Exhibition Reviews | Visual Arts

Places Within, Places Without: Mirror Images at Westminster College

by Melissa Smolley


There are places that invoke a type of deep seeded serenity within us. They aren’t necessarily the most picturesque, or even the most inhabitable, yet something about these places resonates stillness within. Such places invite inquiry and encourage exploration, both intrinsically and externally. When you find yourself at one of these places, your mind meanders across the landscape, and your thoughts are uninhibited by artificial perimeters. The Great Salt Lake is one of those places. With its vast, seemingly endless horizon that sprawls across one’s field of vision, the land persuades us to contemplate the infinite, and conversely our seeming insignificance.

The Great Salt Lake’s undulating waters of myriad and fluctuating colors, from serpentine green to alizarin crimson, incite notions of constant change. Its complex and unique ecosystem, which supports multitudes of life forms, reminds us of fragility and preservation. To the patient observer this landscape of elusive and ephemeral beauty reveals itself, incrementally, in manifold and expansive subtlety.

In a multi-media homage to the lake itself, Mirror Images: Great Salt Lake, now on exhibit at Westminster College, portrays this iconic entity from many different perspectives: photography that captures the instantaneous beauty of the lake, timeless and transitory simultaneously; paintings and drawings that illustrate the essence of the lake; and installations that enhance the dimensional reality of observing nature.

In correlation with Water Week, Mirror Images has a pragmatic aim as well. The aesthetic contribution to the week long series, the exhibit is intended to not only acknowledge the uniquely stark beauty of the Great Salt Lake, but to facilitate awareness of water conservation in Utah. Water is the most essential of all resources, and equally as finite. Although our relationship with the Great Salt Lake is not one contingent for survival, an increased effort towards sustainability of all natural resources bespeaks a heightened awareness of depletion and defilement.

The exhibition runs May 1st through the 7th, a brief manifestation of collaboration with a coherent purpose. Mirror Images: Great Salt Lake is supported by the Great Salt Lake Institute of Westminster College and is housed within the Jewett Center for the Performing arts on campus. Curated by Hikmet Sydney Loe, in association with Bonnie Baxter, the Director of the Great Salt Lake Institute, Mirror Images is a mutual endeavor that should not be missed, its value in the variety of medium, and integrity of purpose as well as its social and environmental aim.

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