Unusual exhibits ranging from light, humorous fantasy art to eerie, macabre works can now be viewed in several Utah County galleries. And the latter seem most appropriate for Halloween.
- "Art Extra-Ordinaire" recently opened at the Springville Museum of Art. Here, art works not only deal with fantasy and macabre themes, but with symbolic, surrealistic, visionary, mystical, metaphysical, astronomical, mystical and allegorical art.Vern Swanson, director of the museum, says, "This survey show is a new concept. It's never been done before."
In fact, Swanson coined the word "extra-ordinaire" because it describes the kind of art he was looking for. He says this art reflects "the personal ways in which inventive artists express themselves."
Swanson had expected about 250 entries. He was pleasantly surprised when the call for entries drew in over 500 entries. With the help of co-curator Karen Morgan, he whittled that number to about 200.
Swanson explained that there are works in the show by three groups of artists: 1. Those whose livelihood centers around art extra-ordinaire; 2. Those who normally don't paint this kind of genre, but did so for this show; and 3. Those who are deceased, but whose styles fit into the theme.
About 16 of the art pieces on exhibit are from the museum's permanent collection. These top-quality art works have been created by Gregory Abbott, Wulf Barsch, James Christensen, Don Doxey, Franz Johanson, Robert Marshall, William Parkinson, Edith Roberson, Gary Smith, Trevor Southey and Sam Wilson.
Other impressive works in the show were created by Betsy Campbell, Denis Deegan, John Erickson, Carleen Jimenez, Gloria Montgomery, Peter Myer, Mick Reber, Mark Robison and Mary Lou Romney - to name a few.
Some of the fantasy artists - Don Seegmiller, Bradley Teare, Larry Rodayane Esmay and David Kern - appear to have been strongly influenced by the fantasy art and style of James Christensen.
This fascinating exhibit continues through Jan. 4. Within the next two weeks, award winners will be announced and catalogs will be available. For more information, call 489-9434.
- Although a few works by James Christensen are included in the Springville show, many more can be seen in his one-man show in The Art Gallery in Brigham Young University's Harris Fine Arts Center.
This is truly a delightful one-man show that successfully spotlights both the artist's fertile imagination and his expert craftsmanship.
Christensen explains that his show, "Winged Words," deals with communication between characters within the works, and communication between the works and the viewer. "If the viewer's imagination is set wandering along some new pathway, then these paintings may have wings of their own."
Exposure to frescoes by Fra Angelico during a recent trip to Europe prompted the artist to incorporate words in his paintings.
Norbert Duckwitz of BYU's humanities, classics and comparative literature department, helped Christensen with the Latin and Greek phrases. He also suggested the title for the show.
The artist has included both acrylic and oil paintings. My preference leans towards his acrylic works, although his oils "Benediction" and "Fernando, the Fat Fairy" are both impressive.
Just as John Singer Sergeant did so effortlessly in his day, Christensen does today; both have made their many textures look so believable.
He juxtaposes soft gradations of value and color with hard-edged imagery. Yet, all elements work together beautifully.
This popular exhibit continues through Nov. 18. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays, and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. on Tuesdays through Thursdays.
- Anyone who goes to see James Christensen's one-man show will bump into Bart Morse's exhibit of transparent watercolors first. They're hanging in the B.F. Larsen Gallery on the main floor of the Harris Fine Arts Center.
Focusing on Southwest landscape, this exhibit is an interesting mixture of small, spontaneous sketches and large, overworked paintings.
The larger paintings are often filled with excessive textures and muted colors. Strong verticality is overdone by continuing it in skies and water.
On the other hand, the smaller works are unpremeditated and colorful. They allow the viewer to use his own imagination to complete the paintings.
I especially enjoyed his "Escalante II," "Navajo Mountain" and a series of small sketches titled "Site Sketchbook Treks."
Of the larger works, "A Tangle of Natural Order" is one of his best, even though the scale between the foliage and the car is a bit disconcerting. "Hidden Pool/Coyote Canyon" is also fairly successful, thanks to the large area at the bottom void of heavy textures. The water, however, is distracting. It looks more like a vertical rock than a pool. This could easily be corrected with horizontal "ripples" running through the reflections.
Morse is an MFA graduate and an associate professor of art at the University of Washington. His show remains at BYU through Oct. 28. Gallery hours are 7 a.m.- 10 p.m. daily.
- The Brimhall Gallery is located on the southwest corner of the campus, and anyone other than faculty and students who plan to go there during the day will have a long walk from the visitors' parking area - about 1,000 steps, one way!
Those willing to make the trek to the gallery will find the sculptures of Frank Riggs, who is noted for his simple designs where curved and straight-edged forms interact beautifully.
No newcomer to the BYU campus, Riggs taught in two departments there - art and design - for more than 18 years. Recently, however, he has been concentrating all his efforts on sculpting.
His work can be seen in many private and public collections nationwide. In fact, Riggs had to approach a number of the corporate and private owners for permission to borrow the sculptures for this show. It ends Nov. 4.