Al Denyer came here from England, a place celebrated for its paradigmatic topography: hills and dales, lakes and rivers, cliffs and footpaths. Since she departed that small country — physically for the expanses of Utah and cognitively for even larger landscapes, like the Amazon rain forest — her […]
Geoff Wichert has degrees in critical writing and creative nonfiction. He writes about art to settle the arguments going on in his head.
Decades before the Covid pandemic, when Climate Change was a theory only scientists and those who value their work accepted as truth, artists were already calling themselves “canaries in the coal mine.” There were past centuries, when little was understood about air quality and the effects of gasses like carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide on the atmosphere and beyond, when miners took caged canaries down with them. Even if the miners felt fine, if the far more sensitive canary lost consciousness, it meant the air was bad and those digging were in danger.
Sometime in the 1980s, an edition of Douglas H. Thayer’s Summer Fire was published bearing a jacket blurb, written by Orson Scott Card, reading, “I have never read a better Mormon novel.” His calling it a “Mormon novel” makes Summer Fire a problem for a critic like me, […]
Sixteen months ago, art galleries were among the social venues that shut down in the face of the Covid pandemic. Now they’re successfully reopening, primarily for small or solo shows. More challenging is a survey, like Face of Utah Sculpture, now in its 17th edition, which presents logistic […]
Aside from Greg Ragland’s many outdoor installations in several states is a series of intimate, hyperrealistic portraits of animals, many but not all of them birds. He depicts them among highly abstracted fragments of their natural environments that may initially appear as gestural, almost calligraphic swirls of rich […]
Not every artist gets to see herself become the solo subject of a television documentary, let alone one that takes a retrospective look over her art and its critical reception by one of the nation’s best-known and most-cited journalist-critics. But then Jean Lowe is not just any artist, […]
Heresies of Nature, Margaret Blair Young’s 2002 novel about a Mormon family gripped by a chronic, unpredictable illness, begins with a bit of authorial slight-of-hand. A narrator’s voice and an author’s voice are easy to confuse, and Young takes advantage of it by starting out as herself, speaking […]
The semicircular handle of a wicker basket frames the angelic face of a young woman, which is doubled by reflection from the silvery surface of its contents. A pair of blue-gloved hands supports the basket’s bowl, while concentric pink ovals of satin and roses, a pink lace bow […]
News that one of the world’s most exciting landscape painters has moved to Utah, adding the Rockies and Wasatch mountains to an already stunning resumé, sounds a little like saying another ship full of coal has arrived in Newcastle. After all, no other paintable subject is more popular […]
In a few weeks it will be ten years since Jorge Rojas first showed his art in Salt Lake City, bringing him to 15 Bytes’ attention and eventual inclusion in Utah’s 15. Since then, as one of the foremost arts activists in Utah, he has alternated between showing […]
“He could have been almost anything he wanted, but he chose to be a bad artist. Nobody will ever know why.” The “bad artist” that Buckdancer Skinner refers to here was his father, Adam Skinner, whose disappearance and possible demise reunites his three sons, 33 year-old Jacob, 27 […]
Downy Doxey-Marshall introduces the baker’s dozen large oil paintings in Immerse, her current show in the Phillips’ Dibble Gallery, with a twice-relevant quotation from Pablo Picasso: The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. The key here is “washing,” a word that […]
In “Charity,” a clichéd old man — straw hat, glasses, cane, bag of bird seed — stands in shallow water at the beach, feeding a large gull that hovers in midair to take seed from his open hand, both seemingly oblivious to the wave: a wall of water […]
Utah artists like what they do. If any of them feels tortured, they’ve kept it to themselves. Some see their art as a prayer, others feel like telling a story. Some see art as a challenge to take on. A popular gallery like Phillips can pull together three […]
The floor of a dark room sprouts fifteen narrow white pillars, three rows of five, laid out like an orchard. Each slightly more than waist-high pedestal supports a different object; some are large and protrude into the surrounding space, balanced in defiance of gravity, while others are compact, […]