Over the years, Utah has produced an array of outstanding visual artists. And now is a good time to become acquainted (or reacquainted) with some of them, since several galleries around town are featuring their work.
Some of the paintings were created as early as 1855; others were completed this year. So we're talking about 136 years of Utah art containing a broad range of styles and subject matter.- The Bountiful/Davis Art Center is exhibiting a collection of Western Americana art that represents life in the West during the latter 19th century. Landscapes, cowboys and Indians have been captured in oil and watercolor, bronze, etching and lithography. There are also several examples of Navajo saddle blankets.
Although two bronzes by Frederic Remington and Charles Marion Russell are attracting considerable attention, Utah artists don't have to take a back seat. Springville-born sculptor Cyrus Dallin (1861-1944) makes quite an impression with his bronze sculpture "The Scout." Early Utah artists George M. Ottinger (1833-1917) and Mahonri Mackintosh Young (1877-1957) are represented in the show. On display is one oil by Ottinger and an oil, a watercolor and a bronze by Young.
Also featured in the show are paintings by itinerate artists Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), Thomas Moran (1837-1926), Ralph Albert Blakelock (1847-1919) and Maynard Dixon (1875-1946). Although not born and raised in Utah, they visited Utah as they traveled from place to place. Captivated by Utah's scenery, they took time to visually record it.
Viewers of the exhibit will be fascinated with Currier and Ives' "Great Salt Lake City." There's no question that the artist who drew this scene had never visited Salt Lake City. He has placed this thriving city at the very edge of the Great Salt Lake.
The landscapes in this exhibit are as varied as the styles. They include views from the Wasatch Mountains in the northern part of the state to the Valley of Babbling Waters in southern Utah.
The collection is on loan from the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. All works were donated to the museum between 1926 and 1985. The most recent work in the exhibit is Stan Johnson's bronze and marble sculpture "Minitari Warrior," dated l981.
The exhibit continues at the center through April 19. (For other gallery information, see end of story.)
- At Williams Fine Art, works by masters Rembrandt, Renoir and Gauguin share exhibition space with art by early Utah painters Lee Greene Richards (1878-1950), Paul Fjellboe (1873-1948), J. Leo Fairbanks (1878-1946), Louise Richards Farnsworth (1878-1969) and Gordon Cope (1906- ). Also included in this show are top-notch paintings by LeConte Stewart (1891-1990) and contemporary artists Ken Baxter, Nancy Lund, Richard Murray, Bill Whittaker and others.
Quite a transformation has taken place in an autumn mountain scene by Cope. Clayton Williams, owner of Williams Fine Art, had a feeling that hiding under a layer of dirt and grime were some bright, exciting colors. So he had William Seifrit clean it. Suddenly, all the warmth and color Cope had originally painted into the landscape was revealed.
Stewart is represented by nine pieces - seven oils, one pencil drawing and one pastel. Styles range from "Southeast of Burley," painted in his tonal period, to "Farmington Canyon in Winter," a composition filled with a wide range of values.
These works will remain at Williams Fine Art through April.
- An artist doesn't have to be dead to have his name added to the "most collectible" list. Proof of that can be seen in "Large Scale Works," an exhibit that continues at the Phillips Gallery through April 27.
At the top of my own most collectible list are some of Phillips' regulars - painters Frank Anthony Smith and Sam Wilson as well as sculptors Richard Johnston and Sylvia Davis.
Wilson's painting, titled "High Desert Melodrama," is a trompe l'oeil filled with a landscape, five large pheasants, two masks and a potpourri of other imagery. Any other artist confronted with placing these objects in a cohesive composition would end up with a busy, incompatible mess. But Wilson succeeds, thanks in part to an effective use of negative space.
Other stylistic, colorful and original works that grab the eye are Sylvia Davis' painted wood birthday cake, Carolyn Coalson's and Don Olsen's non-objective paintings and Allen Bishop's sharp-edged, two-dimensional, hard-edge creation titled "Rakeeyang the Firmament."
Helping to round out the exhibit are ceramic pots by Cyn Jeppson, papier mache fish by Bri Matheson and a three-hanger mobile by Kent Birkenshaw.
- In addition to carrying work by prominent out-of-state artists, Repartee Gallery also features work by a handful of highly popular Utah artists.
You'll find fantasy art by James Christensen. In fact, now on display is a set of four original works the artist painted for Time-Life's Fairyland Storyboard series. And some of his delightful, hand-colored etchings are also there.
Al Rounds is another gallery regular who has attracted a large following over the years. Although Repartee Gallery doesn't carry his originals, it does sell his prints - both framed and unframed.
Other Utah artists there whose works are becoming more and more in demand are Rebecca Hartvigsen, Liz Lemon, Larry Christensen and Leonard Parkin.
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Bountiful/Davis Art Center, 2175 S. Main (292-0367). Hours: 5-9 p.m. on Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 2-5 p.m. on Saturday.
Williams Fine Art, 175 W. 200 South, Suite 2011 (534-0331). Hours: 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment.
Phillips Gallery, 444 E. 200 South (364-8284). Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Repartee Gallery, 1300 Foothill Village (above ZCMI II, 582-6810) and J-168 University Mall, Provo (224-5508). Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.