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Published monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization    
Phoenix Ostermann, photo by Zoe Rodriguez

Artist Profile: Salt Lake
Just What Is It That Makes Reclaimed Sentiment So Different, So Appealing?
The Life and Art of Phoenix Ostermann
It is hard to see Phoenix Ostermann as anything but an artist: her life embodies art in every facet, not only generally but through an aesthetic that those who know Ostermann understand as a distinctive part of the unique reality she lives and works in. Every inch of her house is covered with bright color, no wall is devoid of eclectic art and arranged curiosities; everything is one of a kind and everything is the past brought back to meaningful life … the essence of "Reclaimed Sentiment," the artist's professional sobriquet.

“As soon as I became a mom and I realized that this little person was in the world I knew that I wanted to be a stay at home mom," says Ostermann, who is exhibiting a suite of collages this month at Nox Contemporary. "But after three children it is fair to say that I also desperately wanted to be an artist.” In college, Ostermann says, she studied art history and plugged away at her studio practice, desperate to find something she was good at, but never satisfied. “After college I took up photography . . . I was always searching because I always wanted to be an artist, thinking, ‘How can I invent myself?’”

Exhibition Review: Salt Lake City

Light & Color
Dave Hall and John Collins at Williams Fine Art

Utah art, like other regional arts, has its own distinctive Modernist canon, with masters like Minerva Teichert, Maynard Dixon and LeConte Stewart using the unique qualities of their home state to achieve their own interpretations of 20th-century techniques . Teichert’s abstracted narratives read something like the structural foreshortening of the figure in much of Paul Cezanne’s oeuvre; Dixon’s graphic and segmented approach has a decidedly cubist influence; Stewart was heavily inspired by both impressionists and post-impressionists as he sought to express mood through various processes. In these various methodologies, landscape is often the subject of choice and, today, artists like Dave Hall and John Collins, two landscape painters showing this month at Williams Fine Art, boldly progress the Utah landscape tradition with unique and inventive approaches that focus on the subject synonymous with the state. These paintings are linked in an unbroken artistic bloodline of vision and inspiration that goes back to major artistic trends of 20th-century Utah Modernism yet these artists reveal 21st-century perspectives and a subjective eye.

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Exhibition Review: Salt Lake
Stalking the Night
Karen Horne's Nocturnes
Karen Horne is an “artist’s artist” if there is such a thing. She has taken all the lessons we try to absorb in the classroom or workshops – like color theory, simplification, gesture drawing, value and form, and the lush handling of paint – and demonstrates them in her paintings. Best of all, we can see and study her work right here in Salt Lake City at Horne Gallery, where her current body of work – The Color of Night – is on display through December 23 (and into January on a more limited schedule).

Armed with her camera, Horne stalks her subjects after dark all over the city. She started with performance venues, like the Capitol Theatre, Tower Theatre, and Broadway Cinema, where neon reflects off the pavement, and figures gather in the lights and shadows. Then, with the abundance of rain last year, she found reflections of lights from cars and gas stations on wet pavement compelling.

Most of her paintings include figures, sometimes little more than shadows in the dark, but their body language tells a story. “Meet Me At the Tower” is a perfect example. You might miss the figures sitting casually at tables outside the theatre and in front of the coffee shop next door. But a closer look reveals the groupings of people, meeting, waiting for the next show.

It’s the gesture she’s after in her paintings. Drawing and painting people is a skill she honed in school and practiced in New York City subways. “When I was living in New York City, I took the subway into work,” says Horne. “I worked at a museum. I would practice my drawing on the subway. Of course that means it’s a constantly shifting subject, so it made me do thousands of gesture drawings. Ten seconds to get the way someone leans. I was interested in getting the attitude of the person, what was particular about their body language in just a few marks.”

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Meet Me at the Tower by Karen Horne

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