Diane Stewart | Drawing A Blank

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Gallery owner Diane Stewart was recently featured in Salt Lake Magazine speaking to the current cultural environment of downtown Salt Lake City. Read the article below…

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Tom Judd & Kiki Gaffney | POINT OF VIEW

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Point of View is an exhibition of work by artist couple Tom Judd and Kiki Gaffney. It examines their unique perspectives on the Utah landscape. Judd originally from Utah, now residing in Philadelphia, returns to the places he once knew. Through his work he explores visual memories, creating nostalgic paintings that evoke the experience of a past reality. Collaged and layered, they call to mind a carefully made scrapbook, both tender and personal. Gaffney grew up in Pennsylvania and experiences Utah as a visitor. Her work shows a new and unfamiliar landscape in sharp focus, much like a visual journal that captures the adventure of a new place, approaching the work with inquiry and a careful attention to detail. The exhibition pairs their perspectives and presents a strong collection of work that highlights two distinct voices, both uniquely inspired by the Utah landscape.

The following is a MWFA interview with Tom Judd (TJ) and Kiki Gaffney (KG) about Point of View.

 The Valley by Kiki Gaffney

The Valley by Kiki Gaffney

 Fallen Aspens #3 by Kiki Gaffney

Fallen Aspens #3 by Kiki Gaffney

You are from Pennsylvania but you visit Utah regularly with Tom, your husband, as he grew up here. What was your first impression of the state?

KG - Before meeting Tom I had never experienced the mountainous western states, so the first thing I noticed when flying to Utah for the first time back in 2003 was the incredible view of the mountain range from the plane. I remember loving the view of Salt Lake around twilight, as the sun was setting behind those mountains and the city lights twinkled in that grid formation, sort of like LA. With each passing year we would venture further up the mountains and farther away from Salt Lake to experience different parts of the state. Tom's brother in law, Kurt Bishop built a home in Castle Valley, about 20 miles outside of Moab, and we would spend time down there. I never realized how much I enjoyed being in nature and the pure exhilaration of hiking, climbing and seeing until I discovered Utah. The landscape itself didn't figure into my work until much later, although nature and organic formations have always been integral to my imagery.

 Dead Horse Point by Tom Judd

Dead Horse Point by Tom Judd

 Trailer by Tom Judd

Trailer by Tom Judd

The works in ‘Point of View’ are inspired by your relationship to Utah, the place where you grew up. How does this place inform your work?

TJ - In 1980 as a young man of 28 years old, I took a journey and I called it “The Story of Egypt and Utah,” a title which truly creates more questions than answers but seems to capture something about the story I wanted to investigate. It entailed driving from Philadelphia to Southern Utah. I camped on the desert floor, walked miles in the sun, got stuck in quicksand, took a lot of pictures and kept a journal. It had something to do with chasing down the ghosts of my ancestral family history. I am the great grandson of the famous Mormon President Heber J. Grant, although I did not grow up in a Mormon home and have never been a believer, I have always been fascinated with the story. The myth of the saints arriving in their dark wool suits and covered wagons in this lake bed desert and declaring “This is the Place!” – encapsulates the notion of “Manifest Destiny.”  Part of the attraction for me is the landscape itself which, while living many miles from it in Philadelphia, has always had a hold on me. Although I don’t consider myself a landscape painter, it resides in the back of my mind and has been the subject of many of my paintings. Now the landscape has taken on a whole new meaning for me — aside from the real or imagined history — and that is because of looking at it with my artist wife Kiki and daughter Astrid. We have visited it every year in late summer for almost 10 years. We visit it as a family. Each year we arrive in Salt Lake, flying over the top of the Wasatch Mountains, landing near the scared and surreal great Salt lake. It is always breathtaking and mysterious. We then pack up our rental car and head south to Castle Valley, near Moab. The drive itself is startling. The grey, blue and green landscape, the endless sky, the abandoned gas stations. As artists, Kiki and I are always talking about it. The landscape. We take photographs and hike and walk and drive. It is a vast and haunted place. We return to Philadelphia with our minds full of imagery and ideas that get interpreted through the filter of our artistic visions. We work in the same studio so we can see what we are both doing on a day to day basis. What's really so interesting is how our visions are so different. Kiki delves into it with an eye for the detail, the gestures defined in tiny lines. Methodical, even meditative in their process. I am almost the opposite in my approach; sweeping, quick, on the verge of falling apart at times. Together we present these different inquiries. What they have in common is a profound sense of scale, and the primitive nature of their existence, and perhaps our existence. Now we also have Astrid, who is 11 years old and keeps us in the moment with her observations and a sense of wonder that children bring to everything.

