Hats off to artists discontented with their present levels of performance. Applause for those who take chances, not afraid to explore the world around them - and the world within them. They are the ones whose individualistic styles will eventually pack a visual and/ or emotional wallop.

- One such artist is Sam Wilson, whose inventive show is delighting viewers at the Phillips Gallery.Wilson is an artist who sees the making of art as "a race run by those lonely, long-distance runners." However, he says, "the finish line is an ongoing restart for this lifelong marathon."

He adds that speed and efficiency are not important in this race, but endurance is. "The goal is continuing the process."

This artist practices what he preaches. Never stagnant, he is always searching for new ways to capture imagery and ideas.

Until recently, his mixtures of styles, media and images have been recorded on two-dimensional surfaces. Often he would incorporated a trompe l'oeil approach where, from a distance, objects appeared three-dimensional.

Gracing the walls of this new show are number of pieces that are three-dimensional, no matter how close or how far away they are viewed. And, surprisingly, they retain Wilson's already popular style.

"I am not a real sculptor," Wilson says modestly. "The vulnerability of my three dimensions always need the relief of a thin film of paint."

I disagree. No apology is needed for his sculpture. It reflects brilliant craftsmanship and individuality.

Proof can be seen in Wilson's sculpture "Gesture by a Markless Linenist open-hearted with left-handed shorts." Although a slight variation of natural colors has been used, it's one of his most effective works in the show.

The artist also confesses, "I can't be a real writer either." Again, I disagree. Take a look at his titles. They aren't short and maudlin; rather, they are often lengthy, highly perceptive and punctuated with descriptive, thought-provoking words and ideas that help us understand his philosophy and art.

For example, one title reads:Wilson admits that he "steals" icons from his history books and "borrows" the beauty and richness of art from other cultures. These are combined with his own experimentation. But he says that the mixing of styles, media and images is important and with purpose.

"My works look like altarpieces for a yet to be defined religion. The stuff has the look of total self-indulgence because I like complexity, inconsistency, unpredictability and vulnerability."

Gallerygoers who stop by to view this exhibition will find it filled with visual treats that trigger the imagination. It continues through Feb. 23 at Phillips Gallery, 444 E. 200 South (364-8284). Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

- In her new show, Marilyn Read fills the walls of the Bountiful/Davis Art Center with watercolors that explode in exciting designs and colors. This exhibit visually affirms the artist's quest to record her awe of nature in a "personalized manner."

At first glance, viewers will immediately recognize that this personalized manner has the earmarks of Ed Maryon's style. So it was no surprise to find out that she indeed took classes from him.

Although she borrowed from Maryon's style, she has made it personal by altering it with her own ideas and experiences.

Read said that when she attended the University of Hawaii to earn her bachelor of education in secondary art, she was exposed to great art that made a lasting impression.

"The bold, flat patterning of native tapa cloth, Japanese screens and Gauguin paintings fused with my childhood imaginings. The brilliance of tropical light and color rivaled the scintillation of the '60s psychedelic art."

Although Read utilizes traditional subjects, she points out that she is more interested in design and color than the imagery. "No matter what I paint, I attempt a continuing synthesis of the influences of the Hawaii years."

Buildings and landscapes from around the world make up a healthy portion of the show. "Mazatlan Morning," "Italian Hill Town," "Carmel Mission" and "Olympus Cubed" are some of the best.

But the stars of the show are her large still lifes and florals. In them she has captured first-rate composition and brilliant color. "Shelf Life," "Blue Bottle Ensemble," "Pepsi Light" and "Garcia y Vega" prove beyond a doubt that Read has made a giant stride in her artistic quest.

- Interspersed with Read's watercolors are weavings by 25 to 30 members of the local Mary Meigs Atwater Weaver's Guild.

Again, innovative approaches tell us that these weavers are not resting on their laurels; rather, they continue to explore new ways to keep weaving a vital, viable art form.

Striking utilitarian works are David/Jude Daurelle's handspun-and-dyed "Graduation Shawl"; Martha Klein Haley's reverse-resist, dyed kimono; Judy Ede Jackson's handwoven cotton top; and ReNee Page's rag-strip weaving and fake-fur coat.

Highly decorative weavings include Page's two rayon rags/antique rayon wall hangings; Becky Menlove's ikat wool-and-linen "My Slice of the Night"; and Bettina Schultz' handwoven cotton wallhanging "Canyon Study."

Both the watercolor and weaving shows remain at the Bountiful/Davis Art Center through Feb. 8. The center is located at 2175 S. Main. For additional information, call 292-0367.