This Friday, December 3rd, Utah’s newest space for contemporary art in Salt Lake opens with a group show entitled Prime: The First Exhibit. Works by John Sproul and his wife Emily Plewe, the forces behind Nox Contemporary, will be joined by Shawn Porter, Jen Harmon Allen, Tom Aaron and Tyler Spurgeon to inaugurate the 1,800 square-foot space.
“The goal of the space is to expose challenging contemporary art to the Salt Lake City market,” Plewe says about the gallery. “There are some really exciting things happening here right now. Nox Contemporary will build on that momentum.”
Sproul and Plewe are both well-known artists in Salt Lake’s art scene. The couple relocated to Salt Lake from Los Angeles seven years ago, and have continued to pursue their artistic careers while raising a family. For most days Plewe watches the children while Sproul operates a wholesale retail business. They save a couple days a week, as well as late nights and early mornings, to pursue their creative impulses in the studio space they share at the back of their property in Salt Lake. Somehow they also manage to find time to take an active part in the local art community. They hold a monthly art salon that attracts twenty-plus artists, professionals and collectors every month. And last year Sproul founded the Utah Foster Art Program, which connects more than 100 community members and businesses throughout the state with the work of local contemporary artists, and continues to serve as its director. “Through the Foster Art Program, I found a lot of quality artists that either were not being shown or were being shown very little that needed to be,” Sproul says. “Similarly, I discovered a lot of people who, once introduced to contemporary art, developed an interest in it. Nox Contemporary is one more means of bridging that gap.”
For a venture like Nox to survive Sproul and Plewe will also have to find a way to bridge the gap between their busy schedules and the demands of a gallery. Sproul’s decision to house his day job and the gallery venture in the same building may be key to their success. He recently relocated his warehouse space to a non-descript brick office complex a half block west of Pioneer Park. He’ll be able to operate his business out of the back while the majority of the property is given over to 1,800 square feet of gallery space in two rooms. The largest of the rooms has very tall ceilings that will allow the sort of installations and performances few venues in town can offer. Shawn Porter (see page 1) has been taking advantage of the space to install a new iteration of his entropic “stick and balls” works for the upcoming show.
In the accompanying video (above), Sproul shares his views about Salt Lake’s contemporary art scene and discusses the artists involved in this first show and his vision for the gallery.
Prime: The First Exhibit For more information visit noxcontemporary.com
Watch the video HERE.
The founder of Artists of Utah and editor of its online magazine, 15 Bytes, Shawn Rossiter has undergraduate degrees in English, French and Italian Literature and studied Comparative Literature in graduate school before pursuing a career in art.