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How did the Western landscape affect your work?

KG - I have always been interested in natural and organic forms, and how they inform constructed imagery (like wallpaper patterns for example) For many years I was influenced by Karl Blossfeldt's botanical photographs, and the beautiful circular and linear gestures these images exhibited. After some time I felt I had exhausted this line of inquiry. On a trip to southern Utah a couple years back I began to notice and appreciate that same circular and linear imagery in rock formations that had so drawn me to the Blossfeldt photographs, and I began to work from my own photographs to interpret these new images, and how they relate to constructed patterns we see and use in our daily lives.

You have talked about being inspired by the ‘beauty of things that tend to go unnoticed.’ How do you portray this in your work?

KG - Continuing my response from the previous question, one thing I was very clear about was the utter majesty of the southern Utah landscape, breathtaking in scope, depth and color, and the beauty obvious to anyone who viewed these incredible natural formations. My studio is located in north Philadelphia, a very poor, crumbling and forgotten section of the city. One day I walked to the corner store for a bottle of water, and I realized how fortunate I was to be able to straddle between these 2 disparate landscapes - the natural wonders of Utah and the grit of north Philadelphia. I began to notice things in my studio neighborhood - crumbling pink brick walls, dilapidated churches, chain link fences, a rusted, hulking El (elevated rail line) and began to see these images through a reverent lens - they represented a time long past, a history that has importance, but is fading. This new way of seeing led me to notice the same effects in nature, particularly trees that had fallen naturally and began to decay. These are all things that are generally not considered pretty or note-worthy, but for me they hold a certain serene beauty, and something to elevate to a higher level. I use these images in my work and often surround them with beautiful patterning, glitter and gold leaf to subtly reference religious iconography.

 Kamas by Tom Judd

Kamas by Tom Judd

 The Great Salt Lake by Tom Judd

The Great Salt Lake by Tom Judd

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There is a nostalgic quality to your work, and you have talked about how the ‘notion of evidence of the past,’ as an inspiration, can you talk about that?

TJ - I think the past defines us. I think our childhood memories become stories that we make up about ourselves and the world. They live with us all the time. That is where it all starts, the good, the  bad and the ugly. It’s all there. I think my work is sad, but in a beautiful way. I like sad things. Not sad like depressing, but sad like moved. To be moved by your life and who you are for yourself and others. That’s living. Making artwork gives me that opportunity of expressing what it is to be human, to connect and relate my experience to others. To take the unspoken, the heartbreak perhaps and create it as an opening of communication with others. That is what art is for. It is a noble cause.

 Green Cottonwood by Kiki Gaffney

Green Cottonwood by Kiki Gaffney

 Pink Cottonwood by Kiki Gaffney

Pink Cottonwood by Kiki Gaffney

 Yellow Cottonwood by Kiki Gaffney

Yellow Cottonwood by Kiki Gaffney

Your work often includes very detailed graphite drawings and gold leaf, in addition to paint. Can you speak to the use of these varied and less conventional materials?

KG - I have always loved to draw and, until a friend of mine gifted me with a mechanical pencil some years back, never knew the level of detail one could accomplish - I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing, as I have gotten pretty obsessive! I do love the combination of realistic rendering with more abstract brushstrokes, and the "push-pull" energy that that creates. The gold leaf is a fairly new discovery and it is really a nod to the reverence of religious iconography. I grew up in a fairly devout Catholic household and have always loved the splendor and ornateness of the saints and souls surrounded in gold that adorned our local church. In my work I try to bring that same kind of 'reverence' (or at least attention) to imagery that may not seem worthy of notice, and I find that gold leaf helps in that endeavor.

