(BU) If you're intent on visiting the three new exhibitions at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, watch out; there are a dozen other exhibits that will attract you like a magnet.
As you move from one gallery to another, you'll find yourself in another country and another century. One moment you're looking at Chinese porcelains; next, you're admiring a collection of ancient Egyptian art. Then there are the Netherlandish, Italian, English and contemporary American art collections.But that's not all. There are galleries spotlighting works by 19th century American artists, Greek art of the 4th and 5th centuries, and traditional art of Africa, Oceania and the Americas.
Sounds impressive, doesn't it?
But wait! Don't forget about those three new exhibits!
(BU) University of Utah art faculty members are currently displaying their works in the museum's largest gallery, located to the right of the main entrance. This particular show is a strong one, quite unlike some in the past where works appeared to have been thrown together at the last minute and only a handful of faculty members participated.
This Annual Faculty Art Show has done several things. It has motivated faculty members to produce art. It reveals maturing styles and current directions. And it contains some of the artists' best and most recent works.
Participating in this show are Bearnson, Caravaglia, Davis, Dibble, Dornan, Johnston, Kleinschmidt, Marotta, Maryon, Morales, Pendell, Smith and Wilson.
Generally, these works need no signature. Each artist's distinctive style is identification enough.
But Frank Anthony Smith's new style is not that recognizable. Rather than filling canvases with lots of imagery, the painter has drastically limited the number of his objects as well as his palette. Colors are drab and monochromatic; imagery is so subtle to the point of almost disappearing.
Take a close look at "Causeway, 1988." First you'll see a plane, then a time piece. But look again. There, lurking in the shadows, are a nude man, a knife, a fork and squares and rectangles resembling buildings. Even the sticks and twigs in the bottom of the painting appear be spelling out words.
Art faculty members are always critiquing student works. But the roles are reversed in this show. Students now have the opportunity to evaluate the proficiency of the art professors.
Response appears to be positive. While there, I observed students standing mesmerized in front of some of the works; others were studying the works closely to identify techniques; others were jotting down their observations in notebooks.
(BU) The Thomas Gallery at the other end of the museum is filled with the collages of George Neubert, currently director of the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
It's obvious that Neubert didn't spend a fortune on art supplies. In fact, the most expensive part of his work is the frame. For his collages, he uses pieces of postcards and exhibition announcements he has received through the mail. Sometimes he glues pieces on top of one another; but, more often, he staples them and then enhances the design with gold foil, string and wire.
Although these collages have been made inexpensively, they become works of art because of a most talented designer. Neubert knows how to combine just the right sizes, shapes, colors, values and textures to produce an aesthetic, unified composition.
(BU) The third new exhibit, "Polished Perfection: The Art of Turned Wooden Bowls," can be found in the Hansen Gallery of Decorative Arts, the only gallery located on the lower level.
This traveling show, from the private collection of Edward Jacobson of Phoenix, consists of 87 works by 25 American craftsmen, most of them contemporary. One of them happens to be Provo's Dale L. Nish.
When cutting the wood, the turner uses ancient lathe techniques. He must first study the wood for distinctive patterns and textures; then he must choose a shape that will accentuate them.
Some of these handsome works have finely polished surfaces, while others have rough finishes; some have delicately fluted rims, while others have thick, heavy ones.
This show remains at UMFA (U. of U. campus) through June 4; Neubert's collages through June 11; and the faculty exhibition through June 12. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2-5 p.m. on weekends. For more information, call 581-7332 or 581-7049.