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    November 2008
Published monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization
Painting by Marcee Blackerby

Artist Profile: Salt Lake
Life Assembled
The Art of Marcee Blackerby
by Geoff Wichert

No one really knows what makes a person become an artist; talent apparently can sprout in almost any circumstances. Then again, if the seed thrives, it may well feel possible to discern how an artist's work grew out of the particular events of her life. If there were a poster child for this autobiographical approach to art criticism, it might well be Marcee Blackerby. For her part, Blackerby, who only took up visual art in the latter third of her life, recalls once upon a time being told by a doctor, after she had survived another of several near-encounters with death, that medically she qualified to be the "poster child for everything." Contemplating the contribution to Modernism made by the posters of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, with their collaging together of disparate graphic modes and representative styles, there does seem to be a direct line of descent from there to the assemblages of Marcee Blackerby.

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Exhibition Review: Cedar City
Memory and Experience
New Works by Fiona Phillips' at the Braithwaite
by Andy Marvick

An intriguing group of new oil paintings and related pieces fill the main rooms of the Braithwaite Fine Art Gallery beginning November 6th. They are the recent work of Fiona Phillips, a member of SUU's adjunct faculty in art who completed her Master of Fine Arts at the Vermont College of Fine Arts earlier this year.

The show is dominated by a large collection of figurative scenes grouped under the title Reconstructed Memory. These canvases explore the theme of loss and nostalgia, focusing mainly on Ms. Phillips' memories of her mother, personal objects associated with her, and the family's photographic archive.
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Notes for Bob & Bill
Flowers & Feuds
The Utah Arts Council's Early Years
by Shawn Rossiter

Part I: Alice Merril Horne's Flower Power
Alice Merrill Horne loved flowers, and she knew how to use them: as decor, as subjects for her paintings, and as tools for political persuasion.

Though Horne is best known for her work as an advocate for Utah art, she was also a talented artist, recognized at the turn of the last century as one of the leading floral painters in the state. After completing a degree in pedagogy at the University of Utah, Horne took an interest in art and studied with J.T. Harwood and others. Her association with Harwood and her brief career as a teacher are what led Horne into her short-lived, but very fruitful political career.

In 1897, Harwood and his boyhood pal, Edwin Evans, were causing a stir with the state board of education. They objected to the method of drawing then taught in the public schools, named for its architect and chief proponent, D.R. Augsburg . The issue was important enough to them to keep the fuss going for over a year, resulting in a lively discussion in print and three-hour long debates in public. In the end their crusade was successful and in September of 1898, Augsburg was replaced as supervisor of drawing in the public schools, and Harwood was rewarded for his efforts with the position of art instructor of the high school.

This was only the beginning of the Utah artists' political activism. While Harwood was taking on his new position as art instructor, Horne, likely emboldened by her colleague's successes, had sought and won the Democratic party's nomination for a seat in Utah's third legislature. The largest plank in the thirty year old's education-minded platform was the creation of a state-funded organization to foster the fine arts. In November the Democrats swept Salt Lake County, and Horne immediately sat down with a legislative committee consisting of Harwood, Evans, H.L.A. Culmer and Mrs. Franc R. Elliott (who had replaced Augsburg), with an eye towards the 1899 session.

Once she took her seat on January 9, 1899, Horne, almost immediately submitted her bill for consideration. By the last official day of the part-time legislature, however, the Utah Art Institute bill had still not been voted on. So as Senators and House members made their way into the halls of the Salt Lake City and County building on March 9, Horne pulled posies from a large box on her desk and pinned bouquets on the lapels of her fellow legislators. "This, of course, made favorable action upon the measure obligatory," the Salt Lake Tribune commented somewhat sarcastically the next day, "for what man can resist a woman's wiles." Horne's bill had been redrafted in the Senate, and after some squabbling over the exact name of the state art collection mandated by the bill, the Senate voted 10-5 to make into law the Utah Art Institute (now the Utah Arts Council), the first state-run arts organization in the nation.
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