 Colorado Bend by Tom Judd

Colorado Bend by Tom Judd

 Southern Utah by Tom Judd

Southern Utah by Tom Judd

 The La Sal’s by Tom Judd

The La Sal’s by Tom Judd

How do memories play a role? Is there an association with the materials you use, the use of collage for example?

TJ - I think the collage elements began with this notion of found evidence of a life. It could be anyone’s. The drawer full of junk, pencils, old notes, batteries, checkbooks, old photographs, a  saved letter, calendars, postcards. It tells a story. I’m not interested in telling a particular story. I want people to make up their own story from looking at my work. I want people to see themselves, if they do, in what I have done, bring their own longings and wonderings and life to the experience. In a way, maybe I am speaking to our collective memories. I think our memories are mostly fiction. Something happened, but what you are remembering is how you felt about it, and what you said about it. It lives in that world. The heart is full of those kind of memories, and they become who we are.

 Polka Dot Mountain Range by Kiki Gaffney

Polka Dot Mountain Range by Kiki Gaffney

You have talked about creating a ‘space for contemplation and pause’ for your viewers, can you talk about this?

KG - I used to have a full time job as a fundraiser for cultural institutions, and I would make my art in the evenings when I got home. My strokes were pretty loose, exploratory and quick. Eventually I realized I needed more time for art making, so I gave up the full time job and created a living with several part-time jobs, one of which was teaching yoga (I had already been practicing for some time and got certified to teach, but never really expected to.....). Fast forward 16 years later and I am still teaching yoga:) Studying and teaching yoga has taught me a tremendous amount about patience, pausing, looking, listening, paying attention and seeing in a new way. I have a very restless mind but have found that making small repetitive marks brings about a sense of calm. I also have a love for beautiful imagery. I used to think that was bad, mostly due to a searing ‘crit’ I received in grad school, in which the artist/teacher took a quick look at my work and dismissed me for "liking pretty things." It took me a long while to realize that wasn't a bad thing at all, and now I embrace it - I recently started to incorporate glitter in my work!! The other thing I realized (with the help of yoga) is how, for the most part, people don't take the time to pause, look and listen. We are plugged in at all times, looking down at a device, moving quickly and impatiently to "the next thing," without being very aware of the thing we are currently in. The detail in my work is really meant not to overwhelm, but to draw people in to see, ponder, contemplate and pause, and to create the space for all of those things. That to me is what art is all about.

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 Lake Bed by Tom Judd

Lake Bed by Tom Judd

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One of the pieces in the show, is an installation that includes the model of a building in front of a painting that’s pinned to the wall. Can you talk about this piece?

TJ - I have always been fascinated with the found abandoned structures which one discovers in isolated towns and corners of the west. I’m also interested in the notion of evidence of the past, both in the forms of architecture and objects, including automobiles, household supplies, and tools. Things that speak to man’s presence, the stuff that we leave behind that tells our story in contradictory ways. I am interested in extending the reach of my work beyond the picture frame. Starting with my Hermit Project in 2005, where I created a room that one could walk inside of and experience. I have been working with the idea of paintings interacting with objects that seem to jump out of the painting. This particular work, "Lake Bed” came about almost by accident. I built the cardboard house ten years ago and it had been sitting around in my studio collecting dust. I had moved it in front of the painting one day and it instantly took on a life of its own. The relationship between the house and landscape (of early Salt Lake Valley) was perfect. It captured something about the architecture of the early homes and structures in the painting and occurred as an historical artifact.

Work in Progress | Milan, Italy

This October the “Work in Progress Mural” traveled to Milan, Italy to be exhibited in the restaurant of chef and collector Brendan Becht, founder of Zazà Ramen, noodles bar. Brendan exhibits a new contemporary artist every six months, usually commissioning them to create the work directly on the walls of the restaurant.

