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

Artist Profile: Salt Lake City
The art of Lindsay Frei

Shocking. Profane. Beautiful. Inspiring. These are but a few of the vast and diverse adjectives used to describe contemporary art. As a figural painter and photographer, Lindsay Frei has intentionally blurred the boundaries of such classifications, creating work that is both skillful and intelligent.

An undeniable talent marks Frei’s work, evident in the technical rendering of her subjects. What sets her work apart however, is an added layer of ambiguity and mystery that pervades the experience of viewing it.

It’s been a busy year for Frei, who in addition to graduating with her MFA in painting from the University of Utah this May, has participated in a number of solo and group exhibitions. Although she has been working professionally as an artist for the past several years, a definite momentum accompanies her recent work. Her paintings and photographs of tattooed figures, caught in moments of undress, vulnerability and movement, have resonated with audiences around the Salt Lake Valley, evident by her award for “Best Edge-y Art” in City Weekly’s recent “Best of Utah” edition.

Exhibition Review: Park City
Power in the Image
Picturing the Iconic at the Kimball Art Center

This summer, The Kimball Art Center (KAC) abandoned its longtime location in Old Town Park City, a decision resulting from a dispute with city leaders about what was architecturally appropriate for the resort town's Main Street and the Kimball's long-term plans for a new permanent home. KAC has temporarily relocated to a former church on Kearns Boulevard, where they will continue their programming and exhibition schedule for at least a couple of years while they wait for their permanent structure to be reconceived and built.

The transformation of an iconic structure for traditional religious worship into one of secular, artistic worship, is emblematic of the type of manipulation and transmutation that is at the heart of this first exhibit in KAC's new space. In Picturing the Iconic, 90 works from the foundation of Portland collector Jordan D. Schnitzer, by artists like Bruce Nauman, James Rosenquist, Keith Haring and Andy Warhol, have been packed into the former chapel in an exhibit that is dense with associations. The works are primarily prints and works on paper, many of which show technical experimentation that belies what is often considered a secondary or inferior medium: John Baldessari's "Stonehenge (with Two Persons)" — in which the faces of the tourists have been obscured by circles, and the famous landmark reduced to cutout forms — has been printed on handmade paper so thick the iconic form seems a glued-on addition; Claes Oldenburg's 1968-1970 "Profile Airflow (Axom & Platzker 59)" combines a cast polyurethane relief of the car over a lithograph print, to make a work that is as much sculpture as it is printmaking.

Exhibition Review: Salt Lake City
A Rain of Discord
The 2015 Statewide Annual: Video, Digital, Photo, Craft

One of the Old World’s grand definitions of art—that art is craft in the service of inspiration—seemingly went out of service when fashionable insistence by artists on absolute creative freedom trumped the audience’s taste for demonstrations of skill. But the pendulum continues to swing, and ironically enough, new, more sophisticated media intended to give artists ever more freedom, such as video and the use of computers, have paradoxically re-imposed discipline on the process of making art. The Utah Division of Arts and Museums’ Statewide Annual Exhibition has responded by adding video and computers, wherein precision of execution is as vital to the finished work as its content, to the photo and crafts segment of their rotating exhibition categories.

John Tavoian demonstrates this renewed importance of skill with “Dissonant Introspection,” in which a slyly punning title accompanies necessarily precise implementation. The work begins in visual play, being about the size and shape of a soccer ball, which its geometric form—technically a truncated icosahedron—duplicates. Here, though, each hexagonal face displays an exotic hardwood, each pentagon (but one) features a metallic texture, and the edges are covered with mitered metal strips held in place by screws. Off-the-shelf hardware contrasts with the patinated brass, even as these industrial finishes sound a complex chord with the wood. The one open face confronts viewers and invites a closer approach to look within, whereupon the show starts. A mechanism filling the interior whirls into motion, music-box hammers producing loud, discordant chimes. At the same time, lights come on to reveal a mirrored interior, so that an apparently infinite space, filled with an equivalent number of spinning gears, whirling wheels, and pounding hammers becomes visible. The view intrigues, but further exploration is stymied by the realization that the face at the window is causing the commotion. Introspection leads to dissonance. Philosophically speaking, it’s art as sharp as Occam’s Razor.

John Tavoian's Dissonant Introspection at the Utah Statewide Annual, at Rio Gallery
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