Artist Profile: Salt Lake City
The Comic Grotesque
Howard Brough makes the work of a lifetime
For years, Howard Brough helped artists hang their work at the Salt Lake City Library. Measuring twice before nailing, righting a frame with a level, carefully adjusting lighting . . . scores of local artists can attest that Brough's work was meticulous. But by his own admission it was not always wholehearted. "It was great to be around this interesting work," he says of his years as gallery director, "but you say to yourself, 'I’m not producing, I’m too busy working to pursue my own work,' and you can’t help but feel some resentment that someone else is able to.”
Now, two years into retirement, Brough returns to the Gallery at Library Square with an exhibition of his own — dozens of works in graphite, ink and paint on clayboard, gessoboard and canvas, all executed in a style that makes them appear like the comically grotesque spawn of Sophocles and Daffy Duck. In a sense it is a retrospective, even if all the works are new: the output comes from a lifetime of art that was never set free. It is a chance for an artist whose career was put on hold for decades to consider his earliest as well as his current interests, to intertwine their accrued and overlapping meanings into visual metaphors that in Brough's case are full of charm and surprise.
Art Professional Profile: Salt Lake City
The Mechanism of Art
Anne Cummings and Art as Social Action
“I focus on the aspect of art that is the mechanism,” says Anne Cummings. “The mechanism of art can be a transformation, a transcendence, and through that transformative process is healing,” she says. “Through channeling different memories — the process of creating art — there is opportunity to tap into a very deep sense of self and feeling and explore that in a realm that does not require language.”
Cummings has been exploring this process for many years, as an artist, a curator and a gallery-director; and as she finishes up a Masters of Social Work this year, she plans to expand that exploration to include therapeutic practice. That doesn’t mean she has given up her curatorial practice, however, as her Gods, Heroes and Monsters exhibit opening later this month at Studio Elevn will demonstrate.
Originally from the UK, Cummings came to Utah fifteen years ago when her father accepted the Directorship of Education at the Salt Lake Diocese at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Her parents have sinced moved on (to Oregon) but Cummings, who earned a bachelor’s in English from the University of Utah, and who has worked for both the Park Record and JES Publishing, decided to stay in her adopted home.
In 2007, along with business partner Heidi Gress, Cummings launched the non-profit yet highly advantageous-for-all-parties-involved institution (a)perture. In addition to a traditional marketing firm, the business has also been home to an exhibition project, whose aim has always been bi-focal — to provide exposure for local emerging artists while doing good in the community.
“Aperture was a nonprofit, rewarding endeavor that rather than commissions through sales, part of the process was identifying with the artist a social cause that spoke to their personal cause and spoke to their work,” Cummings says. “In lieu of commissions, donations were made to that cause. It was a fantastic way of creating a dialogue through art for social justice.”
Exhibitions Review: Ogden
Korean Vision at Whitespace Gallery
Hyunsung Cho did something artists have traditionally been expected to do: he saw something on the street—it happened to be a mailbox—thought of his parents, then went home and made a work of art about it. Because Cho works in glass, he was able to create a luminous bubble, fragile as thought, that mimics the profile of the mailbox, then wrap a picture of what he saw around it. In walking around in order to see all of “Before It’s Too Late,” the viewer does something akin to what the original urban scene would have required: revolving 360 degrees. The two motions—standing still and turning, or walking around something that stands still—serve as physical analogs for each other. The glass on which the scene is painted is a vessel, an allegorical letter home: its contents meant as much for his parents as for us. And while the bell-like shape resembles the mailbox, it expands slightly at the top, suggesting the way his feelings may have expanded within his chest as he thought about them. The pale colors and lack of background details give the rendering a ghostly quality suited to memory, a thought that is reinforced by the ghostly shape: round on top, open on the bottom, like a sheet thrown over a child on Halloween, or a floating bubble of ectoplasm.
Cho is one of eight Korean-born artists whose works are on display at Patrajdas Contemporary, within the Whitespace Gallery in Ogden, through May. Some of them live in the United States, while others choose to remain in Korea. In keeping with their native tradition, each makes work that is technically ambitious, through which he presents content—themes and values—meant to showcase his individuality while making clear his connection to society at large. Among the most striking, in spite of their comparatively conventional technique, are Jong Seok Yoon’s paintings of items of apparel, thematically chosen and then folded to mimic iconic objects. “To Live”—a shirt folded into the shape of a canine head—and “A Net Hanging Down”—an athlete’s team shirt folded into a gun—make compound statements through thousands of painstakingly-applied, 3-D color dots.