Artist Profile: Provo
Thinking Around the Box
Exploring the periphery with Steven Stradley
“My paintings come out of my love/hate relationship with Modernism,” says Utah artist Steven Stradley. “Modernism pigeon-holed itself, I think. [Clement] Greenberg pigeon-holed it as he had all of those ideas about painting as a flat surface, ideas about painting super-imposed upon the work that maybe did not involve the work itself.” Stradley is in his St. George studio, where he is preparing for an upcoming exhibit at CUAC in Salt Lake City. Close up, what Stradley is working on seems to come out of a Greenbergian handbook: stripes of flat color, one next to the other. Pull back, though, and you see that Stradley is painting this on a long narrow panel that spans two walls, a hint at the type of expansive Modernism Stradley is exploring in his current work.
Exhibition Review: Salt Lake City
Through the Eyes of Alfred Lambourne
A nineteenth-century view of Utah's "Inland Sea" at UMFA
The nineteenth-century Utah artist Alfred Lambourne (1850-1926) loved Great Salt Lake. Nestled within a basin, the body of water he referred to as his “inland sea” was his source of adventure and joy, his faithful companion and as such, his preferred place for solitude. His relationship with the lake spanned decades, resulting in a body of work that rivaled and sometimes surpassed his contemporaries. Lambourne’s body of work was varied, as he sketched and painted the lake from multiple vantage points. At the same time, his paintings focused on his favorite aspects of the lake: travel by boat, soaring birds, and of course the ever-changing water, sky, and atmospheric phenomena of the lake.
Exhibitions Review: Salt Lake City
Stephanie Leitch at UMOCA
“Money doesn’t talk; it swears” — Bob Dylan
Money does a lot of things, and like swearing, they can be good or bad. Consider twenty-first century art, for example. Money attracts talent, and with unprecedented amounts of money flowing into the art market, there is so much wonderful art being made that people in Seattle, Boise, or Salt Lake can focus on their local art scene and not have to feel they are missing out on direct access to the ‘real’ art being made somewhere else. Skill, wherewithal, and the opportunity to pursue inspiration are all attributes of this endowed moment. Witness the installation by Stephanie Leitch at UMOCA: the skill Leitch brings to bear on her complex and challenging idea has produced a work offering immediate aesthetic pleasure on first encounter, going on to occupy a place in the memory and imagination for reflection and reconsideration.
Of course, no amount of money can change the importance of first-person experience: the actual work directly massaging the senses, reshaping memory, and sometimes—not always—making a viewer think. What then, of another of the products of so much money, which has been a new bureaucracy inserting itself between the audience and the art? Thanks to them, interpretation is routinely treated as if it were the sole reason why art is created, instead of a common response to a work with its own—visual—reasons for being. One of the things these bureaucrats do is fight for control of meaning. In the process, interpretations are invented and imposed, and the audience is urged to see through someone else’s eyes.