Artist Profile: Alpine
Day Christensen's influence on the world around us
Local artist Day Christensen has a gift for creating unique, pleasing spaces. A designer by training and trade, Christensen has also become one of Utah’s most successful artists for public projects. His meticulous and creative eye has literally shaped the landscape of Utah, turning a visit to a local park or nearby TRAX station into an experience. It’s a craft he’s been fine-tuning for about half his life, his thirty-year resume resulting in almost as many public art projects around the state.
The home and studio where Christensen lives and works is a reflection of his deliberate aesthetic: a pleasing place to think, work, relax and receive guests. Designed by the artist, the minimalist concrete structure doesn’t intrude on the wooded landscape of his property, accessible by a short unpaved road. It is watched over by his affectionate dog Thor, a Havanese, who happily greets visitors and settles nearby so as not to miss any of the conversation.
When Christensen talks he is articulate but never pretentious. He engages listeners with his attentive eyes and warm personality. In his living room an entire wall serves as a bookshelf, and most of its occupants are about art. If the conversation warrants it, he will pluck one off the shelf and cheerfully tell you about its contents. Among his collection you’ll find a handful of the fine letterpress books Christensen made earlier in his career.
Exhibition Review: Ephraim
Speculation at the CUAC
superHUMAN and New Mystics
Creation, innovation, inspiration, novelty, ingenuity, genius: the terms we associate with art convey a sense of original invention. Yet most of the visual art we see falls somehow short of such ideals. Sunset falling on a rock landscape, those sheep grazing before the temple, this human figure, or that still life, often convey more than anything else the promise that everything is essentially what we already believe it to be. Such reassurance is something art can do for us, but beyond wish fulfillment lies a whole realm that once upon a time, perhaps when we were still young and avidly seeking novelty, thrilled us with the pleasure that the art critic Robert Hughes too narrowly labeled the ‘shock’ of the new.
One artist who has seen and struggled with this not just complacent, but often actively confining impact of imagery on the imagination is Jorge Rojas. Since returning to Utah after exploring the international art scene in New York, Rojas has alternated showing his own art—works that enable a viewer to see familiar objects as if for the first time—with facilitating encounters between the Utah audience and artists preoccupied with modern experience and appropriate expressive techniques. His latest endeavor, the product of over a year’s planning and execution, finds him working with co-curator David Hawkin to present two simultaneous shows at the Central Utah Art Center. The first, superHuman, assembles artists from around the world whose works consciously speculate about alternative ways of being and doing in the world. The second, New Mystics, focuses on local artists whose familiar voices, heard in this alternate context, resonate with a new sense of purpose.