How many art galleries are clustered in downtown Salt Lake City? More than we realize. I can name a dozen, most of which participated in the gallery stroll last Friday night. But I'm sure there are others I could add to the list.
There are also a number of galleries on the outskirts of the downtown area. Sometimes they don't get the attention the first group gets, but often they feature exhibitions that please viewers of all ages.For example, recent work by ceramist James (Jim) Stewart can be seen at Stone Age Crafts; the Utah Watercolor Society's fall membership show at the Loge Gallery, Pioneer Memorial Theatre, University of Utah; and pastels and paintings by Utah native Clarence Bush are hanging in the Atrium Gallery.
- Putting together a one-man show of recent works is a challenge for any artist, but perhaps more so for Stewart, since his ceramics are in demand both locally and nationally. At the present time, he is represented in six Utah galleries and six out-of-state galleries. Soon, his works will be shown in still another gallery in Bozeman, Montana.
Stewart first became interested in ceramics in 1968. Shortly thereafter, he started taking ceramics and sculpture from U. professors Dorothy Bearnson and Angelo Caravaglia.
Since that time, Stewart has thoroughly explored the medium of clay and has developed styles and glazes that are definitely his own.
For years, now, his functional pottery - covered with cobalt blue, rutile and iron oxide glazes - has been highly popular. Stewart admits that these pieces are his "bread and butter."
However, he loves sculpture. His sculpted pieces are the ones he enters in competitions and the ones that win awards.
"I look at these pieces as my expression," he said when I visited him at the Stone Age Gallery a few days ago.
He explained that during the creative process, he uses a variety of techniques - wax-resist, stenciling, spatter, scraffito, airbrush.
"I paint with engobes and oxides." To clarify, he said that engobes are slip with a reduced clay content. "They're halfway between a slip and glaze." He said they penetrate the clay, leaving a more matte, claylike surface.
Included in this show is a wide range of styles - proof that Stewart doesn't permit himself to get in a rut. In addition to functional pieces are works containing pre-Columbian motifs and platters with portraits of famous personalities.
When Stewart starts a project, he works 10 to 12 hours a day. And that pace continues until he has created enough work to fill his kiln.
"After I do the firing, I take it easy for a few days," he said. "Then I start all over again."
But even when he takes it easy, he is constantly looking for ideas. Sometimes they lurk in the shadows of a TV show. When he sees them, he records them. Later they take tangible form in clay.
Stewart's exhibit remains at Stone Age Craft, 3695 S. 300 West, through Oct. 26. For more information about this show, call 262-9654.
- Members of the Utah Watercolor Society were shaken up a bit when the theme was announced for their fall membership show. "Shake, Rattle and Roll" motivated a number of them to explore new techniques and subject matter. Do you think you can identify watercolors by Norma Forsberg, Linda Kohler Barnes and Val Moffitt without looking at the names? Chances are you can't.
Some of the other artists - Mel Hase, Carl Purcell and L'Deane Trueblood - chose to paint their usual subject matter. But they gave their works titles that reflected the theme of the show: Hase's "Roll Out the Bucket," Purcell's "Earthquake" and Trueblood's "Banjo Dude."
Nedda Oswald's watercolor of three elderly gentlemen playing backgammon captured the best-of-show award. Other works that appealed to me were Barnes' delightful "Shake, Rattle and Roll," Trueblood's spontaneous "Banjo Dude" and Shirley McKay's dramatic "Canyon Suite: Roll of Thunder."
The exhibit will continue at the Loge Gallery through Oct. 6. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and during intermissions of PMT's musical "Ain't Misbehavin' ". For more information, call 581-7118.
- Artist Clarence Bush has filled the walls of the Atrium Gallery with pastels and painting, some of which date back to the early 1930s.
Over the years, Bush has found that the medium of pastel best suits his need to capture his impression of the subject. He works on colored paper that ranges from light gray to black. In most cases, the most impressive drawings are those done on a dark reddish-brown paper.
The representational pastels in this show were drawn on location in Utah, California and New Mexico.
When attending LDS High School, Bush studied under artists/educators A.B. Wright and Gordon Cope. And one look at the textures in his trees and skies tells us that he has been influenced by the work of LeConte Stewart.
Bush says, "My work is best identified with early twentieth century trends, but I try to avoid too much tonalist style." He says he enjoys using broad strokes with sharp-edged pastels - and very little blending.
Some of his strongest works in the show are "Winter Tree at Granite Village," "Tesuque Hills, New Mexico" and "November, Parley's Canyon."
His works will continue in the Atrium Gallery of the Salt Lake City Main Library through October 2.