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February 2007
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Jim: When people want to create a space that the viewer feels a part of, one of the first things they often do is make the image large. Is that something you purposefully didn't do?

Chris: Yes. When I look at artwork, I like to walk up close to it and have my personal moment with that piece. When a piece of artwork is as large as a wall, you have to step back to really see it all. You can go in and look at the details, but as you're stepping back, you share that space with about five people and it's not a very intimate experience. So by making it small, it forces the viewer to really walk up to it and to be alone with it, and not have the five other people surrounding it.

Jim: And the fragmentation of it has to do with focusing its attention on that particular part?

Chris: The fragmentation is to draw attention to how you view something. When you're looking up and down, you might stop for a second before you move to the next section of the landscape.

Jim: In taking photographs like that, there is a certain amount of overlap, so you see the bottom of something or the top of something in one picture, and then you see a little bit of that same thing in the next picture.

Chris: I am very aware of creating tension with the overlapping. When I create that little piece of sky, [speaking about Jones Hole |1|] and then that big expanse of sky, without showing the land connecting, you're really made aware of those two forms. That is really important to make the viewer aware of that tension and that this is a progression, not just perfect, ideal movement from tone to tone.

Jim: Another thing that's happening which seems to reference a scientific kind of photography, is you purposefully don't match the tones between the prints. |2-3| These are silver gelatin prints - if you're doing this in the dark room, do you have rules against burning or dodging?

Chris: No, not at all. This body of work is not about representing what was really there accurately. Burning and dodging in the darkroom lets me use tones to create movement to direct the viewer's eye and try to help them feel a connection with the place. One of the things I love to do is to put my feet at the bottom because I think that helps a person connect with the place and think, "I really am standing there." |4| I love being in a place. I love the details and everything but I don't want to just see a reproduction of great leaves on a fall day. It's more about everything surrounding you and that's what interests me. I think that's why people like landscapes, and photographers often don't try to recreate that experience. They try to make something beautiful, but I don't think they really try to make the experience. And that's what I'm more interested in.

Jim: Now going to the Contact series. When you have all of the little numbers and sprocket holds and bar codes and stuff like that, to me that says, this is done with film - why did you put all that stuff in there?

Chris: For a couple of reasons. One is I prefer working with film and I think people automatically assume that everything is digital these days. I like to kind of throw it back out and say, you can still do a lot with film and there is still a lot of film being used. That's one reason. Another reason is the idea of evidence. I want people to know that I did shoot those in that order. And that is really important for people to realize I started here and I got here and I put this piece here for a reason. I want them to realize that it's well thought out; it's coming out of my head and my use of the camera rather than Photoshop. I also like to do things as low tech as I can which is why I wanted to make it out of a contact sheet. You don't need to enlarge it - you just take your film, you put it on the paper and expose it.

Jim: You had mentioned that in that particular work there was the idea of it being like a person who keeps a journal. In the landscape things you're also talking about the viewer having a personal experience. That strikes me as something that might be similar between the two bodies of work. It's the personal experience.

Chris: I would agree with that. The landscape is more trying to put somebody in a space and part of that is seeing things through my eyes. But I think it's more about them being in the space. The color work I would say is emphasizing how I see things and trying to put somebody kind of behind my eyes more than it is trying to put them in the space.

Jim: The subject matter in Contact is varied and ordinary, compared to the Vertical Landscapes.

Chris: The idea behind those images is to take things that are pretty much routine in my life and observe them and deconstruct them and reconstruct them for the viewer. So most of the interiors are from my house and most of the outside shots are from things I walk by daily.|5-6| It's about presenting the things that I see daily to people.

Jim: How do the individual frames relate to the whole?

Chris: I start out with the idea of the whole image that I want. And I'll try to make it a nice composition just as a whole. And as I'm trying to establish what that whole piece will be, I'll look at the details that interest me within the whole. After that, I'll just take my camera to my eye. I won't do a whole lot of preplanning. But I'll know where I want to start and I'll know where I'll want to be by frame 15. And I'll know where I'll want to be by frame 24. And I'll try and line things up as I'm looking through the camera.

Jim: To what extent are you composing each frame? Are you interested in some of them more than others?

Chris: Definitely. When I'm actually looking through the camera, I'll try to make each frame composed in an interesting way. So I'm moving things around and I'm not trying to line it up perfectly because that's not always the best option. So to an extent, I'm composing each piece to be its own individual photograph, but I want the whole to be greater than its parts. So I'll make a couple of frames boring if that's better for the whole composition.

