Up and Upcoming: To The North
Exhibition Listings in Northern Utah
Julie Nester Gallery UP: Michelle Jader's Faith explores moments when we willingly and unwillingly dive into the next phase of our life.|0| Whether it’s moving to a new city, starting or ending a relationship, having a baby, or quitting a job, these moments of endings and beginnings are alternately terrifying and exhilarating. To capture these feelings, Michelle paints a series of images on 2-3 layers of semi-transparent, acrylic panels, then stacking them in front of one another to add depth and to emphasize the feeling of movement. AND: With In the Modern Idiom Tom Judd has created a series of paintings that capture some of the iconic industrial design images of the 1960’s and explore how time transforms and re-contextualizes everything.|1| The series is divided into three groupings of topics/images – cars, buildings and chairs.
Gallery MAR UPCOMING: Here and Abroad II features landscape work by George Bodine and Warren Neary,|2| two artists who pay attention to the subtle effects of natural and artificial light, paintings scenes both close to home and in exotic locations. AND: Imprinted brings together Maura Allen, a printmaker who interprets the new west, and Mary Scrimgeour, whose naif paintings are filled with animals, vehicles, clothes and food.
Kimball Art Center UP: Cut & Paste: Painterly Collages, new works by Linnie Brown. Through mixed media layers of collage, paint, and drawing, the artist examines the balance between natural and man-made imagery.|3| In a life full of tension, negotiation and opposition, the artist’s interest is in how resolution can occur and the variety of forms it can take. The work records the journey of different ideas and materials fitting together, creating a new image that is neither one nor the other, but a little bit of both. AND: Chihuly Venetians, works from the George R. Stroemple Collection, an exhibit of over 60 pieces that focuses on the artist's fascination with Venice.|4| The exhibit includes bottle stoppers, Putti Venetians, Piccolo Venetians, drawings and the Laguna Murano chandelier. AND: Inspired by the beauty of the natural world filtered through the lens of memory and imagination, artist Shannon Troxler creates paintings with encaustics. Playing with molten wax and gold leaf has allowed her to approach classic subjects, the landscape and wildlife, with a fresh eye, and delight in the abstract elements of line, gesture, texture and color.
J GO Gallery UPCOMING: Winter Sol: Annual Gallery Renewal Group Show featuring significant new work for the 2013 season. AND: SPARKLE: Annual Art Jewelry collection unveiling, featuring innovative contemporary art jewelry, locally made chocolate truffles and bubbly.
Terzian Galleries UPCOMING: Marketa Sivek.
Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art UP: LUX is an exploration of how artists have used light as a medium or subject matter. Several large pieces will focus on artists featured in the Pacific Standard Time exhibitions from Los Angeles who are considered to be the leaders of the light and space art movement of the 1970s. |5| AND: Adventures in the West features majestic landscape photos by Ansel Adams and Brett Weston, and explores the rugged, historical, and dangerous qualities of the western world portrayed in Jack London's writing. |6|
Eccles Community Art Center UP: Still Life Invitational in the Main Gallery with local artists: David Estes (SLC), Robin L. Farr (Ogden), Jerry Hancock (Ogden), Linda Lee Shimmin (Vernal), Steve Songer (Huntsville) along with the fantastic teapots of Victoria Acoba (SLC). AND: The Carriage House Gallery will feature the work of local artists with the Artist Invitational/Holiday Boutique. These artists will provide a variety of art media including paintings in watercolor and oil, original linocut prints, sculpture, glass, jewelry as well as seasonal soft sculpture.
AND: The Ballroom gallery will be exhibiting a themed exhibit The End of the World through the Eyes of the Artist.
WSU DOVA UP: Fall 2012 BFA Thesis Exhibition.
BDAC UP: A seasonal favorite since 1974, this year's Annual Holiday Show & Sale features the works of about 75 of Utah's finest artists. This will be the last exhibit in the Main Street location. In early January, BDAC will move to the Davis County Memorial Courthouse (28 East State Street) in Farmington until the renovation of BDAC's permanent home in Bountiful is complete.
Western Heritage Art Museum UP: Nativities,
a varied assortment of holiday Christmas Nativities graciously loaned by patrons of the Museum for this display. Each year our Christmas Tree reflects the theme of our annual exhibit.
