Exhibition Reviews | Visual Arts

Utah Arts Alliance Hosts Annual U of U BFA Exhibition

by Kent Rigby

In May, graduating senior students from the University of Utah’s Department of Art and Art History will present their work at the annual Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibit, hosted this year by the Utah Arts Alliance, at the Utah Center for the Arts, 2191 South 300 West, Salt Lake City. The exhibit begins Thursday, May 4, and extends through Friday, June 3.

The annual BFA Exhibit is traditionally organized by a committee of student volunteers and held at a venue away from the University campus. David Pendell, professor of ceramics, is this year’s faculty adviser to the committee. More than 90 students have been invited to submit works for juror Anthony Siciliano’s consideration. Siciliano graduated with a BFA in art-photography from Weber State University and with an MFA in photography from Arizona State University. He is an associate faculty instructor at Westminster College, an adjunct faculty instructor at Salt Lake Community College, and an image editor at Borge Andersen Photo Digital in Salt Lake City.

After jurying the entries Siciliano commented, “There does not appear to be a recognizable direction among these works; however, the strongest pieces are the ones where the artist maintained a consistent vision throughout the execution of the work. The most exciting works are the ones that employed different media. The number of entries is fairly evenly distributed between the different disciplines of painting and drawing, print-making, photography and 3-D.”

Each student was able to submit three entries, which might make Siciliano’s task seem daunting. However, Siciliano, no stranger to the jurying process, got immediately to work and made quick order out of seeming chaos. More pieces were ultimately accepted than rejected.

Exhibit standouts include: 

Mason Fetzer’s “Anne and John,” spray paint and acrylic on Plexiglas, a colorful mixed-media piece that has a sense of mystery about it.|0| Anne is placed in the foreground and appears apprehensive as she begins to look over her shoulder toward John, who seems to be stalking her. The images and background are painted on three layers of Plexiglas, which provides physical distance between the figures, already psychologically distanced. Some rather ornate and flowery brushwork in the backgrounds is suggestive of romance, at least, in the mind of John. Anne seems more apprehensive than interested. The layers of Plexiglas are bolted together and hung with wire cable.

Rachael Bomingo’s two large canvases, “Sacrifice,” and “Untitled,” are abstract and painterly works, with an attractive “sketchy” rendering technique. The grounds have a matte finish, providing a decidedly contemporary texture. “Untitled” depicts a dancer in the foreground with a young woman’s face in the lower background, looking up at the dancer. This piece also has some strong psychological content. The dancer’s face is obliterated and a few red paint smears on her dress suggest some violence has occurred. The painting expresses the idea that principal dancers have been known to “claw” their way to the top.

Michelle Candrat’s “Reach for the Sky,” is a very competent etching, showing a good knowledge of the media, solid technique, and a steady drawing hand. The outdoor scene depicts several species of trees and bushes, tightly rendered, and with a nice color shift in inks from a rose tint at the bottom to a pale sky blue at the top.

Daren Young’s three paintings are all well conceived and painted in a strong representational style. In “WINO…Why No Wine, Oh,” Young has crafted a nice 3-D tableau.  A cutout young adult male holds a wine glass as a wine bottle and plastic grapes sit on an actual protruding shelf. On the shelf is a map, while in the background, a California wine country scene is rendered. The impression is that of a yuppie out on a wine-tasting excursion, having a wonderful time. Window moldings serve as picture frame.

In Stephanie Geerlings’ “Device,” mixed media, a sewing machine is connected, by threads, to a patchwork quilt constructed “Home,” surrounded with a fence made of curtain hangers. The top of the sewing table has been covered with paper that has a green texture, suggestive of a yard. The sculpture is suggestive of family values. The sewing machine is representative of the traditional stay-at-home Mom and the threads are indicative of the ties that bind the family unit together.

Martin Campbell’s “Walking Tall,” wood and metal, rounds out the 3-D category with a well-crafted pedestal sculpture. The abstracted female figure, constructed from various hardwoods, stands atop a “high-heeled” shoe. A functioning hinge at the chest area allows the viewer to pivot the top part of the torso upward. The action is suggestive of a mouth opening and closing in empty or “silent” speech.

All in all, this is an attractive show that showcases the young talents that will establish themselves as the new crop of “emerging artists.” It’s well worth seeing.

The BFA exhibit is hosted by the Utah Arts Alliance, at the Utah Center for the Arts, a nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization with a wide-ranging mission. UAA was founded by executive director Derek Dyer to help fill some of the gaps created by ever reduced funding for arts and arts education. UAA provides access to many arts programs for children and adults, as well as alternative art venue space. The UAA also serves as a liaison between other arts-related organizations, to facilitate networking systems that can ultimately benefit many artists.

The 9,000-square-foot Utah Center for the Arts is available for rent by the day or hour. Artists can use the large open space for many diverse purposes such as working on large-scale projects and photo shoots. The space may be used for events such as meetings, weddings, parties, and film screenings. Private studio space is also available on a limited basis (See 15 BYTES April 2006 edition).

The current Center schedule is quite full and includes such diverse offerings as, Brownrice Modern Dance Theater; Capoeira – Kids Intermediate and Teen/Adult; Speed Pour; Raffa Dance Class; various Belly Dance classes; SLC Photo Group; Jago and Eriuka Salsa Group; and Incendiary Circus Fire Arts Class.

At UAA, just about the only limit is your imagination. Visit the BFA exhibition this month and see for yourself what the UAA is all about. The opening reception for the students will be Saturday, May 6, from 6 to 9 p.m. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. The public is invited free of charge.

For more information, contact: Derek Dyer, executive director, Utah Arts Alliance. Email: 
utahartsalliance@yahoo.com (801) 651-3937

UTAH’S ART MAGAZINE SINCE 2001, 15 Bytes is published by Artists of Utah, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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