Artist Profile: Salt Lake City
Crafting a Life, Discovering Clay
The life and art of Karen and Paul GladstoneAfter working for the big boys in Manhattan, running a farm in Wisconsin, and operating a restaurant in Salt Lake (who can forget the neighborhood favorite Brumbies?), Karen and Paul Gladstone have retired and discovered the joys of working in ceramics. Karen, President of Clay Arts Utah, and her husband Paul, both work in clay and their styles illustrate the broad range of forms that are possible through the medium. In this month's video profile the couple discuss their lives and art — find out why this east coast couple made the move west and how they went from making concoctions in the kitchen to creations with clay. Watch Karen as she throws clay at the potter’s wheel to create a functional vessel while her husband Paul pinches and bends his clay into abstract sculptures of branching, organic forms that offer an intriguing view from any angle.
Exhibition Review: Salt Lake City
Transitions in Art and Theatre
Julian Sagers at Artists of Utah's 35x35 and Matthew Ivan Bennett's Eric(a)
Artists have always loved transformation. Shakespeare’s plays are full of characters who hide behind masks or switch gender roles. And for Renaissance artists, Ovid’s Metamorphoses was second only to the Bible as source material. Contemporary artists also deal with metamorphosis, but the transformations are much more realistic and the outcomes not merely matters of comedy or mythology.
Engaging with issues of sexuality and gender roles, these artists create artistic dialogues that impact legislation, spark meaningful debate and enhance general understanding. In two events this month, local artists bring that dialogue to Salt Lake City.
Through Plan-B Theatre Company’s current production, resident playwright Matthew Ivan Bennett asks “What does it mean to be a man?” He tackles the complex question in his latest work and world-premiere Eric(a), a one-person play that directly engages the audience in a provoking piece filled with challenging questions about gender, relationships, and self identify.
Exhibition Previews: Salt Lake City
Lightening the Load
A new generation uses humor in art
How many Contemporary artists does it take to change a lightbulb?
Cognitive science has made great strides in understanding how the human brain works, going so far as to guess how the survival value of its operations may have favored their evolution and retention. But one ubiquitous human behavior rarely seen in the animal world continues to resist theoretical explanation: humor. No one knows why something is funny or what, exactly, a joke does for those who laugh. One thing that is clear about humor is that the worse things are, the more likely it is that someone will lighten the load with laughter. So it should come as no surprise that today’s young artists, better educated than ever before but with few job prospects, facing a potentially apocalyptic future, and this on top of the timeless disrespect of those whose only advantage was to have gotten here first, sometimes mock their predicament. Of course, in the wider world an element of scorn often drives the joke. Solemn, portentous works still crowd the galleries, many of them crying out to be taken down a peg. A welcome leavening of disrespect is evident in the work of some of our newest artists, but instead of blatant sarcasm or outright mockery, preferences run to subtler takes that foreground the natural humor in the human predicament—the kind to be found in plain sight for the artist sensitive enough to spot it, and clever enough to call proportionate attention to it.
Four. One puts on a blindfold and throws lightbulbs against the wall; two paints burned out bulbs blue; three dons a sweater and explains to a lightbulb lying on a couch that meaningful change must come from within; four, tagged as curator, explains to visitors what it all means. The artists take turns being the curator.
Well then, how many visitors to an art gallery does it take?
Two: one to change it and one to say, “My five-year old could do better!”