In a world overflowing with talented artists, it's not easy to become a gallery regular. That honor is reserved for the artists who not only have mastered their media but have also made significant progress in developing their own styles.
Pierpont and Courtyard Galleries are currently exhibiting works by artists who are "new kids on the block." A careful look at their innovative styles reveals why these artists have been selected as gallery regulars.Some of them take recognizable objects and stylize them. Others move from non-objective approaches to more recognizable ones. In any event, each has developed a style surprisingly distinct.
- The Pierpont Gallery show, titled "Introductions," features the creative efforts of eight new gallery artists.
Some have previously been represented at other local galleries. Susan Carroll, Lory Smith and Bonnie Sucec were regulars with the Gayle Weyher Gallery before it closed its doors last year. And, until about six months ago, Dolores Chase Fine Art handled the work of Nel Ivancich.
Other new artists participating in this show include Steve Dayton, John Hickman, Thalo Porter and Electra Stamelos.
Seven of these artists live in Utah. The eighth, Utah-born Stamelos, now lives in New Jersey.
- Carroll begins each piece with a line drawing or, occasionally, a series of line drawings. "I like clear, crisp images," she says.
She enjoys working with abstract forms because, she says, they reflect an inner state rather than a scene from the real world.
"Painting for me is an intuitive, organic process," she says. Much like a game of chess, her work takes shape "as the natural result of moves and counter-moves."
- Ivancich says she executes her abstract paintings much like an archaeologist unearths a dig - helping "tempting fragments" emerge after years of being hidden from view.
"As I paint, I deliberately create, destroy, then resurrect bits and shards of earlier passages that hint of man-made rituals." To facilitate this process, she relies on oil, acrylic, pastel and other media.
- If she wanted to, Sucec could draw every characteristic of an animal. But that approach doesn't appeal to her. In fact, as far as the artist is concerned, animals don't even have to be real. She's more interested in colors, positions and overall shapes.
"The animals I've been painting lately are confrontations. They are set up in tense situations, looking at each other."
- In her creations, Stamelos' juxtaposes realistic shapes in such a way that they relate and react to their neighbors. She says she alters the sizes and values much like individuals fit into the overall society of man.
When starting her work, she lightly draws with pencil. Then she adds oil, acrylic and finally watercolor. Stimulated by saturated color and intense light, she makes a concerted effort to incorporate them in her work.
- Dreams are the motivation behind much of Porter's work. "Dreams are the basis by which I examine the possibilities; the extension from my internal world to the external."
As she explores color and texture, symbolic images begin to evolve.
For this show, Porter has included both two- and three-dimensional work. To create her 3-D boxes, she covered foam core with papier mache, waited until they dried and then painted them.
- Dayton and Smith have developed a more relaxed, carefree style.
Of his mixed-media, small box-like constructions, Dayton says, "They're fun to make - and they make people laugh."
Smith says he tries to imbue his work with an emotional tinge, yet hopes it will bring a smile to the viewer.
- Hickman, who recently started to teach sculpture at Utah State University, has only one small sculpture in the show. He is better known for his large-scale sculpture.
- No one should leave the building without descending the stairs to the Courtyard Gallery and admiring the figurative vessels by Cyn Jeppson and the wool rugs and tapestries by Marty Baker.
- Jeppson's ceramics are incredible - the result of a series of painstaking steps.
She relies on the ancient method of coiling to create each free-standing, asymmetrical vessel. Before the clay dries, she incises stylized imagery across its surface. Later, she patiently sands, glazes, resands and fires the creation. Then she adds layers of acrylic paint until she achieves the desired colors and textures. The final step is to cover the vessel with three layers each of an unglazed tile sealer and semi-matte finish.
Her human and horse images flow freely across each piece, adding significantly to its aesthetic and visual appeal.
- Hanging on the walls behind Jeppson's pottery are weavings by Baker. A few of them feature his geometric forms, while the majority show imagery that surround both his Montana and Oaxaca homes.
It's not an "either-or" situation. Baker enjoys combining the images and colors from both locations in the same work. He says that the colors of Montana are often seen in his geometric pieces, while plant forms from the tropics creep into his Montana landscapes.
Although Baker designs his works and chooses the colors, he turns over the weaving to Zapotecan Indians. Their weaving techniques add to the crossover of cultures, resulting in an illusion of the mind the artist calls "chimera."
These exhibits will continue through Feb. 23 at the Pierpont Gallery (159 Pierpont Ave., 363-4141) and at the Courtyard Gallery (153 Pierpont Ave., 363-5151). Gallery hours are noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday and noon to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The galleries are closed Sundays through Tuesdays.