Exhibition Reviews | Visual Arts

The Peak Season Flavor: Park City’s Galleries in January

by Kimberly Rock

It’s picturesque: winter in Park City, Utah. Bedazzled holiday trees softly shine through swirling snow. Through thick crowds of sun-kissed skiers, delicious scents beckon from restaurants and warm coffee bars. And the Park City galleries, with their rich array of media, styles, and artists, perfect the resort-town’s peak-season flavor.

The Kimball Art Center, hub of the 26-member Park City Gallery Association and its monthly gallery strolls, is the starting-point for many visitors’ exposure to the diverse works on display throughout the city. Until January 10, in the center’s Main Gallery, “Aesthetic Engineering,” a striking collection of giant, visually organic glass and metal sculptures from Seattle-based artist Ginny Ruffner, will be displayed. The collection, a provocative exploration of possibilities inspired by, says the artist, “recent extraordinary developments in genetic engineering-particularly inter-kingdom gene sharing between animals and plants,” stimulates thought while demonstrating fresh artistic possibilities.

Newcomer Carolyn Guild, an already-accomplished photographer who, with part of an inheritance from her late father, purchased her first professional equipment only four years ago, shows 30 images in Kimball’s Badami Gallery. Inspired by her love of nature and by memories of her photo-hobbyist father, the outdoorswoman photographs areas of North and Central America that are not casually accessible. Her photo sites include some of Utah ‘s best-known areas such as Bryce Canyon and Balanced Rock in Arches National Park as well as other locations from the Bugaboo Mountains in British Columbia, Canada to the beaches of Baja, Mexico. Calling color “distracting,” Guild creates mostly black-and-white landscapes of these locales, both by converting her all-digital data from color, and, when possible, by allowing the stark contrasts of nature to limit the hues.

This, Guild’s first solo show, will close January 10, when the Kimball Art Center, like several Park City galleries, will temporarily suspend business in deference to the Sundance Film Festival, which annually utilizes this and other local venues. (Please contact individual galleries for schedules.)

For many galleries, it will be business as usual throughout January. “People can come watch me paint any time!” says Renee Mox Hall of Park City Colors, who will keep her doors open during the film festival. In her studio cum gallery, visitors can watch the lifelong artist create acrylic and watercolor paintings: bold, gorgeous Park City- and western-themed pieces that she displays beside the works of other locals. The gallery, which highlights the work of five artists, shows wood and rock sculpture, as well as jewelry and ceramics, in addition to Hall’s paintings.

Terzian Galleries, too, displays work in several media, including oils, glass, ceramic, and wood. “A lot of people don’t know that we have not only paintings, but a lot of glass,” says gallery manager Emily Chaney. Pieces from diverse artists such as the Pacific Northwest’s Callahan Glass |1| and from Magan Stevens of RKS Glass in Readin, Pennsylvania make up the gallery’s glass collection.

For early January, paint will take Terzian’s spotlight. Artist Deborah Hake Brinckerhoff’s bright and lively images|2|, created with a palette knife vibrantly swept across her canvases, will be featured until Sundance begins. During the festival, a wide array of Terzian’s staple artists’ work in several media will be on display. These works, says Chaney, are “mostly local.” The gallery will feature multiple Utahns including Nate Ronniger, David Maestas, and James Baker. Whether paintings of representational simplicity, bold abstract works, or aggressive mixed-media pieces, “everything has a contemporary spin on it,” says Chaney.

Various members of the Park City Gallery Association focus on myriad styles, combining to make Main Street, where 23 of the 26 associated galleries operate, a delectable smorgasbord of choices. Some galleries, such as Terzian and the Phoenix Gallery, emphasize contemporary, and often local, art. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Hope Gallery and Museum of Fine Art features works from old European masters to early 20th century artists, as well as their specialty: original Scandinavian art. Another gallery focusing on international art, specifically on Russian impressionism, The Thomas Kearns McCarthey Gallery, currently features artist Anton Arkhipov.

Connecting cotemporary and old-world styles, the multimedia pieces of Michelle Samerjan |2| cast a modern light on Eastern tradition. They can be viewed through January 20 at Thomas Anthony Gallery.

Other traditions represented by members of the Park City Gallery Association are Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni. The Crosby Collection deals in vintage and contemporary Native American collectibles. Among Crosby’s features are jewelry, pueblo pottery, and kachinas.

Western-themed work abounds on Main Street. For example, Rich Haines specializes in life-size to monumental bronze sculpture. Silver Queen Fine Art features bronze sculptures by renowned artists including Tim Cotterill, Nano Lopez, Jocelyn Russell and Rodd Ambroson.

Three-dimensional work is currently on display at CODA Galleryas well. Dolls of Salt Lake City’s Kim Brown, who has been sculpting her creations for 14 years, are featured in January. Brown, who also teaches nursing at Salt Lake’s Westminster College uses multiple media, such as paper clay, wood, and fabric to fashion her works. These dolls can be viewed beside CODA’s other early January feature: paintings of Tracey Lane, ethereal acrylics nuanced by emotions and memory. Beginning January 11th at CODA, a show featuring the bovine portraits of Utah artist Charley Snow |4| and the whimsical, figurative oil portraits of Utah artist Cassandra Barney can be viewed.

Park City’s Montgomery Lee Fine Art offers impressionistic and realistic paintings and sculpture. This gallery represents a wide range of genres as well as a wide range of levels of experience among their artists, from novices to international art celebrities. Currently, the thought-provoking watercolors of Joseph Alleman are featured. The simplicity of his works suggests a narrative to the imagination of each viewer. Also featured now is Jared Sanders’ earthy, peaceful portrayals in oil. These will be on display in addition to Montgomery Lee’s standard variety of works available.

The broad diversity of Park City’s visual arts and the geographic concentration of its many galleries create an ideal setting for art-lovers. Member galleries are located on Main Street and nearby Iron Horse with one additional gallery located in Kimball Junction. On the last Friday of each month, the Park City Gallery association offers a three-hour stroll which runs from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Attendees begin the evening at the Kimball Art Center located at 638 Park Avenue. An enticing atmosphere, complete with live music, hors d’oeuvres, and prize drawings further enriches the viewing experience. Each month, strollers are treated to interactions with multiple featured artists at the various galleries. A map and ticket may be purchased at the Kimball Art Center for $5.

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For a complete list of members of the Park City Gallery Association, including their physical and web addresses, plus telephone numbers and gallery overviews, visit www.kimball-art.org/gallerystrollguide.htm, or visit Kimball, Park City’s nonprofit community art center, for more information.


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