The “Work in Progress Mural” is the concept of Modern West Fine Art (MWFA) represented artist Jann Haworth, who also directs the collaborative project. The stencil portraits are made by participants in workshops run by Jann Haworth and Liberty Blake, most are created by self confessed ‘non-artists’. The final panels are collaged together by artist Liberty Blake, also represented by MWFA.

Brendan Becht is the son of Fritz and Agnes Becht who established one of the most prestigious modern collections in the Netherlands, and were listed in the ‘Top 200 collectors’ in ARTNEWS for five consecutive years. The Becht’s bought two of Haworth’s pieces, “Charm Bracelet” and “Betjeman Bear” in the early 60’s when she was based in London and represented by legendary art dealer, Robert Fraser.

Gallery owner, Diane Stewart and Jann Haworth travelled to Milan for the opening dinner, and media launch, where the mural was extremely well received. The following article (translated from its original Italian) was written by Caterina Angelucci for ArtsLife. Photographs were taken by Stefano Mascolo and are reproduced courtesy of Zazà Ramen.

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‘Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, a French politician and gourmet, the same age as Robespierre, said that inviting someone for lunch meant taking charge of this person's happiness during the hours he spent under their roof. It may be trivial, and perhaps a bit, and yet the aphorism seems to coincide with the idea that I made to meet Brendan Becht, founder of Zazà Ramen, noodles bar in Via Solferino 48 in Milan.

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Brendan is a collector chef, and every six months on the premises of his restaurant, he offers exhibitions by contemporary artists. From 17 October 2018 to 24 March 2019 the walls of Zazà Ramen will host Women's History Mural (Work in Progress project), a project by Jann Haworth and her daughter Liberty Blake. The two surnames, Haworth and Blake, were linked 50 years ago by an artistic association: In 1967 Jann and Peter Blake, Liberty’s father, created the Beatles iconic cover for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the biggest album of all time.

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At the base of the genesis of the Women's History Mural there is the same collage technique that has so characterized Sgt. Pepper but from the ideological point of view the new mural work clearly distances itself: Jann tells that the figures the Beatles chose for the cover consisted of more men than women, and those women were pin-ups or mannequins. Today, this is no longer acceptable, and for this reason Jann decided to create a mural with the faces of women who have distinguished themselves in history, science, politics and art, becoming icons of the era to which they belonged.

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During the opening dinner at Zazà, the enthusiastic energy of the artist was accompanied by the background noise from the kitchen and aromas of oriental flavors. The six panels on display - in the complete work are more than double, with a total of 250 female faces - present colors that cross the various ranges of brown, gray and bordeaux with some interruptions of electric blue, perfectly accompanying the style of the room. It seems custom designed but actually is pure chance, jokes Brendan Becht while welcoming his guests. Under the eyes of Marie Curie, Tracy Chapman, Anne Frank and Jane Austen we sit at the table with Jann and Brendan, while hot portions of ramen arrive. The chef comes from a family of Dutch collectors who in 1965, in London, knew Haworth through the gallerist Robert Fraser, also a friend of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. In 2016 the two got back in contact and the invitation to exhibit in Italy came soon after.

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Women's History Mural is a project in progress: presented for the first time in 2016 at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, in Salt Lake, it grows from exhibition to exhibition. In fact, the two artists invite participants to suggest the women they would like to see represented, creating a collective and collaborative project. For now, only one Italian woman is present and it is Maria Montessori but Jann immediately announces that many more will be added. A traveling work with a strong ideological connotation, Women's History Mural can be seen at the Leonardo Museum's Woman/Women Exhibit in Salt Lake City.

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The first stencil, says Jann, was Bessie Smith, legendary African American jazz singer, who is next to Nefertiti, Michelle Obama, Mary Shelley and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Making art in the 21st century according to Jann Haworth is a real mission. The artist stages herself, strips herself of everything making herself vulnerable and her task is to accompany the audience inside the abysses of her art, but everyone is afraid of the sea and for this reason it is necessary to insist: "Art is a journey through the sea, everybody's frightened, but I'm right here”.’

