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Home / Articles / Guides / Artys /  Artys 2009: Staff Choice Page 3

Artys 2009: Staff Choice Page 3

By City Weekly Staff
Posted // September 9,2009 -

Salt Lake Art Center’s Contemporary Trends in Video Art
Over the past year, the Salt Lake Art Center has presented a series of contemporary video artists that normally Salt Lakers would have to travel to a coast to catch. Including the likes of the quirky but irresistible Miranda July, Mexico’s Ximena Cuevas and Steve Reinke from Canada, this trans-national series ended on a more local note. Utah X/I was inspired by the German art exhibition Documenta X and featured four homegrown video artists: Brian Patterson, Peter Stemple, Amy Caron and Kerri Hopkins.

Cult of the Book at Sam Weller’s Bookstore
Although some of the books in this exhibit were indeed readable, the primary directive behind the curation of Cult of the Book was either to create works of art out of books or create books that were themselves works of art, investigating the intersection of books and art. The end result was an extremely varied collection of art works by more than a dozen local artists that explored every last angle of what a book is—from printing to paper making to tomes of information and everything in between.

Chuck Parsons
Parsons’ delicate bowl- and bottle-forms are informed by the work of traditional Japanese pottery, yet carry a distinctly Western flair and a studied freedom of design that reveal his decades spent behind the wheel. Subdued glazes in celadon or temuku bring out this work’s highly refined formal aspects, while recent experiments in raku firing with horsehair surface treatments have yielded stunningly explosive results.

Squatter´s Hells Keep ale
While the beer inside is tasty, the label on the 25 ounce limited edition bottles of Hell’s Keep are worth framing all on their own. The artwork by William Swartzfager, who won a contest for the label design, tips a hat to Ralph Steadman’s artwork on Flying Dog labels.

Kaziah Hancock
The self-proclaimed “goat woman” from Manti is selling her own paintings to raise money for her Project Compassion, through which she paints portraits of soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan and gives them to the soldier´s family. She is suffering from arthritis, and any money she raises will buy supplies and hire other artists to help with the paintings.

Copper Palate Press
Not only is the little, tucked away, original brick garage amazing, but its location is also key. Behind the Guthrie Studios and the charged FICE gathering spot is the perfect place for photo and print collective. The work is great—sprawling to cover every inch of the brick interior all the way up to the ceiling. And the group includes many of your old and new local faves— John Andrews, Amber Heaton and Claire Taylor to name a few.

Shalee Cooper
It’s not easy. In her brief time at Saan’s photo gallery, Shalee Cooper re-invigorated Salt Lake City photography exhibits—bringing us the HOLGA shows, and For the Love of Polaroid! She has a knack for, and profound knowledge of, not only toy cameras and their possibilities but also of cutting-edge contemporary photo artists and methods. Lori Ballard is a noteworthy international artist she brought to Salt Lake City. Cooper is a woman with her finger on the shutter release and on the pulse—it’s nice she shared her insight.

The Oyster Pirates
What a spectacle of tentacles, birds, ladies, deep-sea creatures and all the associated flora imaginable. Glossy and amazing, the collaborative paintings pack the house and draw big crowds—these pirates aren’t messin’ around. They manage to keep it consistent and technically incredible between the seven artists—often working the same surface. Thanks for washing up on our shore this year.

David Ruhlman
Local artist David Ruhlman has been at his craft for a while now, but his show in January at the Finch Lane Gallery seemed to step things up. Loosely utilizing a form of folk art, Ruhlman’s repetition of such images as stag heads, red crosses and various religious iconography imbues his work with a weighty mythology that speaks to the heart of the horrors of an ever-changing human condition—one seemingly uprooted by its own self-referencing past and allusory history. Although stylistically completely different, aesthetically, one can see how Ruhlman was darkly inspired by the likes of Edvard Munch.

John_Carlisle.jpgBEST DIY ARTS FAIR
Craft Lake City
For those who can’t sew on a button, much less an entire messenger bag from scratch, Craft Lake City offered an eye-opening introduction to talented individuals creating handmade everything. Besides presenting fest-goers access to more than 40 vendors (many of whom normally sell their wares only online at sites like, the free, all-day event also featured local beer and food vendors, plus live music by local bands including Coyote Hoods, rockabilly family act Mad Max & The Wild Ones and others, attracting a diverse crowd, from wholesome to edgy types and everything in between.

Carrie Eldredge
If you’ve ever seen the lady, you know how mind-blowingly amazing her everyday style is. Funky, exotic, and just plain fresh would describe her digs. Her foray into jewelry is the same—her booth at Craft Lake City was filled with feathery necklaces and earrings that look as though they could swallow your head. But, when you try them out, they are exquisite. Finely crafted and made of nice materials, in a world of feather accessories, they are absolutely one-of-a-kind.

