Exhibition Reviews | Visual Arts

Some Things We Noticed at the Spring Salon: Allison Stosich, Walker Boyes

A sculpture by Alison Stosich featuring two bronze-painted hands positioned in a clasped gesture. The detailed and textured hands are lifelike, with visible wrinkles and contours.

Alison Stosich, “Eye Opener,” bronze

The exhilarating, devastating, and undeniable truth at the center of the art world is that everybody’s taste is different. In many cases, what is good or even great to one viewer barely registers with another, regardless of any of a thousand distinguishing factors between each artwork and each viewer. It doesn’t matter whether the viewer is a high school student on a field trip, a parent getting their young child out of the house, a devoted patron, or a well-respected juror. Every set of eyes are different. It’s no secret that competition for a spot in the Springville Museum of Art’s Annual Spring Salon is stiff in a normal year. The 100th anniversary of the Salon has not been normal: with almost 1,500 artworks submitted and barely enough space on the Museum walls for a fifth of that, the jurors faced a daunting task. 1,500 different jurors could have evaluated 1,500 worthy artworks and created 1,500 spectacular Salons. As far as my sanity goes, I’m grateful the decisions were left to someone else.

No matter what you might think of those decisions, it’s an almost certain guarantee that every visitor to the Spring Salon will find something to love, even if it’s never the exact same piece for the exact same reasons. Let me tell you about two of my favorites.

The first is Allison Stosich’s “Eye Opener,” a bronze cast of a woman’s hands framing an open eye. The hands and eye are rendered with unbelievable delicacy and detail. Every dimple, wrinkle, line, and slightly grown-out nail bed is on full display. You could pull an accurate set of fingerprints from it if you tried. When I look at it, I am convinced that if I am very, very quiet, I will see the eye blink.

A close-up view of a sculpture by Alison Stosich, showcasing detailed and textured bronze-painted hands. The fingers are curled slightly, emphasizing the realistic wrinkles and contours of the skin.

 Detail from Alison Stosich’s “Eye Opener”

I have two hands and two eyes. I use them all day, every day. But for the most part, they are invisible to me. I think about them only when my hand cramps, my skin cracks, or my eyes squint to pick out the words on a page. But now, I am mesmerized. I map out the dimples, wrinkles, lines, and slightly more grown-out nail beds of my own hands. I look at the hands and into the eyes of friends and family and try to see them like Stosich does, as masterpieces we carry with us wherever we go.

The second artwork is “Boy in Gold” by Walker Boyes. I wouldn’t say I believe in love at first sight, but I think I experienced something very close the first time I saw this piece. “Boy in Gold” is an embroidered half-portrait of a man in three-quarter profile. It took more than 136 hours to create. It is bursting with vibrant colors—lemon and ochre, carmine and coral, cornflower and cerulean— and textures knotted and woven and strewn with bugle, seed, and crystal beads. No matter the angle, light catches on the thread and beads and makes the artwork glow.

When I look at Boyes’ masterful combination of a hundred different colors and a thousand different stitches, I marvel that any artist is capable of taking their palette and bringing those colors to life with every brushstroke and every stitch. When I finally manage to tear myself away from “Boy in Gold,” Boyes has changed not only how I experience his art, but all art.

Utah is packed with talented artists bursting with skill, vision, and instinct. The Salon walls could have been packed with worthy artworks a hundred times over and I would find a hundred more favorites that change the way I see the world and make me rave like a lunatic. I’m sad I can’t see every piece. I’m grateful I get to see any at all. I hope Utah artists never stop creating.

An intricately embroidered portrait by Walker Boyes depicting a man with red hair and a beard, wearing a gold-colored shirt. The background features a blend of floral patterns and butterflies, with a dark, textured backdrop.

Walker Boyes, “Boy in Gold,” embroidery

100th Annual Spring Salon, Springville Museum of Art, Springville, through July 6

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