Article written by Caterina Angelucci for ArtsLife

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Patrick Dean Hubbell | EQUUS

EQUUS | A Series of Paintings that Honors the Significance of the Horse

“In this body of work the horse is explored in the most basic form, in the shape of the figure, to the special companionship shared and into the spiritual significance we respect within our Indigenous Nations. This body of work translates the equestrian role of the horse within Indigenous peoples' language, stories, songs, and philosophies, but also draws reference to the horse within the natural world. Through the use of line movement and line quality, the reference to the horse in the environment, a specific time of day, or in an atmospheric space of nature, is depicted.

Also, within the use of line taking shape to the figure of the horse, the connection to certain aspects of nature actually embodying the horse in the way the clouds, the air and the seasons change and move across our land through the layering of gestural line and the repetitive nature of the horse figure creating movement. This significance of the horses and how it is revered in the Native American belief is depicted in the connection to the stories, songs, and philosophies within different Native Nations. This body of work draws upon inspiration of the primitive use of line found as it relates to the animal in early prehistoric cave drawings and also the early Plains Native American style ledger drawings.”

-Patrick Dean Hubbell

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Tell us a little bit about yourself, your upbringing and how art became a primary focus for you?

My name is Patrick Dean Hubbell. I was born and raised in Arizona. I am Dine' (Navajo). I was raised on the Navajo Nation near the Window Rock, AZ / Navajo, NM area, located right on the AZ/ NM border. I grew up in a very small, rural town where family and close relatives are very important to the role of the foundation of community. We were raised close to our Navajo traditional, cultural beliefs and practices, the duties of maintaining ranch livestock with horses and cattle, and the simplicity of rural life. I first noticed advancement of basic drawing skills with eye-hand coordination and draftsmanship at a young age and began to develop this talent as my education progressed. Attending a very small privately funded school that lacked a lot of the standard resources found in public school, but nonetheless, I had a young passion for creating that never stopped and only grew. It wasn't until later that I realized the insufficiency in a lot of the materials we had for the Art programs, but it didn't stop me from trying and growing. From there I went on to attend Arizona State University, where I later obtained my BFA in Painting and Drawing. Within my years as an undergrad, I realized that I wanted to pursue the Arts as a full time professional career. Our Painting Professor used to pose the question for our class to get us thinking, "Less than 10 percent of all Art Students are able to be full time artists, what makes you and your art any different?". This question ignited a determination to create. I always believed that I had an important piece to add to the conversation of Contemporary Art and how my voice through Contemporary Native/ Indigenous Art could be heard.

A connection to the Earth is obviously important to you, can you explain how that connection impacts your work?

A strong connection to the Earth is essential to all Indigenous nations. It is the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual connection to a nation's land. We are centered and in balance with the natural environment through our stories, songs, philosophies, and ceremonies that are rooted in this way of thinking for our people. This is the foundation of where my work evolves from. This mindset is what drives many of my inspirations that revolve around the natural environment, nature's patterns of change and existence, and the physical elements of earth including plants, animals, and the human figure. It is a constant that is expressed through different bodies of work but in turn all comes back to the central idea of how our unique and individual relationship to this Earth exists.

Your current work is primarily abstract but references the natural world through pattern and symbol. Can you speak to that?

Pattern and Symbol is a universal language and crosses cultural boundaries. These patterns and symbols have ancient meaning and correlation to the art work of many Indigenous Nations found in textiles, basketry, pottery, carvings, beadwork, quillwork, etc. I have used the medium of painting to further the conversation of these symbols and patterns to make connection to the natural world in my work by presenting them in way that abstractly touches upon the use and meaning of these symbols. This allows the freedom to explore the possibilities of the realms this work can access. By having the meaning present, the 2 dimensional surface of the painting is able to depict many instances of how nature is presented through atmosphere, landscape, and entities within nature.

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EQUUS

Opening reception, Friday, October 19th, 6:00 - 9:00pm

The show will run October 19th through November 30th, 2018

John Berry | Solo Show of New Paintings

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Modern West Fine Art premiers John Berry's most recent paintings...

