Paintings can convey a wide range of moods. Some are filled with soft, transparent hues and transmit a feeling of rest and repose. Others containing bold, intense colors are packed with so much visual energy that they almost jump right off the wall.
A wide range of moods can be seen in two local shows - a retrospective exhibition of watercolors by Joseph A.F. Everett and a new show featuring works of Wulf Barsch and Hal Douglas Himes.- Everett's watercolors, now on display in the Main Gallery of the Salt Lake Art Center, reveal much of the personality of the artist. They are sensitive, tranquil and positive. They capture the freshness and the fragile moment of the Utah landscape the artist loved so much.
Indeed, Joseph Alma Freestone Everett (1883-1945) was both a sensitive artist and an extraordinary teacher. He touched many lives with a positive force. According to Robert S. Olpin, dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Utah, he was one of the best-loved artists that Utah has ever produced.
Everett's style does not "jump off the walls." It doesn't carry an immediate impact that some viewers would enjoy seeing. But there is something very subtle and personable about his works that make them easy to converse with, like an old friend.
It was not the grand, impressive sights of Utah that attracted Everett. He was drawn to the common, everyday subject; those scenes that other artists considered mundane - undramatic scenes from the valley and canyons, people at work and bathers on the beach.
Although his paintings generally lack contrast, they are fresh. There is little glazing. Warm colors have been used sparingly.
Values are sometimes so pale that Everett defined edges and shaded areas by using a pencil on top of the paint. This is particularly noticeable in "Cathedral of the Madeleine, 1941," "Cows in Winter" and "Hollyhocks."
In all of his works, the artist appears to be in control of the medium. His application is often rather tight, but there are some exciting works where paint has been applied freely and exuberantly. Two of them are "Flowers in Vase, 1942" and "Snowy River Scene, 1940s."
Vern G. Swanson, director of the Springville Museum of Art, feels that the continued strength of Everett's work was the result of his "insistence upon working out-of-doors. Fair weather or foul, he managed to capture his subjects' vibrant points by direct observation."
Born to George and Emma Freestone Everett in 1883, Joseph displayed artistic prowess early in life. His art teacher at Washington School, Miss Elva B. Godbe, recognized his talent and encouraged him. She arranged for him to take art lessons from J.T. Harwood. Later, he studied with John Hafen, Dan Weggeland and George Ottinger.
While an LDS missionary in England, he served under Heber J. Grant, who later become president of the church. Ever since that early association, President Grant was one of Everett's most ardent patrons and benefactors.
Although Everett's first passion was art, he had to work at other jobs to support himself and his family. He was an assistant pharmacist and later a draftsman for a railroad. He was often commissioned to paint the scenery for the old Salt Lake Theatre.
But in 1932, he "retired" from his job to paint and to be co-founder of an art school in the Lion House. Possessing great teaching abilities, he taught many children of prominent families.
His retrospective exhibition continues through May 21 at the Salt Lake Art Center, 20 S. West Temple. Hours at the center are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
- Strong contrasts and bold colors are juxtaposed with subtle passages in the works of Wulf Barsch and Hal Douglas Himes at the Dolores Chase Gallery. Although the show officially opens April 7, I was privileged to sneak a peek several days ago.
I was immediately drawn to a series of Himes' framed monotypes. Three of them rivaled anything I have seen him do to date.
These monotypes are prints, but are one of a kind. Perhaps we should call them transfer paintings, since they are painted on one surface and then transferred onto paper by using an intaglio press.
Himes prints with four colors - benzidine yellow, cyan, magenta and offset purple. Each color must be printed separately, so careful registration of the paper is vital. And Himes has learned the secret.
Also by overlapping semi-transparent colors, he's able to create a variety of other hues and chromas that enhance the print.
His works are complemented by striking lithographs and large paintings by prominent Utah artist Wulf Barsch.
For the most part, Barsch continues to explore the universe of the mysterious and symbolic. Pyramids, palm trees, and other images dot his work.
But gallery visitors are going to be surprised when they see two of his most recent works that are punctuated with large, white doorways. Resemblingstage scenery, these realistic images are visually disquieting and destroy the mood he has created in the darker areas of the composition.
On the other hand, his other paintings and lithographs are strong statements that reflect the style with which most fans are familiar.
A reception for this show will be held on April 7 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Although Himes will not be in attendance, Barsch will give an artist's lecture at 7 p.m.
The exhibit continues through May 6 at the Dolores Chase Gallery, 143 1/2 W. Pierpont Avenue in downtown Salt Lake City. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 3 p.m. and noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, call 328-2787.