by Shawn Rossiter and Kasey Boone
You have about ten days left before shows around Salt Lake City change for the May Gallery Stroll. We jotted a few things down on shows you should check out before they come down and those you should eagerly anticipate at the next Gallery Stroll, May 20th.
April has been the month of landscapes at three of Salt Lake’s better-known galleries. A Gallery, Phillips Gallery, and Horne Fine Art are all exhibiting group shows with the finest in Utah landscape artists. Our favorite at Phillips Gallery is Earl Jones. Little needs to be said to entice one in to check out this artist’s work. He is one of the most honest and most talented of our landscape painters. He paints the Utah that is all around us, even if not for long. He knows how to paint the harsh sunlight of Utah skies, something many other landscape painters shy away from. There is a particularly fine winter landscape in this present show. If you don’t like the harsh sunlight and cast shadows, Phillips has plenty of tonalist landscapes as well, from the large scale, design-oriented trees of Connie Borup to the diminuitive moody panels of Dave Hall. And for unabashed color, texture and rhythm you’ll enjoy the aspen dominated canvases of Hadley Rampton.
A Gallery is your place to go for trees, from subtly layered tonalist paintings of Brandon Cook to the lusciously slick poplars of Gregory Stocks to the close-up gnarled roots and branches of Brian Koch. For a variety of landscapes, you’ll want to visit Horne Fine Art, where you can view lush green landscapes, as in the work of Barbara Summers Edwards or the parched desert of Anthony Cox. Not to be missed are the works of Doug Braithwaite, a dedicated plein air painter whose name appears on the awards list for almost any outdoor competition in the state. He creates more depth and richness in his small, on-site works than many artists are able to do inside a controlled studio environment. This show will be up until June 3rd, so no need to skip getting your mother a gift to see it this week, but be sure to stop in before the month is out.
Allen Bishop’s exhibit at the Rose Wagner Art Center will also be up until June, but be sure not to procrastinate. Because it is not a regular gallery, the Art Center is sometimes overlooked by gallery goers, but to miss this show would be a mistake. Bishop’s works are unique in this state. Constructed of multiple pieces of wood, which are painted over in vibrant colors, his “non-objective” pieces are both painting and sculpture at the same time. And sometimes they are do-it-yourselfers, as Bishop allows some of his pieces to be reassembled in different forms. Bishop pushes the concept of non-objective painting. His paintings do not “re-present” any object in an exterior world, but they are very much objects in and of themselves. Bishop constructs multi-dimensional pieces out of wood and then paints on them in acrylic, creating geometrical designs. The result is a “painting” in search of a canvas. The wall and space around the piece become the support on which the subject floats. Bishop challenges your aesthetic perceptions as your mind tries to determine whether to relate to his pieces as sculpture or as painting.
Layne Meacham’s work, now being exhibited at the Art Barn, reaches beyond traditional painting as well. This current show features pieces inspired by Meacham’s recent trips to Colombia and what Meacham has created gives you the impression he somehow fit a chunk of wall in his suitcase. Meacham has always worked with modeling paste and other materials to create thick surface play that often resembles a peeling plaster wall. In these pieces he incorporates posters, advertisements, graffiti and other visual techniques to create his man-size Colombian “wish you were here, gringo” postcards.
If you like what Meacham is doing you’ll want to stop back at A Gallery for the May Gallery Stroll, where the work of University of Utah professor, John O’Connell will be on display. Like Meacham, O’Connell is a fan of surface, though his works tend to be slower and softer than Meacham’s. His layers lounge on top of each other, gently allowing the other’s voice to whisper through.
Art Access‘ upcoming exhibition, 300 Plates, will be THE event for May Gallery Stroll. Problem is, you need to come a day early to really know what we’re talking about. 300 Plates is the non-profit art space’s annual fundraiser. Each year a number of artists — 78 this year — are invited to create works in their signature style using the 11″ x 10″ plates. The plates are then numbered sequentially from 50 to 350, the plate’s number being its dollar price. A small selection of plates is also part of a silent auction.
Some of Utah’s best-known artists participate in this event, which means that for as low as $50 and at maximum $350, art lovers can walk away with a piece of original artwork by their favorite Utah artist. But you’ve got to get there Thursday May 19th, the night before the Gallery Stroll opening. A $25 donation ($30 at the door) will get you into this mass frenzy of art lovers hurriedly choosing their favorite piece and trying to snag a gallery employee to get the check in hand before someone else does. And don’t be fooled. When we say “mass frenzy” we mean it. Get there early. Doors open at 6:00 but a long line usually forms beforehand. The collection of 300 plates will remain on display thru June. Because space is limited, patrons are asked to RSVP in advance. For more information or to receive an invitation, please call 801-328-0703.
This article originally appeared in the May 2005 edition of 15 Bytes
The founder of Artists of Utah and editor of its online magazine, 15 Bytes, Shawn Rossiter has undergraduate degrees in English, French and Italian Literature and studied Comparative Literature in graduate school before pursuing a career in art.