Salt Lake City artist Craig Cleveland, who studied fine art and design at USU and the Art Institute of Chicago, tells us: “Love is an action. Love is a verb. Love is a noun. Love is. Love is a word, and words and their letterforms have played heavily in my recent body of work called ‘Spam Haiku: Visual Verses on Consumerism & Other Mythologies.’
The works in this series, he says “are titled and composed from collected ‘spam e-mail’ subject lines, with the typographic form used as object to generate abstract shapes and spatial relationships. A limited color palette of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) was employed as a reference to the colors used in print media.
“Additionally, an ‘icon of consumption’ was incorporated into each work, a visual metaphor to our consumer-driven culture. The icons were selected for each piece in response to the respective title and subject lines.
“In ‘butterfly robot hieroglyph solid child rope window (spam haiku #7),’ I juxtaposed iconic components of Disney and ancient Egyptian culture. ‘Mickey’ representative of one way our children are targeted as consumers, and the ‘Eye of Ra’ reflecting a now-extinct civilization.” This and three other pieces are part of “rePOPulated” on exhibit through March 29th at Denver’s Arvada Center for the Arts. Craig adds, “Perhaps future societies will look back at our manufactured kingdoms with strange fascination.”
He continues: “In our extremely talented Utah community, I love the rich painting and visual metaphors of Brad Greenwell. He explores iconic imagery, juxtaposing the classical with contemporary, and the institutional with the commercial. By his own description, Brad is a ‘self-taught artist,’ interested in perception, the construction of identity, and the play of action vs. awareness. He creates paintings within paintings and beyond. Brad’s work speaks deeply to his philosophical and spiritual perceptions and challenges viewers to explore their own.”
A graduate of the University of Utah, Ann Poore is a freelance writer and editor who spent most of her career at The Salt Lake Tribune. She was the 2018 recipient of the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Artist Award in the Literary Arts.