One-person shows have invaded galleries in and around Salt Lake City. Among them are Lee Deffebach's acrylic paintings and sculpture at Dolores Chase Fine Art, Tom Leek's watercolors at Tivoli Gallery and Noal Betts' paintings at the Kimball Art Center.
- Works by Lee Deffebach have been in the spotlight lately. In fact, another of her one-woman shows just ended at the Art Barn.But her current show is far from "warmed over." Deffebach completed more of her large acrylic paintings just in time for this exhibit. And a few works previously displayed at the Art Barn take on entirely different moods under the distinctive lighting at Chase's gallery.
Dolores Chase recently announced that Deffebach has just been added to her gallery's regulars. In fact, a reception has been planned for Friday, April 19, from 6-9 p.m. And the public can meet the artist at that time.
"People are amazed when they learn that these works were painted by a woman," Chase said. "They're so big, bold and daring."
She added that Deffebach's style has a strong affinity with such artists as Frankenthaler, Hoffman and Rothko.
Chase revealed her attraction to the artist's work as she described "Genius Loci," one of the non-objective paintings on display.
"There's a sense of spiritual depth. The abstract images `hint' at things. I can see an opening - a doorway - and it pulls me into deeper space filled with intimations of immortality."
She said that looking at this and other paintings by Deffebach causes people to become reflective. "Each work triggers questions and sets the stage for a personal dialogue between viewer and painting."
Deffebach's show will remain through May at Dolores Chase Fine Arts, 260 S. 200 West (328-2787). Gallery hours are are noon to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 2-5 p.m. on Saturday.
- Watercolorist Thomas Leek's one-man show already is attracting considerable attention at Tivoli Gallery, even though his reception also will be held on Friday, April 19 - from 6-8 p.m.
Leek needs no introduction to local gallerygoers. Over the years, he has made not just ripples, but waves, in the Utah's art scene. He has held numerous solo exhibitions, participated in many group exhibitions, and won a raft of awards. His work is represented in numerous private, public and corporate collections throughout the United States.
This new show reflects Leek's ability to move comfortably from representational to non-representational painting. And his realistic paintings cover a variety of subject matter - landscapes, seascapes, sail boats, quaking aspen, flowers and people.
Leek paints exclusively in watercolor. "I like to exploit the inherent qualities of the this medium, especially the immediacy of execution, brilliant luminosity, atmospheric quality and the fortuity which guides me in my search for meaningful images."
Although his paintings are meant to be enjoyed from a distance, watercolorists can't resist walking right up to them to study his techniques.
And he is more than willing to disclose his "tricks of the trade."
He never mixes Chinese White with his lighter colors to make them opaque. Rather, he blocks out areas with masking fluid before painting background washes using wide brushes. He then removes the mask and paints the light areas.
His paintings appear to have a number of glazes. But Leek uses glazing techniques sparingly. He doesn't want to lose the luminosity of watercolor.
Texture is an integral part of his work. He says it energizes a painting.
Some of his textures are created by carefully folding and flattening pieces of aluminum foil. "I then apply super-heavy washes on the paper and float the foil into place. Then, while the foil obscures the painting, I partially dry the paper with a hair dryer.
"But timing is critical. It doesn't work if I dry it completely - or if I don't dry it enough. However, when I dry it to a damp state, I find I can retain the configurations."
Since the paper is still damp when he removes the foil, he can make changes by "very discretely working them in with a brush."
Rather than jumping from one subject matter to another, Leek likes to focus on and complete a series.
"Each one of the paintings represents a series of 8 to 30 paintings. In fact, the ones with human figures are part of a series of 34."
His more recent series of quaking aspens is more fluid and synthesized than an earlier one. When doing these paintings, Leek says, "I have always been enamored with back-lighting as it filters through the leaves."
Leek's impressive exhibition continues through May 12 at Tivoli Gallery, 255 S. State, (521-6288). Gallery hours are 10 to 5:30 Monday through Friday and 11-2 on Saturday.
Artist/traveler Noal Betts visited the Kimball Art Center recently and dropped off a number of his watercolors that now fill the center's Main Gallery.
Gallerygoers can enjoy a vicarious trip around the world as they gaze on scenes he painted in Greece, Singapore, Istanbul, Yugoslavia, Tahiti, Venice and many other places.
Those familiar with Bett's work are familiar with his "shorthand" painting technique where he simplifies shapes and focuses on key areas, leaving lots of white paper untouched throughout his composition.
This "less is more" philosophy is evident in some of his works. Three of his best are "Hong Kong Harbor," "Venetian Sky" and "The Potter." However, often, his technique becomes "less is less," as he ends his painting before developing it properly. This is particularly noticeable in "Boats, Bora Bora," "Shop Keeper, Barbados" and others.
Fifteen years ago, a cruise line invited Betts to submit designs for posters of ports around South America. This resulted in a 63-day cruise around South America. When in port, he would sketch in location. Later, at sea, he would retire to his cabin and paint. Every two weeks he'd hold an art show for the passengers.
Since that time, other cruise lines wanting "cabin art" and promotional posters have contacted Betts. This has resulted in many cruises to exotic, far away places on cruise ships Sitmar (now Princess) and Royal Viking Line.
Betts' exhibit, "Mystical Journeys," will remain at the Kimball Art Center through Saturday, April 27. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.