“Using color, pattern, line and texture my work strives to capture what it is to be human. To live with a dual nature of spirit and body. I use the interplay of line, pattern, shape and color to explore what it means to be human. By adding marks, covering or erasing marks, I hope to convey a sense of a life lived and the complexities of living and making our way in a human world.”   -  John Berry

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We chatted with John Berry about his most recent paintings

Can you describe this body of work and what inspired it?

"… I do not think of it as a "body" of work, there's not a starting or stopping point. It is just one stream of consciousness that has come from inside. As far as inspiration, I am not sure I have inspiration per se, rather, what is in my thoughts or what is currently happening in my life, that is the genesis of all my work..."

 

Could you talk a little about your process?

"… Routinely I try to change the way I work. Whether that is starting differently or using different materials or ways of application. I try to constantly mix it up, make myself uncomfortable with what I am doing. Even buying arbitrary colors... By doing this though, I hope to let each work become what it needs to be, if I am doing the same routine over and over, I feel it becomes stale. I think you can see this if you look at my work over the last few years."

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Do you listen to music while you paint, if so what have you been listening to recently and does it influence the work?

"Yes, I do. It always influences the work in one way or another... Music produces such an emotional response, whether it is the pace, sound, nostalgia etc.  So I usually select music that is in rhythm with my feelings for that day. But sometimes I do put something on that is the opposite of what I'm feeling, that is always interesting... It will range from Indie Rock to Reggae to Classical, to 80's music I grew up with, but more times than not it is what the kids call Alternative. Spoon and Metric are my favs."

 

What have you been reading?

“The Last River”, a nonfiction story about people trying to kayak a river near Nepal, that has never been run before. I like adventure stories, but if you wanted to get artsy, I did recently finish a biography of Matisse. Biographies of artists are a mainstay of my reading, go figure."

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Can you talk about how you come up with the titles of your pieces?

"Most of the time my titles come from songs or phrases I read or hear that resonate with the piece. Sometimes they are straightforward, sometimes I try not to reveal directly what I was thinking or feeling, just hint at it... I hope by doing that I let the viewer fill in the gaps, make the piece their own. Kind of like connecting the dots, that is the hope anyway."

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About John Berry:

A working artist for 25 years, Berry started his career as an illustrator before turning to painting. Initially he worked as a wildlife and landscape artist, exhibiting regularly. As he continued his career he turned his full attention to the landscape, painting Plein Air and then developing larger works back in the studio. Over time his work shifted to focus on the shapes and colors of a more abstracted landscape, eventually moving entirely to pure abstraction. Berry works intuitively, channeling feelings and emotions into the painting, the results of which are bold colorful works that exude a pure expression and passion for the act of painting.

Opening reception, Friday, September 21st, 7:00 - 9:00pm

The show will run September 21st through October 13th, 2018.

WEST - The Effect of Land and Space

Eleven Women Artists who Take Inspiration from the American West

The American West imbues distinct feelings. The emptiness, space and possibility for solitude are — if not unique characteristics — distinguishing factors that are impossible to ignore. The West — an expanse of land and sky, saturated with silence and stillness — provides an environment that demands attention and instills the desire to be present. Here are conditions that stir the senses and give space for creation to ignite.

 

KIKI GAFFNEY

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"I was first introduced to the western landscape around 2003, when my future husband brought me out to meet his family. They are all around the Salt Lake/Park City area, but his brother-in-law Kurt also built a place in Castle Valley, near Moab. As someone who grew up on the east coast, traveling only as far as the Jersey shore for family vacations, this new landscape was utterly breathtaking. We have since come back every year to Utah, often hiking the same trails as the year before, and I never ever tire of looking out at the sweeping views, and breathing in the majesty all around" 

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"The west for me represents expanse - externally for sure, but also internally, giving me 'permission' to let go, move freely, create space and think in new ways. It is a reminder of Mother Nature's artistic brilliance, power and beauty, and offers me an endless source of insight and inspiration for my own artistic endeavors" 
- Kiki Gaffney

 

LIBERTY BLAKE

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"I come from England, where the landscape is organized into fields and the horizon feels close. When I first came to Utah, I felt a deep affinity for the desert, its huge skies, distant skylines and particularly the sense of stillness and waiting that it imparts. I’m drawn to the quiet of wilderness, its gentle movement, wind moving plants and birds flight. It allows me to slow and calm my mind to match the pace of the surroundings.

