Artist Profile: Salt Lake City
Seek and Ye Shall Find
Hadley Rampton at home and abroad
When Hadley Rampton travels she is drawn, she says, “to the old places. There is history there. When I travel that is what really intrigues me, that is what really excites me… and I also really love history. I want to get to what the truth of these places is.”
These travels come back with Rampton as series of watercolors, scenes of people and places, from broad city squares to intimate town corners. Rampton is probably better known, however, for her oil paintings, large-scale works that reflect her love of the outdoors and share with the watercolors a strong architectural underpinning and a masterful use of color. Both are on exhibit this month at Salt Lake City’s Phillips Gallery.
A local girl, Rampton grew up in Salt Lake City, where she began drawing by copying the images in her mother’s art history books. She had an active youth, filled with ballet, tennis, swimming, track and plenty of times outdoors. She studied art at the University of Utah, where she says she became a bit too formal for her liking. Her study of architecture gave her a strong grasp of structure and perspective and the ability to render near perfect lines, but she wanted to loosen up. She was principally a figurative painter when she left school, and it was during a trip to Italy, when she was wandering the streets of Florence, that she realized she wanted to be a landscape painter. She has stuck to that path, pursuing her version of truth whether exploring the mountains of Utah or traveling across the lesser-known parts of Europe.
Exhibition Review: Salt Lake City
Exhibit of contemporary printmakers features work by some of the greats of the post-war period
Under Pressure: it's the title of a Queen/David Bowie song, whose opening riff was famously not ripped off by Vanilla Ice (aka Robert Van Winkle); it is what we are in this modern world; but most importantly (i.e., most relevant to what you are reading right now), it’s the anemic title of the exhibit currently showing at the Utah Museum of Fine Art through January 14, 2014. Anemic because the title lacks the same throbbing pulse as the show itself. The pieces collected in Under Pressure span the last five decades of printmaking (get it? pressure…printmaking) culled from collector Jordan D. Schnitzer’s expansive personal collection. The exhibit has four stops: Nebraska, Kansas, our own 801, and Montana. Schnitzer graciously and enthusiastically lent, without any fees, this fragment of his personal collection to the traveling show to provide people the opportunity to experience some of the best artists of our time.
Event Review: Salt Lake City
Staging the Self
Martha Wilson at the UMFA
The Gaze: glass half-full . . .
If you wanted to demonstrate that there is such a thing as a male gaze, different from the way a woman looks at the world, you might assemble pairs of photographs, one in each pair displaying a man’s perspective, one a woman’s. Mount them without labels, let the audience guess which is which. If they guessed correctly, your case would be made. If, however, your pairs showed as much difference as those on display in The Gaze, as arranged by Martha Wilson on the second floor of the UMFA, you might be accused of cooking the books. Surely no actual, random humans would display such blatant differences. One uses his camera, his charm, and the vanity or trust of his subject to take pictures that will allow him later, safely isolated, to stare at her breasts. The other uses her camera discreetly, shooting at a distance or from behind, to study the dynamics of groups of men, women, and children together. This has to be a setup, and a rather clumsy one at that.
But wait: the photographers are identified elsewhere on the wall. Curator Martha Wilson has chosen twenty actual photographs, ten each by the prolific documentary-style photographers Garry Winogrand and Helen Levitt, and let them make her case. After viewing the entire exhibit, surely anyone can see the difference between how this exemplary man and woman see the world, and, because each bears the imprimatur of prestigious artistic and commercial institutions, they must be on some level typical of how everyone sees. From what we see here, men scour the world looking for brief reproductive opportunities, while women seek collaborating communities capable of sustaining the result.