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Josanne Glass in her Salt Lake City studio. Photo by Shawn Rossiter

Artist Profile: Salt Lake City
Comfortably Free
Josanne Glass finds her way through paint

Comfort zones.  We all have them.  Some get stuck in them.  Others use them to their best advantage.  Some, who may be the type to be the most regulated by regimen, habit, routine, and ritual, may have a very tight comfort zone.  Some within this category have the gift of wisdom, and are open to the receptivity of influence, are open to sound council or advice, know truth when they see it, are honest with life and their own lives. This comfort zone becomes a malleable entity to the betterment and propagation of life, happiness, productivity, and balance. This is an apt description of now well-seasoned artist Josanne Glass, who through a series of life influences, and despite describing herself as a “controlled person,” has been much in-tune with the rhythms of life. As a result, she is perpetually achieving greater and greater success as an artist, and as a human being.

Born in Maine and raised across the United States with a military father, Glass attended high school and university in northern California before permanently settling in Utah in 1979. For 30 years she was in corporate America, working in human resources at a number of firms before deciding it was time to leave. “At some point,” she said to herself, “I’ve got to do something with myself.” That was in 2007, and since then Glass has been carving out her own niche in the artistic world, a journey that continues with exhibita of fine new abstract work at The Town Club and Phillips Gallery.

Artist Spotlight: Salt Lake City
Big Impact in Raw Paint
Brian Blackham On the Art Crawl

Brian Blackham was planning to leave his Guthrie studio early last Friday – heading home to paint the bathroom as a surprise for his wife (seems an artist’s work is never done). He did, however, make time for an interview with 15 Bytes.

The couple will open their Elizabeth Street residence August 22 for the Art Access Artists’ Home and Studio Crawl, to help raise money for an essential presence in our community. Because Blackham is represented only by Dolby Chadwick Gallery in San Francisco and Prographica in Seattle, the Studio Crawl is a rare chance to see his work locally. Designer Sonja Blackham will have her vintage-style clothing on display; potter Ben Behunin and artist Nathan Florence are participating. Take the self-guided tour, ask questions, have refreshments, buy art.

I learned about Blackham from artist Carolyn Coalson a few weeks ago. She admires his paintings (he also sculpts in his two-room studio) and wanted me to find out more about him (it’s handy knowing a writer when you’re curious). The art crawl came up, and the time seemed exactly right for a story.

Culture Conversations: Visual Arts
Exploration and Intrigue
Installation in Salt Lake

By 1938, the Surrealists had concluded that not only the individual objects in the gallery, but the exhibition itself should be a work of art, and they asked ‘retired’ artist Marcel Duchamp to design that year’s International Surrealist Exhibition at the Gallerie des Beaux-arts. For perhaps the first time, instead of arranging submitted or juried works, the designer—whom today we would call a curator—would select and even provide art to place according to his personal scheme. A notorious provocateur, Duchamp chose to hang coal sacks from the ceiling in the main room, turn off the lights, and hand flashlights to viewers at the door to the darkened, cave-like space, arguably making literal the notion of art as adventure and exploration into experience and even consciousness itself. Over the following decades, this expanding concept of the exhibition gave rise to an invigorated art form: a separate, if somewhat ambiguous category of artwork called Installation.

Ideas can be new, but the facts that give rise to them usually are not. The prescribed attributes of installation were all present from the start, in the images of aurochs and bison painted in caves 35,000 years ago. They were created by artists working in situ, in response to unique, immediate conditions, and if they were to be removed from their context, they would only be diminished, losing much of their mystery and power. In fact, prior to the Renaissance, most art—think Egypt, India, Cambodia, Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages—came into being in relation to buildings or other fixed, environmental supports. According to Art Danto, the most important artistic conflict of the Renaissance was not about perspective or anatomy, but whether painting and sculpture should be installed on static altars, as they were in Siena, or become portable objects, autonomous in their own right, in the new, Florentine manner. The then-revolutionary presentation won out, and centuries would pass before the pendulum swung back. Among the early winners, Leonardo carried "Mona Lisa" with him from place to place for the rest of his life.

Ralph Helmick and Stu Schechter's Psyche hangs above the Urban Room in Salt Lake City's Main Library. Photo by Geoff Wichert
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