Gallerygoers can walk quickly through this year's Spring Salon and, in some cases, identify who created what. The works are so distinctive that many of these artists don't have to sign their work; their styles are their signatures.
Look! There are oil paintings by Lee Bennion, Richard Murray, Tony Rasmussen, Gary Smith, Richard Murray and Kent Wallis; watercolors by Al Rounds and Gaell Lindstrom; sculptures by Frank Riggs and L'Deane Trueblood; drawings and prints by Moishe Smith and Francis Zimbeaux.Attracting attention from the onset are the large and/or highly colorful works. And there's an abundance of these.
The largest include paintings by Rasmussen, Wallis, G. Smith, Stephen Mark Bartholomew, Carolyn Coalson, Darryl Erdmann, Lin Xia Jiang, Layne Mecham, Kent Ricks and Clay Wagstaff. Sculptors whose large pieces made it into the show are Jerry Andersen, Ursula Broudauf-Craig, Michael Hullet, Frank McIntire and Riggs.
Filled with dynamic colors that practically jump off the wall are works by Allen Bishop, G. Smith, Rasmussen, Wallis and others.
But, come to think of it, you won't find seasoned gallerygoers walking briskly through an exhibit. They'll take their time, savoring every moment. They'll penetrate the exhibition's facade and probe into the real meat of the show. As a result, their experience will not only be visual one, but emotional and perceptual as well.
And they don't overlook the small or less ostentatious works. They realize that some of these might be the real jewels of the show.
Some of these small gems have been created by Cynthia Faye Hudgens, Denis Keogh, Wayne Kimball, David Pursley and Todd Stilson.
Subtle yet highly impressive works include those by Elayna Clegg, Bruce Robertson and Mary Lou Romney.
This 67th Utah Spring Salon at the Springville Museum of Art attracts many Utah artists. In fact, they submitted 607 entries. They know that just getting into the show is a feather in their cap - not to mention exposure and recognition as well as possible cash awards and sales.
Assuming jurying duties for this exhibition were Gerold Wunderlich, director of G. Wunderlich & Co., a gallery in New York City; and Allison South, director of the Salt Lake Art Center. After carefully scrutinized each entry, they accepted 181 works - enough to fill four galleries, two hallways and the museum's foyer.
Without seeing the works that were eliminated, I can't evaluate the effectiveness of the jurying process. But one look at the ones that made it into the show suggests that the jurors knew what they were doing.
One thing is very obvious, however. Interspersed among works by established Utah artists are others by new, young artists who are beginning to give older artists a run for their money.
Some of the artists under 30 whose works add significantly to the show are Jiang, Wagstaff, Steven Lee Adams, Roger Buxton, Carrie Call, Clayna Clegg, Kenneth Corbett, Lan Cui, Kindra Fehr, Maria Lisieski, Kathryn Nielson, James Rees, Rand Smith and Janis Wunderlich.
In fact, Jiang won the first place cash award for his large oil on canvas "Above the Horizon: Series Three;" R. Smith captured a third place cash award for his wood sculpture; and Wunderlich walked away with a juror's choice award for her intaglio "The Serpent's First Wrap."
However, 25 other jurors' and director's awards were reserved for more seasoned artists. Second place cash awards went to Frank Huff and Benson Whittle; Third Place Cash Awards to McIntire, Rand and Harold Peterson; Juror's Choice Awards to Bennion, Hullet, Smith and True-blood - as well as Tom Bettin, Connie Borup, Paul Forster, Fred Lyman, Robert Marshall, Marjorie McClure, Jim Norton, Greg Olsen, Gary Lee Price, Bruce Smith, G. Smith, M. Smith, Kate Clark Spencer, Todd Stilson, Lane Twitchell, Richard Van Wagoner, David Wade and Carolyn Waller.
Adding to this year's surprises are new stylistic directions of several well-known artists. Keep your distance, and see if you can pick out work by Bartholomew, Borup, Petersen, Ricks, Barbara Edwards and Edith Roberson. But be careful, one of those large sculptures you think is by Riggs is not; it's by Broudauf-Craig.
Over the years, this spring exhibit has taken on different complexions, directions, depending on who and what were eligible. Fortuitously, museum director Vern Swanson's policy now is to limit the geographical area to Utah as well as accept all styles of artistic expression, from photo-realism to non-objective art.
Utah artists must be pleased with these new directions because more and more of them are entering the show each year.
And the public is realizing that many of these works are the creme de la creme of Utah art and are eager to purchase the work. Although the show opened April 13, a number of the works in the exhibit have already been purchased. In fact, Lila Larsen, assistant director of the museum, said sales have never been this brisk at the Spring Salon.
Apparently, museum personnel have learned much from previous spring salons. Everything appears to have run smoothly this year. Even the exhibition's catalog was hot off the press and ready for distribution on opening night. And that's a first!
Priced at $5, this handsome book contains color and black-and-white photographs of some of the best works, a list of the award winners and information about each work on display.
This must-see exhibit will remain at the Springville Museum of Art through May 26. Located at 126 E. 400 South, the museum is open daily (Tuesday through Saturday) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except Wednesdays, when hours extend to 9 p.m.); and 2-5 p.m. on Sundays. The museum is closed Mondays and holidays. For more information, call 489-2727.