Like the stiff-upper-lip Brits, visual artists aren’t always encouraged to incorporate humor into their work. Art Access Gallery’s new exhibit turns the proverbial arched-brow, artistically serious frown upside down, with a half-dozen artists who’ve already broken the chortle barrier.
Sam Wilson is a University of Utah art professor long known to his students for his wit as sharp as a sketching pencil, and his art uses puns and references to classical Italian art to create highbrow humor. Retired chair of the university’s printmaking department, Bob Kleinschmidt, also rolls out a barrel of laughs with his rolls of paper.
Pupil follows teacher, as Wilson’s former student Zane Lancaster satirizes “big wigs” and captains of large corporations; never more timely. Dottie Miles’ work (“The Committe II ‘Not Again ...’ ” is pictured) gently lambastes women and their various foibles in an affectionate way, from one who has lived it. Sara Shepherd Edgar looks at the comparatively quiet humor imbedded in everyday events, while Salt Lake Tribune political cartoonist Pat Bagley uses the world as his target and is still able to hone in on local politicos when they commit gaffes.
This is just a cross section of the array of Utah artists who use comedy in their work. These comedic creations remind us that art on the wall isn’t just a vision; it’s also a voice.