- Artists eager to exhibit their works sometimes settle for locations that do little to enhance their art. Their creations might brighten the walls of restaurants, bookstores, theater foyers, and other buildings, but artists are finding that they make few sales. People enter these places for other reasons, and it takes a considerable visual stimulus to divert their attention to the art work, let alone motivate them to buy it.

Often accompanying these and other exhibits are problems of limited space, poor lighting and distracting surroundings. These elements were noticeably present - or absent - in four exhibitions this past week.- The Upstairs Gallery at the Salt Lake Art Center is an ideal location for Harry Taylor's wood cuts and etching prints. His works are relatively small, so he was able to include quite a number - 65 in all, including woodcuts, etchings, mezzotints, aquatints and collagraphs.

Most viewers are immediately drawn to Taylor's colored woodcuts; there's no question that they're the highlight of the show. Filled with stylized forms, predominantly vertical lines and spots of bright color, they reflect a mature, individualistic style.

When Taylor was asked to identify the foundation upon which he creates his artwork, he said, "Design, design, design!"

As his images become more abstract, they become more symbolic. Much of the symbolism, however, remains the artist's secret. But the images can't help but trigger the viewer's own imagination.

One image resembles an elephant. However, the title, "Three Heads," dismisses the idea that it's an elephant. Rather, those "elephant ears" are stylized human heads.

Usually it's easy to single out two or three of an artist's best works. Here, however, there are many. Some of them include "I Hate Ants," "Ben Lomond," "Bird Woman," and "Barrier West."

Taylor will present a gallery talk at 3 p.m. on March 12. The exhibit remains at the Salt Lake Art Center (328-4201) through April 9.

- Utah Watercolor Society members were excited about being the first art group to exhibit in the new Salt Lake County Government Center. UWS President Shirley McKay enthusiastically spearheaded the plan. And personnel at the center were most cooperative. They even installed hanging rails in the west hallway on the second level of the south building for the show.

McKay said more than 175 people attended the opening reception on Feb. 26. She said they enjoyed mingling with the artists, viewing the paintings and sampling the buffet prepared by Bill Simms.

However, two problems surfaced. First, because of limited exhibition space, only 45 of 144 entries could be juried into the show. Juror David Ericson of Gallery 56 had to reject a number of quality works.

The second problem - poor lighting - was even more crucial. Although the center's permanent art collection hangs on adjacent walls and is handsomely lighted, the UWS show remains in the shadows. As a result, the spontaneity, color and impact of the show are lost. This proves that it only takes one missing element to seriously impair a show.

Hopefully, Ericson juried and judged the show under better light. In any event, he gave an award of excellence to Judd Daniels and awards of merit to Ruth Hewlett, Frank Huff Jr., Linda Adams Kesler, Beverly Mastrim, Nancy Tikker and L'Deane Trueblood.

But the dark hallway couldn't extinguish the glow emanating from works by Philip Barlow, Jerry Durrant, Thomas Leek, Shirley McKay, and Carl Purcell.

The UWS show continues through March 31 at the S.L. County Government Center, 2001 S. State.

- Marble House Gallery has plenty of good lighting and wall space, and these elements complement the art found therein.

Currently highlighted are Goupil and Company's engravings of famous French paintings.

These 1880 engravings preceded photography. And people unfamiliar with this technique can soon develop respect for it if they take a long, close look.

Engravers have scratched thousands of lines on metal plates and then printed them with black ink. Amazingly, many areas appear gray and have soft edges.

One of the most delightful reproductions is "Jack in the Box," where two girls show delight and amazement when they open the lid.

The mood of Antoine Vollon's "The Chicken Woman" has been expertly captured in Goupil & Co.'s engraving. Other outstanding works include "Ploughing in Nivernais," "Charity" and "The Day of the Fete."

Visitors to the Marble House Gallery will miss a lot if they only look at the engravings. Gallery regulars have a lot to offer. Some of the highlights include Ron Johnson's "Perpetual Purple," James Wilson's "Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite," Linda Kohler Barnes' "Grandma's Table," Norma Forsberg's "Abandoned," Larry W. Christensen's "Morning Turn," Gary Kapp's "Mountain Mist" and Rose-Ann Peterson's "Up City Creek Canyon."

- The Rock Barn Gallery in Farmington is small and intimate. Its owner, Rebecca Mann, is careful not to fill it with large works. For one reason, there's not room to step back and look at them from a distance.

Right now, she is featuring the watercolors of Osral Allred.

Those who are familiar with Allred's work will be surprised to find harbor and dry dock scenes. This subject matter is definitely not found in and around Spring City and Ephraim, Utah, where Allred lives and teaches.

Also impressive are Allred's portraiture and figure painting. And those who have attempted to paint this subject matter in watercolor know how difficult it is. Yet Allred seems to tackle the challenge effortlessly.

Although quiet and unassuming, Allred continues to prove that he's right up there with the top watercolorists in Utah.

His show continues through March 11 at the Rock Barn Gallery, 56 N. Main, Farmington. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.