Through representation, curated exhibitions, and community programming, Modern West supports established and emerging contemporary artists who, in compelling and varied ways, reframe our understanding of the American West. Envisioned, constructed, and owned by community member Diane Stewart, the gallery opened in 2014 in downtown Salt Lake City and relocated further West, to a larger location, 412 South 700 West in 2019.

Modern West is a nexus for community engagement and artistic conversation. The Artist in Residency program's mission is to educate and inspire by fostering collaboration and cultivating community. The program is a platform for opportunities specifically for emerging and mid-career artists. We provide artists a flexible space for creation, interaction, and support. 

Artists will gain experience through critiques, workshops, interviews, and panel discussions throughout their residency. They will be encouraged to speak about their work and to build new connections with visitors and collectors. At the end of the residency, artists will have an opportunity to have their work featured in a solo exhibition Upstairs @Modern West or online exclusively. We review applications on an ongoing basis. Applications are kept on file when at capacity and the gallery will be in touch if selected. Thank you for your interest in our program. We invite your ideas and collaboration.

  • Amelec Diaz

    Modern West is pleased to present Artist in Residence Amelec Diaz. His residency will span April 1 through May 31, 2021. An opening to celebrate the works finished during his time at Modern West will be held May 21, 2021. All are invited to attend. 


    Amelec Diaz is currently based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Diaz lived most of his life in Phoenix, Arizona and was born in Michoacán, Mexico. Diaz’s artistic practice absorbs socially complex imagery to create a kaleidoscope of archival cartoon characters, authentic graffiti and Pre-Columbian artifacts. An interdisciplinary artist, Diaz’s process is intense, utilizing multimedia layers on his paintings that include oil paint, acrylic, acrylic stucco, and spray-paint with a focus on archival integrity. Diaz works with several different mediums and highlights each material’s unique properties in a sculptural form. 


    Diaz has recently focused on a series depicting HB2281, a law banning ethnic studies in the K-12 educational system that was codified in 2010 in Tucson, Arizona, and later ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Using policy and politics as a base, much of Diaz’s work is founded on deep research and curiosity related to the memory and post-memory of a geographic area. Ancient Stone, Gold and Steel artifacts from the Americas are contrasted with cartoons or graffiti layered over remnants of memory - artifacts. The exciting nature of Diaz’s process fuel the gridded structure of his amalgamated objects.


    In this residency, Diaz intends to continue his focus on HB2281 and protecting the Constitution of the United States. Although the body of work seems to focus on a microcosm in Arizona, in actuality the body of work exemplifies a macrocosm of the tense cultural relationship embedded in America and American politics. Diaz’s work and research continues as current laws and an executive order from the 45th presidential administration are now finding their way into the national University system. The executive order has obstructed efforts by corporations and universities to support diversity and anti-racist endeavors.


    Amelec received his AAFA from Phoenix College as an Eric Fischl Scholar. He received a first place award in painting and in sculpture from the Phoenix College Annual Juried Student Show (2013), in addition he was awarded the Eric Fischl Vanguard Award (2013). His work has been featured at the Association of Joteria Arts and Activism’s national conference (2012) and has shown in group shows at Legend City Studios (2013), Modified Arts (2014) and Urban Arts Gallery (2020). Diaz also has shown his work in a solo-exhibition in the Eric Fischl Gallery (2014).


  • Aïsha Lehmann

    Modern West is pleased to present Aïsha Lehmann as our artist in residence. She will be in residence from April 27 to June 30, 2021. Her time at Modern West will focus on preparation for her solo exhibition at Finch Lane Gallery, on view from October 8 – November 19, 2021. 


    Born and raised in Provo, Utah, Lehmann is a current student in Brigham Young University’s Studio Art BFA program, with minors in Sociology and Africana Studies. As Lehmann’s family is one many of cultures, her father being Swiss and her mother biracial, her work engages with concepts of identity, race, ethnicity, gender, and spirituality. Her research dense practice fuels these explorations in her prints, collages, drawings, and other mixed-media works.


    Lehmann’s detailed and intentional prints depict metaphors of social puzzles. Through the course of her artistic practice, her research has delved into the history of segregation in the United States, race in our contemporary housing market, and the residential mobility of mixed-raced households. Though often addressing uncomfortable questions regarding identity and race in the United States, Lehmann’s work does so with open curiosity. The patience in each piece creates a tapestry of pattern, guiding the viewer into engagement with the subject matter. Lehmann’s work allows an incredible amount of information, visual and conceptual, to exist simultaneously.


    Laying out clear metaphors for her questioning, Would You Swim in an Integrated Pool?, 2021 is a color-infused linocut. The title addresses the viewer with a direct query while the piece displays an active scene. Energized with its balanced but asymmetrical pattern, Lehmann condenses a multitude of interactions with layers in space, dimension, and state of matter. Skillfully depicting an intertwined variety of relationships bouncing like atoms, the characters and their thoughtfully spaced color codes exist in this imagined third place. The work pointedly remembers that historically pools were a site for racism but during the Civil Rights Movement, they also became a site for activism. Lehmann writes of the piece, “Last spring when George Floyd was murdered, we’ve witnessed an influx of activism and persons expressing support for black lives but I wonder where each of us are actually situated and what we’re doing when we profess support. Are we chilling around the pool, are we swimming in the pool, are we poking a toe in to test out our own comfort…” Lehmann’s work engages in self-discovery, for both the viewer and the artist, and consistently pushes for reevaluations.


    Lehmann has exhibited regularly in solo and group exhibitions such as the 97th Annual Spring Salon at the Springville Art Museum and Small Works at the Covey Center for the Arts. Her numerous awards include the Talent Award Scholarship from the Department of Art at Brigham Young University and Best in Show for the Department of Art Annual Student Show. She is currently preparing for an upcoming solo exhibition at Finch Lane Gallery.

  • Previous Artists in Residence