LeConte Stewart Masterworks
Perhaps the most insightful statement about LeConte Stewart in this very lovely book of over 300 paintings and works on paper -- with five accompanying scholarly essays -- is made by the publisher in his brief foreword. “He was very durable,” writes Gibbs Smith,|1| who knew the artist from childhood (his mother took painting lessons from Stewart). And durable he had to be, to live to the age of 99 and create almost until the end of his life.|2| He “painted in all kinds of weather, even as an old man,” Smith continues. His output, as a result, was prodigious and, until long into his career, rarely short of brilliant.
Stewart was this state’s Edward Hopper to those with a background in art history, its Andrew Wyeth to everyone else.|3| No one could deny his capacity to deftly convey what was essential about rural Utah and make it beautiful if a little wistful to behold, to take what he called the “mystery of the desert” and make it rich and approachable, to turn our mountains matchless and majestic. There was surely genius. But durability was perhaps one real key to his unique, beloved place in Utah art history. Smith writes that he hopes “this volume will help further assert LeConte Stewart’s importance in the history of American Regionalist painting.” If it is widely read, and it should be, it will do that and more.
This is first and foremost a picture book, as all good art books should be. And it succeeds handsomely on that level. The reproductions are crisp (though you don’t see brushstrokes), Ron Stucki’s design enticing, the typeface inviting and easy to read.|4| The plates are divided into a dozen sections, with titles such as “I Love Barns” and “I Stand in Awe and Reverence.” There are the landscapes, of course, but also the temples and churches, the boxcars and railroad depots, the abandoned storefronts, the little white house in Peterson, near Morgan, painted for us in every season. There are sketches, works done on site and in studio interspersed with well-chosen quotes from Stewart, his wife, former students, Wallace Stegner, Walt Whitman and others.
Mary Muir, who knew the artist as a friend and is one of the foremost experts on him, addresses Stewart’s education and major life events from grammar school through the Art Students League and his work with Tonal Impressionism at some length including the development of American Tonalism from various European roots. A couple of photographs in this chapter aren’t sufficiently captioned (where, exactly, is Stewart in that group photo at Coopers?) and a muddy picture of the artist from 1913 isn’t in keeping with the standard of the rest of the book. The essay offers information invaluable to understanding the artist. Muir states, for example, from an interview, that Stewart experienced an isolation, a loneliness, following the early deaths of his mother and siblings “which all my life I have yearned to put down in paint.” That’s insight, too.
This book stemmed from a dual exhibition of the artist’s work held in 2011. Robert Davis was curator of the LDS Museum of Church History and Art’s LeConte Stewart: The Soul of Rural Utah while the eponymous Depression Era Art was at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts under curator Donna Poulton.|5| Both have essays in the book.
Davis thoroughly covers Stewart’s life, training, artwork and legacy in a meaty, conversational essay focused on his rural landscapes. It’s excellent. He states, helpfully, that Stewart’s style was a composite of Impressionism, Tonalism and Realism “mostly as practiced by American artists from 1900 to 1940.” He also points out that for Stewart, “Nature and landscape, God and religion, creative activity and truth . . . these were all part of the same whole.”
Poulton writes, in her comfortable, informative style, that following the 1913 Armory Show (which we learn Stewart attended) the search was on for an authentic American art. Maynard Dixon and Hopper thought this could only be found in the environment and Regionalism was a result. She questions whether Stewart’s landscapes can be strictly categorized as Regionalist but urges that his Depression-era paintings do fall under Social Realism and can be compared to those of Hopper.
Psychologist James Poulton writes about the viewer’s emotional responses to Stewart’s work (two of the most important having to do with beauty and melancholy) and addresses theories “pertaining to the influence of an artist’s psychology over the creation of a work of art” as applied to him. This is interesting stuff.
Vern Swanson,|6| who just retired as director of the Springville Museum of Art, in his own inimitable and erudite fashion, tells us that Stewart was Utah’s “greatest land/townscape painter” by virtue of “quality, significance and enduring popularity.” In an astute essay, he places the significance of the artist’s work in perspective and ends by stating that Stewart’s painting began a gradual decline in the 1950s, “a steady diminution of his powers” that lasted through the end of his life.
It took a village to make this book. The panoply of Utah’s art community in the acknowledgments should be noted before turning a single page. We are indebted.
It’s a mesmerizing volume, a real page-turner, perfect with a glass of Cabernet or a cup of cocoa at hand and an afternoon to while away.