Artist Profile: Salt Lake City
For What It's Worth
The life and art of Tony Smith
He’d rather show his work at Smith’s grocery store on the Avenues – galleries don’t agree much with Frank Anthony Smith anymore. But you can see his latest drawing, “The Big Tiny,” in a show opening January 16 in The Gallery at Library Square.
He told me last year during a studio visit that the library “kind of treats the drawing like a sacred papyrus. Which it kind of is to me, and answers the four main questions people always ask . . . How long did it take? How much is it worth? What does it mean? And, is it art?”
He looked forward to going down to the studio several days a week to work on the piece—then about the size of a card table and a half, as I recall. At 75 you can do whatever you want to do, he said. He has a few things in his daily life he needs to take care of, and he does, but the rest is drawing and his beloved golf. He started on “The Big Tiny” six months before I visited and planned to work on it until it was all filled in—another six months or the rest of his life, whatever it takes, he said. Smith explains that he is trying to do what the Cubists did and bring out the negative space in the drawing to the forefront.
Exhibition Review: Salt Lake City
Randee Levine's new work at Phillips Gallery
With Randee Levine it is hard to tell what comes first, philosophy or art. Levine’s art is an extension of herself, a physical manifestation of the psychological process and understanding that has brought meaning and awareness to her personal life, and has become central to her professional life as well. In an exhibit that opens this month at Phillips’ Dibble Gallery, Levine is showing more than 10 major works in which she reaches a congruence of psychological being and artistic form infused with expressive process.
Levine grew up in the Bronx and Yonkers, the child of first- generation parents from a Jewish Russian background. She studied fine art at State University of New York at Purchase, followed by the standard struggling artist stint in NYC: she waited tables, sang in bands and did visual research for designers. She also met Tully Cathey, a musician who had ties to Utah. “We decided we didn’t want to stay in New York; he had some connections here because his parents were ‘transplants.’ We decided to move here, it was great here, and developing the connections, and the gigs that I got,” she says.
Exhibition Preview: Salt Lake City
Like Nothing You've Ever Seen Before
Larry Revoir’s vocabulary of annihilation comes to Finch Lane
Today’s artists come of age in a thicket of appropriation, whether it’s the quotation of a famous artwork, like Marcel Duchamp’s drawing a mustache on a postcard of Mona Lisa, or pop music made from sampled, previous hit songs. So it came as no surprise when, in April of 2014, the familiar profile of a tobacco smoker’s pipe, underlined by a brief French text, appeared on the campus of UVU. The victim, Belgian Surrealist René Magritte, would not have been surprised to see yet another borrowing from his celebrated 1929 painting, “The Treachery of Images,” in which the line beneath the pipe translates “This is not a pipe.” At UVU, however, where the image identified the location of a temporary art exhibit, the line had been changed to mean “This is not an art gallery.” Behind it lay a small campus rebellion, politely done and with faculty supervision, as befits Utah rebels. The show’s goal, as faculty supervisor Courtney Davis explained, was to give students, who were usually restricted to studying conceptual art in their textbooks, a chance to make and install conceptual works of their own. The sharper point of the sign, though, as student Larry Revoir explained to the media, was to recall how UVU’s art department has to function without its own gallery.
UVU does operate the Woodbury Art Museum, located two miles off campus in the University Mall, but the Woodbury doesn’t function as an art department gallery. Instead, students wishing to see their work displayed there must be juried into the Museum’s calendar of exhibits. That opportunity came soon enough for Revoir, who a month later saw his ceramic sculpture “Touch” accepted into the Woodbury’s Art of Our Century. “Touch” displays a technique also favored by Salt Lake City artist Colour Maisch, in which the artist saturates a flammable object, in this case a fuzzy, stuffed toy animal otherwise impossible to copy accurately, with diluted clay, then fires it to burn out the textile original and solidify the reproduction.