On Friday evening, the 21st of June, I had the enriching experience of attending an art opening at one of Salt Lake City’s newest downtown galleries. The exhibition, “Celebrating the Human Form,” was a tremendous success visually and conceptually. For me, it was the first time I had even heard of Fables since they had opened their doors in January of this year. As I socialized my way through the event, I was pleased that a friend had brought it to my attention. I viewed the works of more than 50 artists in a variety of media, from oil paintings to mixed media, to bronze and neon, that all celebrate the human form in some fashion.
During the opening I had the opportunity of meeting with the owner and the director of Fables and of sharing in their enthusiasm for art in general, the importance and urgency of the concepts presented in the current exhibition and their overall commitment to presenting and challenging the visual arts here in Salt Lake. Stephen Teuscher, an artist and owner of Fables, states, “In this show, we are celebrating all styles of art that depict the human form, including expressions of deep emotion, spirituality, sexuality, frivolity, and mindfulness; from the sublime to the outrageous. We expect this show to be the first of many unique opportunities for the inspired art community in Utah.”
The Fables group made a call for entries inviting emerging artists to submit displays of challenging, thought-provoking expression of the human form. Close to a hundred artists submitted work. A painstaking selection process whittled the pieces down to 54 artists of diverse styles and media: sculpture, glass carvings, paintings, and photography. The works represent the full spectrum of artistic impressions from the classical representations of the human body to the abstract expressions of mood and desire. Many of the artistic forms express the flow of energy sensed in the rhythms of risk and enchantment. The result is a wonderful mix of which Lynne Van Treese, the Director of Fables, states, “We are pleased to have included the widest possible variety of offerings demonstrating the beauty and elation that is inspired by the human form.”
“Celebrating the Human Form” is the first of many exhibits with specific themes that Fables Fine Arts has planned to enhance and increase the depth of conversation about the various issues that face our unique community. This particular exhibition is the effort and concept of Dan Cummings and his various conversations with Stephen and Lynne. During recent months while the Utah State Legislature was meeting, one of the legislators came into the gallery and discussed the current law on exhibiting nudes. Since many representations of the nude form are found in classical art, the three were surprised at the parameters discussed in the Utah statute. Though the law has since changed, the encounter provoked many a lively discussion, which culminated in the creation of an exhibit that did just what may have been previously outlawed: acknowledging, celebrating, viewing, portraying and enjoying the human form.
“Celebrating the Human Form” invites the audience to have a refreshing curiosity about the many of aspects of our common connection, the human form and gives us an opportunity to recognize and feel the transforming nature of the physical expression of our beings. It challenges current local thought patterns, behaviors, mental stumbling blocks and naive perceptions, yet it does not offend. After all, what could be offensive about the human form? We all have one. Our individual and varied forms are our unique gift and this is what this particular exhibition celebrates.
Through this exhibition, Fables has fulfilled its mission of sharing unique and sophisticated art with the Utah community and has risen to the challenge that our unique community so often presents. They have unabashedly brought to the forefront of a sometimes timid art community some of the local taboos: nudity, the human form, beauty. I look forward to what lies ahead for this gallery. Now that the challenge and standard has been set for and by themselves it will be interesting to see what more they accomplish and present in the near future. Fables Fine Art Gallery is open to visitors from noon until 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from noon until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays or by appointment, at 60 East Exchange Place in Salt Lake City.