The Springville Museum of Art’s Spring Salon is the largest annual exhibition of work by Utah artists in the state. More than 1000 works are entered for consideration each year. From these, the museum manages to hang several hundred on their ground floor galleries. The Salon is too large, too heterogeneous a show to try to make sense of as an exhibition. So, taking inspiration from something Bob Olpin wrote for us years ago, we invited our writers to choose a few pieces that struck them, for whatever reason, and write about them.
A piece of art is like a fingerprint. Even if two artists use the same tools, processes, inspiration, and subject matter, each finished piece, no matter how similar, will display subtle differences because each artists’ experience is their own and, whether they like it or not, their work is stamped with their unique signature of personal perspective developed throughout their life.
Rose Dall’s “I Was, I Am” utilizes relief typography in contrast to her two-dimensional self portrait. A hand, formed of strong brush strokes, pulls Dall through a cacophony of negative talk and stereotypes that threaten to drown her; her face breaks through the debilitating wave to be embraced by positive phrases of who she really is, her worth, and her essential presence, illuminating the powerful need of a helping hand that people so often struggle to reach for.
Kent Ricks also tells a personal story of his life through splashes of transparent acrylic paint that resonate of the beauty of the life lived and the rest to come. The soft tints and flow of one color into the other give a sense of tranquil movement of contentment. Where faint greens meet translucent pinks, a hint of a skull profile emerges, blurring the lines between life and death as they harmoniously merge one into the other in “de la Renta.”
“Jennifer,” a bronze casting of a woman’s torso decorated with a chain of Journey Beads, with a relaxed left hip creating an S-curve is evidence of the artistic journey traveled by Stefani Kimche. Skillfully sculpted, and just one of 20 casts, “Jennifer” represents much more to the artist than a senior project completed thirty years ago. Adorned with the glass beads, she represents the struggles, joys, and all the events in between that made Kimche the artist she is today.
In contrast, Makennah Aagard uses a mixture of weaving and embroidery methods to capture one moment in time in “Meadow.” The fluffy fibers could be reminiscent of lush grasses, babbling streams, and cloud-cast shadows that give way to cool breezes, protection from a blaring summer’s sun. The varying techniques and yarn Aagard incorporates allude to the natural variances of nature. Grasses, flowers, and other foliage grow in unique patterns, multiple sizes, with individualized textures and shapes. An organized chaos of random beauty carefully balanced in aesthetic elegance.
Other pieces, rather than representing the personal reality of the artist, strive to speak for the struggle and the wisdom of others. Booker Tueller captures a moment of relief and rest in the gestural sculpture “Indolent Sigh.” Pamela Beach gives voice to Brynn’s story in her portrait “Sticks and Stones.” Jared Clark, perhaps paying homage to the kitsch ornaments that can often be found at grandma’s house, used such objects sticking them together in different directions in his pieces “Kitschbild” and “Spring Vase.”
“Orange You Glad,” painted by Abigail Palmer is a declaration to choose happiness each day, rather than saying “banana” yet again. Trent Alvey uses poetry to describe her “Green Dreams.” In “Meehanite,” Cliff Holm uses industry in metal and the geometric sharpness of art deco to create a piece that he allows the viewer to interpret for themselves.
Every piece captures something undeniably personal that belongs to its creator. Hints of lives so differently and similarly led. Proof that the human experience is not so solitary, and not the same as anyone else’s either.
99th Annual Spring Salon, Springville Museum of Art, Springville, through July 8.
Karilee Park is currently studying art education and the impact of an artistic identity. She creates using a variety of mediums such as drawing, poetry, and bursting into random song in public.