I only ever work from memory as this enables me to create work that’s both a visual and emotional reaction to a place. A collage might be inspired by a fleeting glimpse that imprints itself in my mind, or from layered feelings and images built up over many visits. I make art to document experience, in the same way a person keeps a written journal. My intention is to draw attention to things unnoticed, overlooked or discarded and to encourage the appreciation and preservation of places that can’t speak for themselves" - Liberty Blake

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AL DENYER

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"Definitions of the West for me, are strongly tied to notions of landscape and ecology.  Holding both a dramatic and fragile visual impact, the landscape of the West directly influences the artwork that I create.

The landscape of the West is hard to ignore.  With vast spaces and layers of geological history, this landscape consistently inspires me to create and question.  The confusion of space in the landscapes of the West, where the vast could also be microscopic, directly influences my visual language.  It is this concept of visual space that becomes a starting point for my work" - Al Denyer

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JODY PLANT

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"Mystery, expanse, the sky when I was a child. An uncommon spaciousness informs my work. The West is an extreme landscape, a hunting ground. I hunt bits of nature and history to combine. The memory of the land resides within these assemblages. Hands touch and work the earth, eyes search the horizon. The land is vast and varied. A slant of light, a cloud, a bird sound, river water, dusk, dust devils, lightning storms. If the West is about anything, it’s about possibility obscured. The land where you are born keeps you, always. You are made of it." - Jody Plant

 

JANN HAWORTH

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"As myths go The West is a great one. It does not carry the weight of a raft of moral imperatives — it is more of an action painting type heroic story. What startles me is that it is somehow still living. There still are cowboys, ‘Indians’, and wild horses. My west is a long love-affair that is as fresh today as it was when I was a child — I love the shards of the west, my jeans, tooled leather belt and pearl stud shirt — I love the crassest motel with a wagon wheel and a giant arrow sticking in the ground.  When making art though, I want to avoid – kitsch – nostalgia – lying – cultural appropriation – postcolonial white mindsets. I can’t do ‘pretty’, say the horse, because it is too beautiful. Can’t do a drawing of a Native American, much as I want to, now that I have heard about Caucasians with ‘feathers in their hair’ and cultural appropriation. But what I want to capture is West NOW and for me, that is not looking at old movies, or arches, or modern versions of sexy things like cowboy hats — I am a sucker for them — but I want to catch something of modern cowgirls, and for me these are the roller derby jammers, or the mountain bike as a horse, the ‘hipster’ as a cowboy, or acknowledging that the 'pioneers' were homeless people. The west was settled by immigrants, that ‘occupied’ the land like squatters or ‘Occupy’ protesters.  They carved out a living, largely ignorant about how best to do that. Their story was mythologized almost before they lived it, first in dime store novels, then circuses and then by Hollywood. To catch the illusive fast moving contemporary 'West' I hope to fuse the old legend with new actors and new roles" - Jann Haworth

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SHALEE COOPER

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"The West symbolizes freedom, expression, openness and possibility. The balance, past/present, positive/negative and everything in between. The ability to explore and forge new ground, to make a mark, to exist. It personifies endless opportunity and reinforces the potential to be or do anything you want" Shalee Cooper

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BEATRICE MANDELMAN

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SUZANNE HILL

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"What does the West mean to me? It means a wide open landscape, a sky that has it’s own personality, colors that can be both serene and piercing, lyrical landforms. The western landscape has been a revelation and an inspiration to me. When I visit these landscapes, places like Bryce, Zion, Arches, Grand Staircase Escalante, my mind opens up. I am also inspired by the pottery of the traditional cultures of the West. What I try to do in my work is bring those things together, the traditional pottery forms of the West with the colors I see around me"

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PETECIA LE FAWNHAWK

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"The west is the last remnants of our wilderness.  A place we can truly experience freedom and the force of the unknown." - Petecia Le Fawnhawk

 

 

COURTNEY LEONARD

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