There’s terrific art in unexpected places this May: Stroll through Red Butte Garden (300 Wakara Way), take in Robert Wick’s monumental bronzes sporting native plants and wish the folks there a happy 20th anniversary. Chris Coleman’s show at Phillips (444 E. 200 South) affords an opportunity to fill your own garden with sculpture, while the U’s Bachelor of Fine Arts Graduate Show is at Kayo Gallery (315 E. 300 South) with more than 30 artists showing their stuff, including a few installations in the back studios.
Bonnie Sucec and Josanne Glass, Studio Nine, 926 E. 900 South, 532-2929, through July 30. Reception: Friday, May 20, 5-8 p.m.
A Bonnie Sucec exhibit has become a rare treat. Like many people, she’s been concerned about Iraq, and the works in this show are filled with war-related imagery. But Sucec says that given her “mark-making” style (those little black blips on “I Hear Thunder” are tanks, if you look closely) and a strong, flamboyant sense of color, they come across as “pretty” pictures—but with a serious message. Josanne Glass, whose “Maternidad and Other Works” just closed at the Chapman Branch Library, has been a human-resource professional for 25 years and involved with the arts only peripherally, as a trustee for the Salt Lake Art Center. A couple of years ago she took up painting under Sucec, and has developed a strong style of her own that nearly equals her teacher’s in imaginative elements. Her Mexican heritage is apparent, Glass says, in most of her work “in terms of color, style and, at times, subject matter.” In “Angel on High,” shown above right, she told City Weekly, “I didn’t want a blonde, blue-eyed angel.” But she pointed out that the odd trees in the picture were lifted from the background of da Vinci’s “Annunciation,” giving her American folk art Mexican angel an Italian Renaissance flair.
“Non-Objectives,” abstract paintings by Allen Bishop, Rose Wagner Art Gallery, 138 W. 300 South, 468-3517, through June 23. Reception: Friday, May 20, 6-9 p.m.
In a “curious twist of art nomenclature,” writes Allen Bishop, “those works that refer to nothing external to themselves, and are most easily recognized as self-contained objects, are called ‘non-objective.’ Maybe this means that such pieces have no practical objective, only the interesting arrangement of form and color. I confess my addiction.” In Bishop’s work, what you see is unfailingly what you get. His work usually involves applying acrylic paint to shaped wood relief panels “often in a multi-part, re-arrangeable format.” As someone once wrote, “Bishop relinquishes final control of the painting to someone else who is free to rearrange the components according to their own creative and expressive manner.” Salt Lake County’s Victoria Bourns said this isn’t true of most of the works in this show, though with “Non-Sequitur,” shown center of the page, “the ‘top’ can be moved to the bottom or sides.” Also showing: “Paints Intuition,” portraits and landscapes by Albert Wint.
“Western Wilderness 2: Work by Mark Knudsen,” Ken Sanders Rare Books, 268 S. 200 East, 521-3819, through June 15. Reception: Friday, May 20, 6-9 p.m.
For Mark Knudsen, the Great Basin Desert is like Walden without the pond. He hikes it, writes about it, philosophizes about it and, most important, paints it. If you missed his recent show at Phillips Gallery, here’s another chance to share in his solitude. Which is to say Knudsen will paint you what he sees, but won’t take you along on the journey. His work serves to make you want to discover the mystery for yourself. Now that he has retired from his career as an artist for The Salt Lake Tribune, he’ll be painting more of what he knows about the “beautiful desolation” of the desert. “Over King’s Pass and through the House Range, the Confusion Mountains rise like a wall of mystery and laughter,” he writes. His spare paintings, like “Near Colorado City” shown below, are of the real desert, with ambling cows, mud pies and pickup trucks stopping to gas up. “The western cliffs flash,” he writes, “and thunder moves through the valley like darkness debating the light. … A line of homeward pelicans, fluent with purpose, crosses the horizon to the west.” Eloquent prose from the man who, with Tim Kelly and Neil Passey, created the irreverent and extremely funny Utah, Gateway to Nevada. Ken Sanders likely has a few copies lying around. Be sure to ask.