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    August 2011
Published monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization    
Brian Swanson at Gallery 24

Artist Profile: Teasdale
Art to Live With, Art to Laugh With
The Life and Art of Brian Swanson

It’s impossible to keep a straight face while viewing Brian Swanson’s faces: whimsical masks constructed of odd, found metal bits and pieces, bearing titles as funny as the pieces themselves. Brian calls the masks “sketches,” casual spinoffs of his more formal furniture. Both forms share a delight in surprising the viewer with unexpected forms created from repurposed materials.

Exhibition Review: Salt Lake City
Spirit of the Land
LeConte Stewart landscapes at the LDS Church History Museum

“Painting is more than expressing the appearance of things, it is expressing the spirit of things,” said LeConte Stewart regarding his relationship to his art form. This goal may explain why the prolific Utah artist was so drawn to the landscape, the subject of the current exhibition at the LDS Church History Museum, The Soul of Rural Utah. Mounted in conjunction with the Utah Museum of Fine Art’s LeConte Stewart: Depression Era Art (the subject of a future review), The Soul of Rural presents 130 paintings and works on paper, many of which are being exhibited for the first time. The paintings date from his earliest days and show that it was in the landscape that the artist “found himself” and his artistic voice. The Church History show is a tour de force of Stewart’s own moods, a personal exhibition, revealing his prolific abilities as an artist and his depth of feeling.

As curator Robert Davis explains, Stewart was a formally strong artist. “His achievement as an artist arises from his ability to visualize accurate relationships of form and colors while also grasping the sense and meaning of the subject.” The entire show could be analyzed in critical terms of relating the formal and the structural, but experiencing the art in person breaks the viewer free of that temptation, allowing him or her to enter in to Stewart’s own experience of the spirit of the land. One very strong example is Stewart’s use of a nocturnal subject in "The Midnight Express," 1917. An early piece, the panel in oil is two planes of blue, the land and the night sky with flickering light on the horizon and a smudge that might be the illuminated puff of train steam. Anyone of the Kaysville area might feel the mood of this scene very deeply, the vastness of the land, the chill of the air, the pummeling sound of a steam engine all enveloped in night… this was painting to be experienced.

Exhibition Spotlight: Park City
Spiro Arts & Kimball Art Center's Mentoring Program

Artists at work are doing many things. They are in the process of creating something meaningful while at the same time improving themselves as an artist and honing their craft, searching for the best way to express themselves in a way that feels authentic. If they are fortunate they can find a mentor to offer them guidance and wisdom, words of advice from someone who has been there and who can impart genuine instruction for developing a career. This is the model for Relevant, an artist in residence program developed through a partnership between Kimball Art Center and Spiro Arts.

For ten days 12 artists at the undergraduate or graduate level congregate at Spiro Arts, a non-profit organization that is part of the Silver Star community in Park City, Utah. Here the residency participants are given studio space and housing. Each one is paired with a professional artist who mentors them as they create a piece that will be showcased and sold via auction at the Annual Park City Kimball Arts Festival Opening Night Gala on Thursday, August 4. The mentors will also have a piece in the auction and both residents and mentors will exhibit their works in a show in the Kimball’s main gallery through September 11.

The program, now in its second year, draws its vision from a Park City arts enthusiast who changed the face of the arts community in the famous mountain town. “The original inspiration started with Bill Kimball, founder of the Kimball Art Center, with the philosophy that no one of talent should not not succeed through lack of opportunity," says Robin Marrouche, Kimball Art Center Executive Director. "That gave me chills when I first heard it." Relevant, she explains, also began with a question: “How can we create something for visual artists that is just as compelling and useful as Sundance is for emerging filmmakers?"

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Artist Ryan Ruehlen at Relevant 2011

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