Jim: Okay, now with the vertical landscapes, you have a particular place that you like for somebody to view them from. Is that true of the color ones or is there more of a near/far kind of a thing?

Chris: I like the near/far idea for the color pieces. I want them to come up and look at everything and see how things change over time and what the little details and the little moments are. But I also want them to step back and really see the piece as a whole and think about the thought process. And think about how you go from A to B and everything in between.

Jim: Well what would you say is the thoughts that you want people to think about as they look at the color ones? Do they have to do with the subject matter or the process of doing it?

Chris: It's more about the process I think. If I was more interested in subject matter, I'd think it would be more appropriate to do just one image that defines that thing. But with doing the multiple images especially with leaving the film base in, with all the numbers, I'm trying to emphasize the thought process. And how to experience things you do daily in an interesting way.

Christine doesn't have another exhibit planned at the moment; after these two she feels she would like to have a bit of a break from photography. In addition to her other studies, she has completed an internship in platinum/palladium printing under Richard Sullivan of Bostick & Sullivan. This is an exacting Nineteenth Century photographic process which requires that the artist hand coat the sensitized paper and has been the subject of much renewed interest in the last twenty to thirty years. Future plans may include extending her multiple image work into that medium.||

Christine Baczek's series of Vertical Landscapes is on exhibit at the Salt Lake Arts Council's Finch Lane Gallery through February 23rd. She shares the space with painter Brian Kubarycz and photographer Momoko Fritz.

Gallery Spotlight: Kayenta
Royden Card Fine Art
by Lisa B. Huber

If you aren't familiar with the brilliant colors and dazzling contrasts in Royden Card's art, you are missing a very unique artistic expression of southern Utah landscapes. Card, a native of Canada, earned a BFA in painting (1976) and an MFA in painting and sculpture with a minor in design (1979) from Brigham Young University. Card will tell you that he began his artistic journey with woodcuts, and this beginning is evident in his acrylics, which he describes his as "bright, expressionist," but with "reality in subject matter." Though Card paints more and more, he continues to be a master of incredible woodcut prints.

You can view Card's paintings and woodcuts at his recently opened gallery, Royden Card Fine Art, nestled in Kayenta's Coyote Gulch, a cluster of artist studios, galleries and cafes about seven miles west of St. George. Card decided to locate in the growing Kayenta art community after searching throughout the St. George area and deciding the Coyote Gulch location was a good price for the space available. And with vistas of the Santa Clara Bench and Beaver Dam Mountains, it is a beautiful location for an artist who thrives on panoramic views.

Royden Card Fine Art is not your typical art gallery. The first thing you see upon entering is Card's current "work in progress." The artist has combined his art studio with the gallery. His brushes, paint tubes, paint cloths, etc., are where he last dropped them -- although he says he is consciously trying to keep things tidier than his private studios. Card first saw this type of setup in the Balboa Park area in San Diego. It lends a more casual atmosphere that Card describes as "odd, unexpected." The atmosphere appears to be working. A big plus to art lovers is being able to meet the artist, which usually only happens at gallery openings; at Card's gallery, though, you can see him most days of the week.

This is Card's first art gallery endeavor and he comments that being a gallery owner presents its own set of challenges that an artist typically doesn't encounter: working with the public, keeping regular business hours and learning the value of wall space.

A philosophy of Card's gallery will be to reserve one wall for a guest artist. Currently Jenni Christensen's "Sunflowers," are hanging through February 15th. The gallery will feature Fae Ellsworth's paintings from February 17 through March 31 in a show titled Little Stories (Inner Landscapes). Ellsworth's work has been described as "wonderfully wild, thoughtful, and intelligent." She has an MFA in Fine Art from BYU and has taught both art and storytelling at the college level. She currently lives in Virgin, Utah, within minutes of Zion National Park. She combines colors inspired by the mountains around her with stories "appropriated" from massage therapy clients.

If you are looking for a break from the cold, you won't regret a weekend in the St. George area galleries, and more specifically, taking in Coyote Gulch and Royden Card's new gallery. The February 17-18 weekend is also the 8th annual "Art in Kayenta Festival" at Coyote Gulch, featuring over 90 artists both days from 10am to 5pm. The Datura and Juniper Sky Galleries will also be participating in this event. The simplest route to Kayenta is on old highway 91. Take the Bluff Street exit to Sunset Boulevard which changes to highway 91 just before Santa Clara. The Royden Card Fine Art gallery is open Thursday through Sunday from 11am until 5pm. He is also available by appointment Monday through Wednesday.||

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