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Published monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization   

Linnie Brown, photo by Shawn Rossiter. Utah artist Linnie Brown stands in one of the last remaining stretches of open space near her home in Lehi.

 

Artist Profile: Lehi
Rewriting Places
Linnie Brown creates work that reflects our complicated surroundings

It goes on all over our country — housing developments sprout up on the outer rims of our suburban areas, attracting young homeowners looking for the amenities of suburban living along with the promise of open spaces. In a few years time, though, those fields and prairies are consumed by new development, so that a young family once living a semirural existence may quickly find itself packed into the middle of suburban sprawl.

Utah artist Linnie Brown knows this experience well.

Brown grew up in just such a neighborhood, in Hillsboro, Ore., a town 20 miles outside of Portland that was once on the edge of the countryside.  Over the past three decades, however, companies like Intel have established campuses in the area (their Jones Farm campus in Hillsboro was a farm recently owned by, yes, a Mr. Jones) and Brown’s childhood home has become part of a dense suburban area.

Something similar is happening to her in Utah. When she and her husband first settled in Lehi over a decade ago, their neighborhood on the east side of I-15 bordered an area of farms and open space that to the north extended as far as Traverse Mountain (which at the time was home to little more than jackrabbits and hang gliders). Over the past decade, and especially in the past few years, her almost-rural subdivision has been surrounded by new developments, which now extend north of a very busy SR 92; where once the Lehi Block Co. was the only business you could see from the highway, large office complexes like the Adobe building are sprouting up along what is being called "Silicon Slopes."

Since Brown’s work as an artist has always been concerned with the intersection of the natural and the humanmade, she has paid close attention to the type of suburban sprawl that has grown, metamorphosing around her on a daily basis. It is the central focus of her new work now on display at Art Access.

Exhibition Review: Orem
Listening to the Distance
Yolande Harris at the Woodbury Art Museum

If the entire goal of Yolande Harris’ multiroom installation, Listening to the Distance, was to integrate sound and visual media into unified works of art, she’d be late getting to the party. Twenty-five centuries ago, Greek thespians wore masks and danced onstage while the chorus sang responses. In the 19th century, Richard Wagner proposed the Gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art, that would provide a comprehensive synthesis of all the arts, which he meant to achieve in the opera house, but which promise may have been most nearly fulfilled by the modern IMAX 3-D movie. But as her overall title suggests, Harris isn’t so much interested in a new form of multimedia as she is in upending the way we use our senses. And yes, while she begins with hearing, the several silent works here demonstrate that the implications cover the range of human sensations.

There are eight distinct works, some standing alone and others sharing space. Some provide ambient sound, produced by loudspeakers and variously audible throughout the gallery, from a comfortable listening volume near the visual elements they accompany to a whisper in remote rooms. Some of the sounds come from headphones, which at times are found on a table, while at others they hang provocatively in space. “Pink Noise (The Pink Noise of Pleasure Yachts in Turquoise Sea)” features a shifting image of sunlight reflecting off water that is projected on the floor. The headset hangs above its center, requiring walking into the projection as if standing on a boat and looking around at the sea—or walking on the water without benefit of boat. The soundtrack was recorded in the same place as the film was shot, providing a multi-sensual experience nothing like ”virtual reality”—the holy grail of computer projection—but evocative of a much more personal and polymorphous, open-ended encounter.

Yolande Harris at the Woodbury Museum of Art
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