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Published monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization    


Artist Profile: Mt. Pleasant
Works Well With Others
The Life and Art of Joe Ostraff
In 2010 Brigham Young University professor Joe Ostraff received a Visual Art Fellowship from the Utah Arts Council. It was his second time. The first time, in 1993, he won for a group of paintings done with his children. He's been looking for collaborative opportunities ever since. In this video profile, an abbreviated version of a longer documentary commissioned by the Utah Arts Council, Ostraff talks about collaboration, different media and his measure for good art.




Organization Spotlight: Salt Lake
Celebrating the Printed Word
University of Utah's Books Arts Program


Ingenuity never is scarce when it comes to the final student projects at the Book Arts Studio at the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library. For example, "Hubbub," was an imaginative collaboration of two sisters – Amber and Hayley Heaton – who produced a book of poems that replace simplistic, unrealistic abecedarian sentences (e.g., ‘A’ is for ‘apple) with emotionally engaging representations (e.g., ‘B’ is for ‘bumble bug’) that clearly signal broader, more familiar spectrums of life experience. Letterpress printed, the book incorporates the classic elements of wood block and type, rubber-based ink, linocuts, and hand-sewn binding. Produced in 2004, the book is still available in limited edition through several boutique sellers.

Some projects emerge as unique tributes to the memory of a loved one, such as a book containing meticulously executed Xerox transfers of old photographs representing the home property of a student’s great-grandparents. And, yet other projects defy conventional 2-D forms. Tiny Chinese scrolls tied with a ribbon are placed in an equally tiny test tube. Another is a four-letter-word scramble flexagon. In the just concluded semester-long letterpress course, each student was expected to produce a printed, folded piece of paper which then would be added to an origami masu class portfolio box.

Exhibition Preview: Salt Lake
Take It or Leave It
The enigmatic Deborah Brinckerhoff at Phillips Gallery
Last year Denis Phillips remarked to me that a successful work, “allows the viewer to look at something and let it take them wherever it may. We all come from different places and our minds are all oriented in different ways.” Non-objective works like Phillips’ can be good catalysts for such exploration; but even works with reference to form, like the paintings of Deborah Hake Brinckerhoff, can be open doors to communication -- a requisite for any good art today.

When I learned Brinckerhoff would be showing later this month at Phillips Gallery, I set my course for the top floor of the Guthrie Studios to get to know the artist and understand her work -- which invites and challenges with the same swoosh of the brush. I wanted to understand how she approaches a blank canvas and with her personal iconography transforms it into a composition that will ultimately create, in her words, “a free flow between the painter and the viewer.”

Works of art can be understood both by logic and sensibility, but with Brinckerhoff the latter is by far the more useful. “I am aware that my work is fueled by emotion and when I create a figure I know that body just can’t do that,” Brinckerhoff told me. “I’m not trying to make any statements with my paintings but for me the painting is more about the energy and less about what it looks like.” The subjects for the current body of large works are human figures painted with complete license and artistic freedom and are… obscure, each seemingly drawn by a different hand and by a different imagination.

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Paintings at Deborah Brinckerhoff's studio

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