Exhibition Reviews | Visual Arts

Shades of Expression: The 18th Annual Black and White Exhibition at Eccles Art Center

A corner at Eccles Art Center’s 18th Annual Black and White Statewide Exhibition featuring works focused on eyes. Image credit: Geoff Wichert

Along with form and content, composition and dynamics, color is one of the expressive building blocks of art. But color can also be as elemental and essential as those stand-ins for truth: Black and White. At the Eccles Art Center in Ogden, the 18th Annual Black and White Statewide Exhibition is once again proving the utility of this basic scheme to artists of every stripe, as well as its appeal to the public that regularly flocks to the stately mansion on Jefferson Avenue to see, in this case, more than 200 works, covering every medium, that were selected from more than 300 submissions.

Like the old saw about a picture of a polar bear in snow revealed to be a blank, white sheet of paper, the obvious subjects for depicting in black and white are penguins and nuns, none of which can be found here. Instead, along an upstairs hallway what can be found is Nona Horsley’s watercolor, “Shadows of the Past,” which presents a Classical Greek landscape at precisely the moment in the afternoon when bright sunlight cancels sight. What remains is a visual treatise shading of memory and the passage of years. Then again, the motif most in evidence throughout the Eccles this year is eyes, with as many as eight separate examples together in one place not enough to exhaust the topic. Given that eyes are the primary evidence of our binary symmetry, Phillip Brown’s choice to separate them in his diptych, “Gemini,” stands out. Keith Haney’s decision, in “Parlor Games,” to have eyes create a link between the realms of the living and the dead argues that, once started on binaries, it’s hard to quit; up and down, life and death, black and white.

Phillip Brown, “Gemini”


Darnel Haney, “Pride”

There’s a real parlor game of sorts here as well; across the room from Keith Haney’s queen, a place of honor was reserved for “Pride,” his father Darnel’s latest study of Black experience in America. Like Darnel Haney’s art, everything about this Humanist gadfly speaks to his having forged a unique place for himself in Ogden’s civic life.

The Black and White Statewide has largely become the unique identifier for the Ogden Eccles, much as the Spirituality and Religion show has long been for the Springville Museum of Arts. As befits their roles, both exhibitions include elaborate multi-media works. So Dana Worley’s “Jetty,” a black, fused and slumped bowl, features a white-and-clear homage to Utah’s most famous spiral. Kyle Guymon’s pair of giant ceramic vases, “Bison’s Decay” and “Dust in the Wind,” use expressionistic brush application of black and white slip to capture the restless energy characteristic of the West.

Nona Horsley, “Shadows of the Past”

This year, the photographs have been hung separately, in the Carriage House, which calls for a short-but-worthwhile detour. The three immeasurably ancient, crumbling doors in Daniel Hendriksen’s “Les Trois Anciens Passages” make literal the invitation all art makes to encounter something timeless. Thus the twice-chosen representatives of this community of versatile and eloquent artists are privileged to speak for them all.


18th Annual Black and White Statewide Exhibition, Eccles Community Art Center, Ogden, through Feb. 24

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