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UMOCA: Venessa Gromek

When is a tent not a tent? When it’s one of Venessa Gromek’s sculptures constructed of tent poles and lace, it’s like no other tent you’ve ever seen before. As the first artist featured in the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art’s Locals Only gallery in 2013, Gromek takes a form that locals who love the outdoors have a fondness for, and twists it to encompass unfamiliar connotations.

Many artists have vocations besides their creative ones. Gromek’s work in the outdoor industry has helped fashion her aesthetic sensibility as a sculptor. These tents are sublime, stunning artistic objects, and also cause slight cognitive dissonance with their unusual yet familiar shapes. In their smaller scale, they are unusable on a practical level; without even a point of entry, they defy the usual expectation for a human sanctuary in nature. Instead, they have an uncanny presence that seems to give them a life of their own.

Unlike tents designed for utilitarian purposes, these sculptures have the mark of the decorative; rather than rooted to the ground as a form of shelter, an item that provides a kind of grounding, in their fanciful colors they seem almost ready to take flight. With one of these pieces also showing at CUAC’s After the End exhibit at its new Salt Lake City home, they appear to be springing up all over. (Brian Staker)

Date: Jan 4, 2013
Phone: 801-328-4201
Address: 20 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 84101
Where: Utah Museum of Contemporary Art