Visual Arts

Video Art from Utah: Utah X/1 on Main Street

As video projection technology becomes more sophisticated as well as less expensive, video screens are becoming ubiquitous in the urban landscape, serving principally as more versatile advertising spaces than the traditional still image on a billboard or shop window. In the hands of the right user, however, the same tecnology that makes our world more crass can be used to make it more creative.

In its Sidwalk Cinema series, the SLC Film Center uses video projection technology to push culture rather than commerce. With outdoor screens and speaker systems located outside its offices at 122 South Main, and down the street at 260 South Main, the Film Center is reaching outside the confines of indoor exhibition spaces to interact directly with the walkers, drivers and riders of our urban landscape.

Anne Watson, curator of UTAH X/1, is taking advantage of the Film Center’s initiative to launch an investigation into contemporary video art being created in Utah. During April and May, UTAH X/1 will screen works six works by four video artists living in Utah: Brian Patterson, Peter Stempel, Amy Caron and Kerri Hopkins.

The videos can be viewed from the sidewalk, the street and the TRAX station platforms, and are being screened in the evening, when parking is free and the sky darker. The first four videos, by Patterson, Stempel and Hopkins, premiered during the March Gallery Stroll and continue to be screened every day from 6:00 – 6:30 pm and from 8:00 – 8:30 pm. The last two, by Patterson and Caron, will begin screening on April 17 and continue through May 15.

Though related in some respects, each video reveals a unique artistic sensibility. Patterson, who has created three works for UTAH X/I, is still pursuing his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah but already shows great promise according to Jill Dawsy, curator of modern and contemporary art at the University of Utah.

Peter Stempel, a Michigan native, lives and works as an artist and architect in Virgin, Utah. While his career has spanned the disciplines of ceramics, public art and photography, his current work is united by a concern for the physical experience of intangible things, space and time. His approach to video is painterly, and takes advantage of the temporal aspects of the medium.

Kerri Hopkins is an independent media artist originally from Buffalo, NY. She received her BA in Media Study form the University of Buffalo in 2003 and her MFA in Film Studies from the University of Utah in 2008. She shoots in both film and video and takes control of her work by using hands on image processing, often shooting one frame at a time.

In addition to the video art, the exhibition includes taped interviews with Jeff Lambson, the curator of contemporary art at BYU’s Museum of Art and with Jill Dawsey, the curator of modern and contemporary art at the University of Utah’s Utah Museum of Fine Arts., discussing video art generally and these works specifically.

Amy Caron was born in Vermont and lives and works in SLC. She is also a dancer and performance artist, and while you’ll have to wait until April 17 to see her video, you can experience her performance piece, Waves of Mu, this weekend (see below).

In addition to the video art, the exhibition includes taped interviews with Jeff Lambson, the curator of contemporary art at BYU’s Museum of Art and with Jill Dawsey, the curator of modern and contemporary art at the University of Utah’s Utah Museum of Fine Arts. We suggest going to the 8pm screenings as the video screens are easier to see. While the noises of the city — fluttering pigeons, construction cranes at the City Creek project and the passing TRAX trains — can add to the viewing experience of some of the videos (especially Patterson’s “Lights Out”) they make the commentary difficult to understand. So, we’ve provided the commentary in the video clip below. For the videos themselves, though, you’ll have to venture out of the house.

Categories: Visual Arts

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