bedroom.” I keep meaning to replace with one of my own canvasses, about four of which have been stashed in my claw-foot bathtub for the last ten months, but I ran out of time about the same time I ran out of storage space. It always seems ironic to me that as much time as I spend thinking about design in my teaching and art making, I have a hard time managing the aesthetics of my own living space.
3) What artist, living or dead, would you choose to paint, sculpt or photograph your portrait?
As far as having another artist do my portrait, I have fantasized on occasion about having a photo session with Richard Avedon, not in his fashion photography genre, but in his later, more straightforward approach. I’m impressed by how these portraits, while they often appear unflatteringly honest, still seem to show so much compassion, so much care in the observation. To me, those two qualities — honesty and compassion — feel like a gift and a miracle when they happen together in a work of art.
This is our chance to check in with members of Utah’s art community to see what they’ve been reading, seeing, doing.