Artist Profile: Salt Lake City
Patrice Showers Corneli
Creative Play with Oil Paints and Microscopes
Sometimes people associate science with left-brain activity. Not so, says Patrice Corneli, who is both a scientist and an artist and asserts that good science needs creativity. “The really creative scientists have to be right-brained – you’ve got to think outside of the box and not assume that you know everything. It’s the same with art.” Corneli has always practiced both biology and art, and particularly when she is working with the mathematical details in biology, she gets into what she calls “the altered state” she feels when making art. It’s a completely focused, serene-yet-active experience.
Kenvin Lyman (1942-2011)
Jammin' Over the Rainbow
A Pioneering Light Artist Is Remembered
It was 1968. The Jerry Abrams Headlights light show came to Salt Lake City with Buffalo Springfield. The crew needed a place to stay, and local junior high school art teacher, Kenvin Lyman, offered his place.
“I was amazed by those guys while they tested their equipment and used my walls and ceilings as projection screens,” Lyman recalled during a visit I had with him several years ago. What the Abrams crew saw as playful “psychedelic effects,” Lyman viewed as an alternative art form—using primary light in a Newtonian manner as a mode of expression.
“I’ve always had a high creative metabolism. Finding a dynamic media that could combine my interests in science and art literally electrified me. It was a paradigm shift,” he said. That is when Lyman’s life as an independent artist started to take shape.
Exhibition Review: St. George
Where are you going, Still Life
Charles Becker at the St. George Art Museum and Phillips Gallery's Brad Overton
The meticulous arrangement and stylish rendering of mundane objects is one of the first recognizable genres of painting. We gaze with incomprehension on the images of Stone Age cavemen and Egyptians, but what little survives from the first work by people like us—no Classical Greek paintings survive, but from Rome we have the murals of Pompeii—confirms the primacy and durability of still life. Romans liked to see themselves on their walls, alongside trompe l’oeil depictions of what they owned. Two millennia later we almost never paint Renaissance pageants or Baroque history, but arrangements of flowers, things to eat, and portable furnishings are very much still with us. One place to see remarkable still lifes until March 19th is at the St. George Art Museum, which is showing a large assortment of Charles Becker’s paintings. Becker is a popular artist whose works sell quickly, so only the generosity of the owners permits assembling such a satisfying occasional overview of his work.
Viewers used to thinking that still life is a miniature genre will be surprised to enter the gallery and encounter “Please Step In,” which is six feet tall and five wide. Anyone who has been frustrated by the near-invisibility of Van Eyck’s tiny self-portrait, easily overlooked in the distorting mirror on the back wall of “The Wedding of Arnolfini,” will appreciate the compound reflections of the artist’s studio in the silver pitcher that is the principal subject of “Please Step In.” They include two contrasting images of the artist that are at least 8” tall. In “On the Mark” the same pitcher appears tiny compared to the looming china platter with a bulls-eye pattern that frames it and gives the painting its name. There are no accidents in still life, and the way subjects are used or composed makes a point, whether it’s immediately apparent or not.