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David Hawkinson
Artist Tausha Coates created "Still Life With Rose," currently on display at the new Terra Nova Gallery in Provo.

PROVO — When artist Todd Orchard looks at Utah desert scenes he sees surprisingly vivid colors and forms he simply describes as "strange."

But the color and forms come together as he transforms them into works of art — in this case 10-by-10-inch oil paintings that are on display for the opening of the "Great Things/Small Packages" show at Terra Nova Gallery, 41 W. 300 North. One scene was of Snow Canyon; the other was of Monument Valley.

An adjunct art instructor at Brigham Young University, Orchard, of American Fork, has been painting for a dozen years, the last five profitably, he said. The two paintings he has on display are in his low price range, just over $300 each. But they fit the theme of the opening.

Three mixed media pieces by Orem artist Laurie Lisonbee, also a BYU art instructor, were poses of hands.

"The gestures are very symbolic to me," she said.

The small pieces were "Willing to Receive III," "Measure," which included a piece of metal ruler, and "Going Off," which included a piece of metal going off the canvas.

Terra Nova opened two years ago, the brainchild of commercial photographer David Hawkinson and his wife, Florence. The purpose, she said, was to "give Utah artists a gallery to exhibit their work."

Many artists prefer to live in Utah but show their work in other states that provide more profitable venues. Terra Nova is intent on bringing Utah artists home. It offers space for both new and established artists, Florence Hawkinson said. Not only were all of the artists displaying at the show from Utah, most were from Utah County, she said.

Among the more established artists was David Linn's "Gesture #2," a 5-by-5-inch painting with a price tag of $1,400.

"He normally doesn't sell in Utah," she said, "(although) he lives in Utah."

Another by Linn, "The Inquiry," is priced at $2,700.

Across from Linn's paintings were two small pieces by Tausha Coates. Not as established or as well known, one piece, "Still Life With Rose," carried a $150 price tag.

Younger artists haven't reached the consistency or garnered the reputation of more established artists, Florence Hawkinson said, but Terra Nova offers wall space for both with an eye toward the collector.

The gallery displays original works of art only, no reproductions. Each show lasts six weeks and is viewed by many in the local art world as a stepping stone in a young artist's career.

David Hawkinson started the gallery when he realized that most of the art that he photographed for local artists would never be seen in Utah. Artists came to him to archive their work, or when they wanted to create reproductions, compete in multiple contests or to create a portfolio of their work for submission to art schools.

He began hanging the photographs on his wall to keep them off the floor until the artist picked them up.

Once the art was gone, he noticed a void on the wall until he hung another artist's work. That simple practice evolved into Terra Nova Art Gallery, he said. The gallery and current show is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is no admission charge.

E-mail: rodger@desnews.com