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Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News
Patrons look at the many pieces of artwork on display at the 84th Annual Spring Salon at the Springville Museum of Art. The exhibit runs through July 6.

The 84th Annual Spring Salon, at the Springville Museum of Art through July 6, is a visually and thematically diverse exhibition. And while some might consider the exhibit too eclectic, it's this striking diversity that gives the show its energy.

"We had 970 works entered, which is our third highest, and it's about all we can handle," said Vern Swanson, director of the SMA.

According to Swanson, the 284 works juried into the show are strong in modern, very good in traditional, but a little weak in sculpture and printmaking. "The photography is by far and away the best it's ever been," he said.

The jurors, Paul McCormack, award-winning New York state artist, and Emily Stauffer, Salt Lake curator and appraiser, deserve recognition for their Salon selections; each had strong opinions, but the duo obviously pushed each other to excellence.

As in past Salons, artists from Utah's 100 most-honored list list were invited to submit two works that were not required to go through the jurying process; at least one of the two works is guaranteed admittance into the show.

However, whereas in prior exhibits, many of the honored artists' submissions have been subpar, this year, with 45 out of the 100 artists participating, there is only one piece that might be considered weak. Consequently, the contribution to this year's Salon is immense.

"I have to tell you," Swanson said, "in Utah visual arts, the old painters are still producing, the middle-age painters are getting better, and the sterling young talent is coming on. Every year there's a whole range of artists I've never heard of. It's amazing."

Several standout pieces in the show are "Orphan and the Madonna's Robe" by Kent Wing (purchased by the SMA); "Little Girl and Pup" by Fidalis Buehler; "The Artist's Studio" by David Malan; "I Remember" by Blanche Wilson; and "The Tree Witnesses" by Frank McEntire. (See accompanying story for a complete list of award winners in the Salon.)

One impressive aspect of the show is the skill level of the majority of the works. Artists are making efforts, some have taken great risks, and the result is work that is academically sound, visually intriguing and occasionally edgy.

Even if traveling to Springville seems like an expensive trip, what with the high price of gasoline these days, the journey would be well worth the money spent; this year's Spring Salon is excellent.

If you go

What: 84th Annual Spring Salon

Where: Springville Museum of Art, 126 E. 400 South, Springville

When: Through July 6

Gallery hours: Tuesday-Saturday,10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Wednesday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Sunday, 3-6 p.m.

How much: Free

Phone: 489-2727

Web: www.sma.nebo.edu

E-mail: [email protected]