Ben Wiemeyer and Patrick Munger
You’ve known them for years—Wiemeyer for his work with the 337 Project and his grafitti murals and Munger as the guy who dyes funky shoes for his company, Lake of Salt. Now both working in Captain Captain Studios, they are furiously creating art that is asserting itself around town; Wiemeyer carrying on his explosive, ginormous body parts paintings and Munger moving successfully toward collage, drawing, and painting in addition to his wildly popular kicks. They are a good fit for the cloister of artists, and make a nice addition on open studio nights.

Jill Dawsey, Utah Museum of Fine Arts
It can be difficult to teach an old dog new tricks. It can be hard to keep a long-standing art collection relevant to ever-changing patrons. Jill Dawsey has done just that—with Then and Now and Desert Secrets, she has pulled works rarely exhibited from the museum’s permanent collection, pieces that many have been surprised and delighted to be able to view. And, her approach to the exhibits resonates with contemporary issues— thoughtfully making apparent the parallels. James Rosenquist, Trevor Paglen, Phil Collins and rare Robert Smithson drawings are highlights. Who knew the UMFA had these things hidden away?

Jay Heuman: Liberties Under Fire
Remember when Salt Lakers got to view Kara Walker and Jenny Holzer works without having to leave Utah? Finally! Awesome! If it weren’t for a personal connection to these important female contemporaries in addition to the other prominent artists in the show by Salt Lake Art Center curator of exhibitions Jay Heuman, it just may not have happened. Nice push for bringing in some good names we’d been waiting for.

Sundance Resort´s "Wine as Art"
To meet a great winemaker is to encounter a great artist, for he or she has unleashed boundless passion and soul in concert with studied technique and creativity to produce wines that can rightfully be called works of art. Hence, Sundance’s celebrated Wine as Art program, which is established to partner with distinctive vintners who exemplify Sundance values such as commitment to the environment and the celebration of independent voice, spirit and creativity. The Wine as Art program at Sundance culminates each September in the annual Sundance Food and Wine Festival. Don’t miss it.

Matt Glass
Matt Glass (who is also a freelance City Weekly videographer) turns ordinary people into murderers. He tucks dismembered body parts into desk drawers and places them on living room tables. He leads individuals into doomsday scenarios—the aftermath of a storm or unfulfilled prophecy of a failed cult. Glass’ subjects appear at first to be completely, almost dreadfully normal, but in his photographs they become eerie, even macabre, figures—beautiful and disturbing versions of ourselves.

Café Madrid
Dining at Café Madrid is always magical. But it’s made even more so by the beautiful art that adorns the restaurant’s walls. There is but one artist featured: the brother of Café Madrid owner Gabrielle McAfee, Juan Carlos Pino. But don’t think this is simply a case of nepotism. Any restaurateur would love to display Pino’s gorgeous paintings. His oils of women, in particular, capture an energy and vibrancy that is immediate, but also seem to span centuries. Like all great art, Pino’s work is timeless, but don’t take my word for it. Visit Café Madrid, order up a plate of tapas and see for yourself.

Kado Designs
More and more events around town include the floral signature of design trio Shelly Huynh Lewis, Brenna Quan and Marlo Miyoshi Shrives. As floral designers, they do big and little events with such flair that they’ve developed a following of people who demand to know what they know. As such, they’ve created a viable design school, offering workshops like Twisted Bouquets, Don’t Eat Your Vegetables, Back to Our Roots, and Floral Fashionista. Don’t mistake what they do with the work of a traditional retail florist shop; these three designers are hands-on, creative phenoms who are changing the floral-design landscape as we speak.

Troy Hunter’s Essential Tremors photography
Art Access Gallery has been an exemplary member of the community for its programs helping provide access to the arts for those with disabilities and with limited access. They’ve exhibited work by their teachers, mentors and students for 15 years, but have never mounted a show quite like this: Hunter’s trembling hands create some of the most remarkable lenswork ever seen in this city, neon lights dancing in spirals or descending like rainfall, in photographic visions that would be hard even to conceive otherwise.

Contemporary Design & Art
Georgian immigrant Michael Melik recently moved to his second location, near 100 South and Main—as opulent as his first, a beautiful space to see art. And, he has featured artists from all over the world, but especially Eastern Europe émigrés, from Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia, Lithuania, Armenia and more. He’s also showcased stylistic diversity, with sculpture, photography and even a display featuring psychedelic art.

Trent_Call_Newsweek_Ad_2.jpgBEST MAD MAN
Trent Call
In an episode of AMC’s Mad Men, an out-of-work bohemian blames ad executive Don Draper for perpetuating a culture of mass consumption, to which steely-eyed Draper replies, “And what would you do for a living if you were employed?” The cynical, jobless bohemian might also deride local artist Trent Call for creating some vibrant, witty house ads for Newsweek running in recent issues, but the truth is there is nothing wrong with getting paid to do what you love. Imagine, making a living off your art. It’s a safe bet part of Call’s freelance work helped fund more of his amazing graffiti-style paintings, maybe another cool art vending machine or limited-edition collection of drawings/cartoons.

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