It's difficult for a photographer to stand out, and a common response is to turn toward bigger and more imposing subjects. Not so for photographer Kamelia Pezeshki, whose work focuses on individual details of what might have been a larger subject. These microcosms reflect an invisible macrocosm, creating charm, mystery and intrigue in each piece.
A tempting cup of Turkish coffee rests on a saucer; why has it been left there and who might have left it? A cocoa truffle is carelessly left on a crisp white background (pictured); who could possibly delay indulging in such a delight? A glass goblet is filled with shells; what oceanic creature made these their home?
As works of pure formalism, these photographs are rich with sensually nuanced black & white tones. But they also inspire compelling thoughts about the context of which these small, detailed elements are a part. (Ehren Clark)
Kamelia Pezeshki @ Phillips Gallery, 444 E. 200 South, 801-364-8282, through April 11, free. Phillips-Gallery.com
Justin Wheatley: The Color of Truth
The past decade of professional artistic productivity for Justin Wheatley has been anything but dull and predictable. And Wheatley's current showing of break-through new works demonstrates a great leap forward in the artist's development.
Wheatley's distinctive multimedia techniques showcase the skills of a craftsman combined with the sensibilities of an artist. His earliest works bore great visual appeal; his strong focus on subject and a flourishing of compelling iconography made for powerful compositions. His current cityscapes are muted, with a hazy layering creating a detachment.
Wheatley's oeuvre has been an inquiry into reality beyond artificial exteriors; what possible investigation can a hazy, heavy "Main Street" scene (pictured) facilitate? Beams of lucid layered color traverse both broad and narrower horizontal expanses, with a glorious effect and contrast. Structure alone is monotonous and lifeless, while humanity has the color of dreams, creation and inspiration. (Ehren Clark)
Justin Wheatley: The Color of Truth @ 15th Street Gallery, 1519 S. 1500 East, 855-988-0487, through April 15, free. 15thStreetGallery.com
Salt Lake Acting Company: 4000 Miles
Complicated familial relationships have formed the basis of many classic dramatic works over the years. But Amy Herzog's 4000 Miles—an Obie Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist—takes a unique approach by sidestepping grand confrontations and focusing instead on the connection between two characters who seem like they should have plenty in common, but still struggle to connect.
Leo is a young, environmentally conscious progressive who arrives unexpectedly on the doorstep of his grandmother Vera in Manhattan at the end of a long cross-country bike trip. But Vera's no ideological opposite; she's an old-school leftist herself, though there may be differences in how they approach that concept. As Leo settles into living with Vera, 4000 Miles explores the way Leo has responded to the damaging events of his life, and how we sometimes need that connection to family, even when we don't think that we do. (Scott Renshaw)
4000 Miles @ Salt Lake Acting Company, 168 W. 500 North, 801-363-7522, through May 4, $15-$42. SaltLakeActingCompany.org
The Sting & Honey Company: Hedda Gabler
Manipulative. Idealistic. Villainous. Heroic. These are just a few of the adjectives commonly applied to the protagonist of Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. Hedda is a beautiful young bride fresh off her honeymoon when unexpected visitors awaken both Hedda and the audience to her lack of enthusiasm for domesticity. In the midst of precipitating events and characters' muddled motivations, things quickly get real, so to speak.
Ibsen has been called the father of realism, and Hedda Gabler is his most popular play. Its characters are among his most complex, most intricately developed and, of course, most real. Ibsen's characters are walking contradictions that some of us like, some of us hate, and few of us understand.
The Sting & Honey Company is known for its aesthetic creativity and talented casts, and its production of Hedda Gabler promises a memorable combination of artistic innovation and classic realism. (Julia Shumway)
The Sting & Honey Company: Hedda Gabler @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, April 11, 12, 16-18, 7:30 p.m., April 19, 2 & 7:30 p.m. $18. ArtTix.org