Artist Profile: Salt Lake City
Better Than Medicine
Life and art for Toni Youngblood
An architect who rescues greyhounds retired from racing; an accomplished artist who does paintings of the saxophones she plays; an environmentalist who recycles to an admittedly obsessive extent — Toni Youngblood is an intriguing woman who constantly keeps busy.
Though she works in a variety of mediums, encaustic is her current fascination, and a number of works in this medium will be on display at Bountiful’s Howa Gallery for its grand opening. Youngblood loves the colors, textures and layers in encaustic work: “I’m not tempted to do anything really representational,” she states. “You can scrape down to previous colors and then re-fuse it with a torch and that will smooth things out. But sometimes I just love the scraping marks. And it smells so good.” She lifts up a finished work for me to check out and it, indeed, has a dreamy scent. “Those honeybees,” she says, “the little sweethearts.”
Culture Conversations: Music
Early Music Utopia
Local group keeps the brilliant music of the Renaissance and Medieval periods alive and well
Six years ago Emily Nelson and Chris LeCluyse met for coffee. Nelson had heard about LeCluyse from a common friend and knew of his interest in early music. She emailed him and arranged a meeting to see if he might want to collaborate sometime. By the time they finished their coffee, Utopia Early Music was born. “We chose the name Utopia to reflect our ideal of a musical world in which anything is possible,” the two founders explain. This year, the Salt Lake City ensemble is presenting its fifth concert series.
Nelson holds degrees in voice, music history, and early music performance. LeCluyse, whose love for early music began in the seventh grade, studied voice and has a Ph.D in English. Each possesses a wide range of professional performance experience and each has a particular interest in early music. “Chris and I both have a passion for this kind of music, but there just aren't as many opportunities to sing it since it just isn't as widely established as Romantic music”, says Nelson. “I think we started the group simply to have opportunities to sing the music and share something beautiful that wasn't often heard.” LeCluyse adds, “The bottom line is that this music really resonates with us—besides responding to Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music on an aesthetic and emotional level, we truly enjoy the creative challenge of bringing this music to life.”
Exhibitions Review: Logan
Both Sides of the Coin
ARTsySTEM'S exploration of art and science at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art
It’s not exactly nostalgia that makes antique scientific paraphernalia attractive. Not usually windows into our personal pasts, these carefully crafted tools and specimens take viewers on a journey into the collective history of exploring and deciphering the only planet we know. Two artists who have mined the aesthetic appeal of these artifacts are Mark Dion and Brandon Ballengée, both currently on exhibit at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum in Logan. In Dion’s monumental “Travels of William Bartram Reconsidered “(2008)—which was also in The Smithson Effect, UMFA’s sprawling 2011 celebration of the influence of Spiral Jetty’s maker—collections suitable for natural history museums skirt the boundary between objective observation and subjective interpretation. Such academic conundrums matter less to Ballengée, who is a biologist and environmentalist as well as an artist who makes direct efforts to awaken in others his passionate concern for the living world. “Tears of Ochùn” (2012) focuses on shrimp, a popular food and so a well-known example of a vulnerable species, and, as the title suggests, links the timeless, universal experience of mourning to present-day events. “Danse Macabre” (2014) tracks the intricate interaction of a species in stress and the opportunistic parasites that are destroying it: an increasingly common story and a necessary reminder that beauty in nature can just as easily accompany death as signify life. Closer to home, “RIP Utah Lake Sculpin”(1991/2014) recalls a rite in which the artist cut the image of a local, formerly common but now extinct variety of fish out of a field guide to the species, then burned the image and placed the ashes in an urn made from a laboratory bottle. The exquisite page of engraved fish, from which Zion’s ‘share’ is pointedly missing, graphically makes the point that a subject of Utah stewardship no longer exists.
Everyone knows that truth does not belong to science alone; it’s just as much a goal of art. Yet how many know that beauty, art’s primary goal, is also crucial to science? The difference lies in emphasis: while artists may seek truth in beauty, scientists seek beauty as an attribute of truth. When two responses seem otherwise equal, scientists will choose the shapely equation or the symmetrical theory, working from the insight that we find truth beautiful in itself. The exhibition ARTsySTEM: The Changing Climates of The Arts and Sciences, at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art until August 1st, sets out to show both sides of this coin: both the potential for scientific activity as a source of art, and art making as valid collaboration with science.