-A visit to many galleries today is much more meaningful than it used to be. Gallery owners and artists alike are finally realizing that the public wants to see more than just a work of art. They want to be exposed to the artists' statements and philosophies as well as an explanation of techniques.
Lory Smith, whose distinctive pastels cover the walls of the Gayle Weyher Gallery, is a self-taught artist. In explaining his work, he says he is "less reliant on technique or strategy." He wants to evoke "an emotional response to the seen and unseen world around us."Although an artist is seldom in the gallery when you stop by, it's always a pleasure to have a gallery owner or manager on hand who has done his or her homework and is conversant on the artist's style and background. And Gayle Weyher is one of them.
She said that earlier in his career, Smith created sculpture from wood and other found objects. But it wasn't until he began working with pastels a couple of years ago that Weyher became excited about his work.
His technique is far from complex. "It is the content of his work that fascinates me. His work is very approachable, symbolic, humorous and unique," Weyher said.
Smith's colorful pastels are created on an axis; what you see on one side of the composition is repeated on the other. Yet the works don't appear static, since subtle nuances have been added to each side.
The artist has been a film programmer for the U.S. Film Festival since 1978.
"Wall of Sound" continues at the Gayle Weyher Gallery, 167 S. Main, through May 5. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday or by appointment. Call 534-1630.
-Those of you who are fans of Silvia Lis Davis are undoubtedly very much aware of her one-woman show at the Pierpont Gallery - an exhibit that reflects the season of the year; many of her sculpted dogs and cats lounge around lethargically, victims of spring fever.
But that tranquil mood doesn't damper Davis' outstanding creations. They continue to show off her painstaking craftsmanship and sensitivity.
Although her sculptures are realistic, they are not photographic. Davis explains, "I try to make my sculptures real enough so people can empathize with the subjects. However, I also include a personal sense of design."
When preparing for each sculpture, Davis looks at bits and pieces of everyday life and then translates them into wood. "No subject is too insignificant for me," she said.
Some of those subjects include telephone poles, mechanical pieces, radiators and windows. Of course, she often adds cats and birds to embellish these objects and add a center of interest.
Because of the incredible number of hours Davis spends on each large sculpture, she has to put a hefty price tag on it. Unfortunately it is often out of reach for many of her fans. I can guarantee that if she sculpted smaller, more affordable works, they'd sell like hotcakes.
Davis' sculptures remain at the Pierpont Gallery, 159 West Pierpont Ave., through May 19. Gallery hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. For information, call 363-4141.
-The two-man show in the Courtyard Gallery below the Pierpont is superb. John Telford's color photographs and Royden Card's black-and-white woodcuts work beautifully together. Although the mediums are markedly different, there is a congruity present that beautifully weaves these two mediums together.
Inasmuch as a major story was written about this show on the Entertainment and Arts page on March 26, I won't elaborate on it. But let me stress that you'll miss a real treat if you don't see the exhibit.
If you like abstraction, you'll love Telford's "Ice Pattern with Leaf" and "Purple & Blue Streaked Sandstone"; and Card's "Shadows" and "Spirit Mesa." And one of the finest realistic photographs of Bruce Canyon I've seen is Telford's "Sunrise, Inspiration Point."
To learn more about printmaking techniques, be sure to walk into the gallery's back room. There you will find tools, materials and prints by gallery artists with a concise explanation on how to create woodcuts, etchings, lithography and serigraphy.
-Two other artists whose works complement each other are Sharon Brown Mikkelson and Nadra E. Peragallo. Their work is being featured at the Utah Designer Craftsman gallery through May 6.
Not only have these artists taken time to write and print their statements, but they have set up a slide presentation to better understand their work.
Mikkelson said about her porcelain works, "I am interested in creating movements, rhythms, and textures that reflect my natural surroundings." Her vases embellished with fish, shells and frogs are indeed impressive. But most appealing is her pottery with grey heron images.
Peragallo began as a weaver but became frustrated with the two-dimensional limitations. She then explored felt and paper making. The handmade paper objects are included in this show, as well as some unique weavings.
Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
-Utah Townscapes 1989 fills one of the spacious rooms at the Marble House Gallery, 44 Exchange Place (532-7332). The response to the call for entries was moderate but did attract artwork from around the state.
Carolyn Davidson of Providence entered a small oil "Winter Sunshine." Other fine works include Ron Johnson's "The Cottage," Linda Kohler Barnes, "Old Main Street, Park City," and Arthur Clark's "White Grainary."
My favorite, however, is Troy Stone's watercolor of downtown Cedar City. He didn't succumb to rigid lines and excessive detail but managed to retain a relaxed, spontaneous feel throughout the work.
"Utah Townscapes 1989" continues through April 28.