Al Denyer

Lake Effect
January 19, 2024
Al Denyer

As a contribution to the crucial Great Salt Lake conversation, Modern West has showcased Lake Effect, a six-person exhibition with artworks depicting the current state of our Great Salt Lake’s decline along with the detrimental aftermath that may occur if nothing is done to protect the place many of us call home.


Al Denyer is an artist from Bath, England now based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Denyer’s work has routinely taken a focus on the topography of northern Utah, using intricate lines and inspiration from traditional cartography practices. In her new body of work titled Surface Area, Denyer shifts gears into a study of both the surface and what lies beneath the Great Salt Lake. She utilizes broader brushstrokes to replicate geographic fluctuations of the lake bed and the unseen halophilic bacteria and archaea which cause the north arm of the lake to appear pink.



You are originally from England but now live and work in Utah. Have the different landscapes between here and England always inspired you? How has living in Salt Lake City during the lake crisis impacted you from an outsider's perspective?


Landscape has always inspired me as an artist.  Landscape and environmental issues are intertwined, and the water crisis currently faced by the Western States cannot be ignored. I feel compelled to address this using my ‘voice’ through the language of visual art. 



Your new series of paintings titled Surface Area are visually different from prior bodies of work. Can you tell us more about what inspired you to shift gears?


I wanted to create a new body of work that addressed fluidity and transparency of surface, in particular the surface of the Great Salt Lake.  As a visual artist, it’s important to choose the ‘right tool for the job’, and in this case oil glazing techniques enabled me to create the aesthetic that I had initially envisaged.



What is next for you after this body of work? Do you plan to continue painting with this new visual approach, return to your intricate ink drawings or something entirely different?


Whether considering land or water as my subject, I feel that both inform and work together in tandem. With my land focused work, the action of water is very present through the depiction of canyons and rivers. I’m drawn to both for different reasons and feel that there is a deeper conversation that could happen as I progress with both bodies of work.



View more works from Al Denyer in our exhibition of Lake Effect.