Art Access Gallery is celebrating 25 years of serving Salt Lake City. This anniversary year, its shows are particularly reflective of the essence of Utah contemporary art. Friday, a new exhibit features a prominent subject matter in the history of Utah art—landscape—but reveals its diverse and vibrant possibilities in form and content.
Gallery director Ruth Lubbers said, “Utah artists have always had an abundance of good scenery, and have taken good advantage of it. Art Access loves landscape, but knows there are a variety of artists who approach landscape through their own eyes in a variety of media.” The 10 artists collected here each approach landscape uniquely, inventively and thoughtfully.
Quilter Roxanne Bartel takes a medium common to Utah craft and unites it with traditional landscape in a completely contemporary approach. Her quilted canvases ponder the harmony of sky, horizon and earth. Jason Jones, a once conservative landscapist, took a new direction after the birth of his child.
His landscapes became fantastical and capricious, incorporated with out of place, ultra-realistic objects. These paintings have a poppish quality and suggest displacement and otherness. Lenka Konopasek has a political motivation. Her landscapes (including “Targeting,” pictured) address human destruction of land, the natural and the artificial. They are explosive, semi-abstract paintings that incorporate intense color and contrasts of light and dark.
The seven other artists’ works are equally unique and thematic. Art Access has succeeded in its aim; these landscapes are indeed shaken gently with a twist.