Exhibition Reviews

Terrece Beesley: Composition is Principal

This month at Art at the Main Layton artist Terrece Beesley brings her brightly colored and densely organized watercolors to a Salt Lake audience.

Beesley’s compositions are so animated with compositional energy that it seems difficult to call them “still” lifes. The backgrounds of her paintings have as much importance as any object that might be brought to the foreground.

The artist says she’s always looking for a good visual image. “I prefer subjects that would seem inconsequential to most people (like ice cream cones). I’ll decide on a central theme or object, then look for a way to present it differently, often adding objects that don’t belong together – a Buddha figure with wine bottles, or fruit with Chinese takeout boxes. I use newspapers and broken mirrors to provide repetition, and to keep the background active.”

Beesley’s compositions are strong formal exercises, but the subjects of the paintings do give them thematic tones. “My subjects are more light-hearted now. I must be in a better mood,” she says of the current work. As the show’s title — Summer Solstice — suggests, most, but not all, the works revel in the pleasures of summer. “Grab ‘n’ Go” throws an ironic glance at a consumer society where water comes in bottles with nutrition labels declaring “zero carbs.”

The exhibit will include twenty new pieces, ranging in size from 20″ x 30″ to 8″ x 10″. Beesley says the current works are the result of an evolution where past concerns have receded and her desire to explore composition has become paramount. “At first I was obsessed with clarity and accuracy in my paintings, painting exactly what I saw. Accuracy isn’t as important now. I am mostly concerned with the composition. Setting up, photographing and manipulating a still life takes almost as much time as painting it.”

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