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Four Old Geezers, One Last Hurrah!

Deral Barton, Earl Jones, Denis Phillips and Tony Smith share a remarkable history, the kind of history that art exhibits are made of. The four trace their roots to days at the University of Utah when the late Alvin Gittens—known for his portraits of LDS leaders—was chairman of the art department, the Vietnam War was on and, for one exhibit, their work caused such controversy it was moved off-campus to The Art Barn. Phillips Gallery’s new show is less about the aged, and more a tribute to the local art of the avant-garde. These “geezers” continue to forge trails in their chosen media, and this show celebrates both historic beginnings and an important ongoing tradition.

Denis Phillips is well known for abstracted canvases of color and line. In his new work, he presents equally provocative digitally rendered abstractions. These are articulated in meticulous detail through giclée prints such as “800.”

Earl Jones made his mark on Utah landscape following in the path of Maynard Dixon and LeConte Stewart. He painted mountain ranges and skies like “Marble Canyon, Utah” that are reduced and emotive. Deral Barton combines the traditional with an element of surprise in ceramics that continue to dazzle. “His Master’s Flute” is a stoneware pot with a full figure of Pan set atop, circled by faces of Pan, with cleft feet for the base.

Frank Anthony Smith’s “Tankhead” (pictured) is a massive pen & ink rendering of a lopsided tank armed with visual puns. Heads jut from every direction—strong gender types, people of ethnicity, even celebrities like Nicolas Cage. Smith trudges the ground of social commentary with this armored vehicle. It is a loaded show—and seemingly these “geezers” are far from their “last hurrah.” (Ehren Clark)

Four Old Geezers, One Last Hurrah! @ Phillips Gallery, 444 E. 200 South, 801-364-8284, through May 11, free.

Date: Apr 27, 2012
Time: 11 am
Phone: 801-364-8284
Address: 444 East 200 South, Salt Lake City, 84111
Where: Phillips Gallery