Those who have escaped the ravages of oldage unscathed—or only mildly scathed—are continually putting the lie to stereotypes of their limitations.
They continue productive employment beyond what used to be considered mandatory retirement age, participating in athletic activity and an energetic intellectual life. Art Access’ 80-something shows that it’s possible not only to create art into your 80s, but also to maintain an original vision. These are nine of the major figures in the local art world. Anna Campbell Bliss uses large segments of vibrant colors with a strong design element that results in geometrical forms. She recently has used computer programs to create large-scale architectural forms. The only returning artist from the first incarnation of this concept five years ago, Dorothy Bearnson, was a longtime ceramics professor at the University of Utah. Spanish-born Pilar Pobil is renowned not only for her paintings but her lush garden in the Avenues.
These aren’t just canvases brushed with pictures of pleasant peaks and calming clouds. The “magical realist” paintings of Edie Roberson (“A Tantrum” is pictured) added an uneasy sense of whimsy to the 337 Project. Ursula Brodauf molds expressionist sculpture. Douglas Snow has been a pioneer of abstract art in Salt Lake City since the heyday of abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollack, when sagebrush scenery was the most likely visual product of local brushstrokes.
Utah’s art landscape has undergone indelible changes since these artists were born. They have all been instrumental in guiding its subsequent directions.
80-something @ Art Access Gallery, 230 S. 500 West, 801-328-0703, April 17–May 7. Artist reception April 17, 6-9 p.m. AccessArt.org