Exhibition Reviews | Visual Arts

Claudia Sisemore and Friends

Claudia Sisemore filming LeConte Stewart


Here at 15 Bytes we’ve been trying our best to document Utah’s vibrant art community on film. And though over the past couple of years we’ve been able to capture interviews with a number of Utah artists, we have a ways to go before we’ll catch up with Claudia Sisemore.

Claudia Sisemore painting in her studio

Abstract painting by Claudia Sisemore, 2004

Sisemore, who has graduate degrees in both painting and filmmaking, has taught many things: English, drama, creative writing, painting, skiing and film production. But she is best known for what she has created. For fifteen years she produced educational films for the Utah State Office of Education, and in a three-decade career has filmed over 20 individual artists including LeConte Stewart, Alvin Gittins, Anton Rasmussen, V. Douglas Snow, Lee Deffebach, George Dibble, Connie Borup, Kathryn Stats, Ted Wassmer and Francis Zimbeaux. Her camera has also been focused on Utah’s vibrant modern dance community. But Sisemore is not content to simply investigate and document the work of others. She is also an accomplished painter in her own right, creating large colorfield paintings in which the influence of one of her teachers, Lee Deffebach, is apparent.

Utah artist Trent Alvey recalls being Sisemore’s student at Hillside Junior High. “I mainly remember sitting on the front row, looking up to Miss Sisemore in her cashmere sweater — she must have had one for each day of the week — and then looking down at her stiletto heels. Back then, I’d never had a Miss- teacher and certainly not one in spike heels. She was also very strict and very smart.” Alvey is one of the thirty artists that will be featured in the upcoming show Claudia Sisemore and Friends at the Rio Gallery. Other works on exhibit come from Sisemore’s peers, mentors and students.

The exhibit will also feature new films by Sisemore on artists like Denis Phillips and Tony Smith. The state of Utah has archived and made available online a number of clips from Sisemore’s films. You can view them here.


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