Attempting to pigeonhole the work of a creative visual artist today can be frustrating. Just when you think you've got the artist's style pegged, he'll surprise you with new and different ones.
This is especially true with several Utah artists who are currently displaying their work in local galleries.- Dolores Chase Fine Art spotlights one of the most versatile - Edith Roberson. Her style ranges from her photographic trompe l'oeil paintings to abstract-expressionist works. And there's a lot in between.
Those "in between" include a kind of sketch-painting style where the end result reflects a pastel-like quality rather than a oil painting. And a number of her three-dimensional works contain found objects she has picked up at numerous garage sales over the years. In fact, sometimes its difficult to distinguish between her made and her found objects.
She plopped Polyform figures into the cockpits of two antique airplanes and titled the work "George and his Guardian Angel Having a Swell Day."
She modeled a man's head in Polyform, attached some goggles, and titled it "Hero." The three pieces make an exciting grouping.
The vacuum is a familiar object in several of her works. In a 3-D work, a winged angel pushes one over a carpet. It's titled "House Angel."
Perhaps the most unusual and visually exciting work centered around the vacuum is "Cosmic Cleanup." This painting shows an Airway vacuum traveling through space, sucking in all that air pollution. Maybe that's the answer to all the carbon monoxide that hangs heavy over Salt Lake City.
Titled "A Bizarre Party," Roberson's show runs through Nov. 12 at Dolores Chase Fine Art, 1431/2 W. Pierpont Ave., 328-2787. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 12 noon-3 p.m. on Saturday.
- At the Phillips Gallery, Denis Phillips is full of surprises.
Many gallerygoers are familiar with his representational and nonobjective styles. But it's still hard to believe that the same artist who drew the two realistic ball point sketches (numbers 37 and 38) and painted the oils (numbers 42 and 43) also painted some large, abstract works.
Phillips shows even greater versatility as he tries his hand at photography, capturing some exciting scenes on film. In "Sandworks I," he photographed his own Stonehenge, made by combining sand and twigs. In his Stanley Basin Stick series, he shot colored photographs of painted sticks arranged in interesting patterns on the ground.
The majority of the show explores a number of artistic possibilities resulting from mixing plastic utensils with a creative mind. Here, the artist has approached his challenge in a variety of ways, and the end results are often exciting. Especially appealing to me are numbers 14, 28, 34 and 65.
Phillips' exhibit flows over into the Gallery II in the basement, so don't leave before seeing all of it. In fact, following the numbers on the printed list will take you into several additional rooms downstairs.
Denis Phillips' new show remains through Oct. 29 at the Phillips Gallery, 444 E. Second South, 364-8284.
- The Finch Lane Gallery has been made alive with sculptures and paintings by Maureen O'Hara Ure.
Ure describes the pieces in this exhibit as "something between painting and sculpture." But the pendulum swings to painting in such works as "Persephone" and "N.Y.C."
The artist says this exhibit is autobiographical, since many of the works deal with her personal history. She gleaned her subject matter from landscape, architecture, theater and disasters. She says these are images that have stirred her thought and stimulated her imagination.
Like Roberson and Phillips, the artist also uses found objects. She says she gets them from junk stores and her studio mates' trash. She covers them with layers of paint and ink. Often, if they do not sell, she saws them up, re-assembles them into new forms, and repaints them. She says this process may continue over a period of many years.
"The sale of a work calls an end to this creative/destructive cycle," she said.
Some of her most exciting works in this show are "Night," "The Thrill of the Hunt," "Persephone" and "Great Escapes"; and "Blue Skies" has been painted on top of an old chalk board.
Her exhibit continues at Finch Lane Gallery, 54 Finch Lane, through Nov. 10. For additional information, call 596-5000.
- The Atrium Gallery's walls are currently filled with works by Brian Kershisnik. And while the three artists we've just talked about experiment with many styles and mediums, Kershisnik prefers to concentrate on one style and medium.
Actually, it's unusual for such a young artist to have already developed a distinctive style, which appears to have been influenced by Rouault, Modigliani and BYU art professor Alex Darais.
Here, the single human figure can be found in 16 of Kershisnik's works, with about seven other paintings containing two or more figures. The faces are somewhat expressionless, giving the viewer the feeling that they are masks hiding the model's true personality.
Surface textures are fascinating. And colors are often enhanced by black outlines. However, these lines don't isolate areas; they occasionally become soft and disappear, allowing the viewer's eye to move more readily from one image to another.
Kershisnik holds a BFA degree from BYU and is currently pursuing an MFA degree there. Since 1986, he has made impressive inroads into the visual arts scene by winning a number of awards in art competitions.
His show continues at the Salt Lake City Library's Atrium Gallery through Nov. 8.