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- "Irreverence" means a lack of proper respect or seriousness. It also means impudent, saucy and brazen. But it's up to the viewer to decide what definition to use when viewing "Spouting Off - Teapots: a reverent/irreverent look at the serving of tea," an exhibit at the Salt Lake Art Center.

As each potter and/or sculptor created his or her teapot, he showed respect for the medium used. However, some chose an irreverent approach by discarding the functional aspects of the teapot and introducing innovative, whimsical and unorthodox methods.The 18 participating potters fall into two groups.

The first are advocates of "form follows function" (the reverent approach). They include Dorothy Bearnson, Joseph Bennion, Kerri Buxton, David Cox, Lee Dillon, Sharon Brown Mikkelson, Charles Parsons, Stan Roberts, and John Neeley. Their teapots and tea services are very functional.

The second group of potters takes a more expressionistic attitude (the irreverent approach). Although their teapots have handles, spouts, and openings at the top, they are nonfunctional. Potters and sculptors who opted to pursue this style are Von Allen, Jack Droitcourt, Greg Glazier, Catherine Kuzminski, Sandy LeValley, David Pendell, James Robertson, Jim Stewart and Lorin S. Thunell.

Of course, the "irreverent" works are the first ones to catch the eye. Pendell's "Surfs Up, Tea is On" and Robertson's "Dancing Teapot" are excellent examples of capturing a feeling of movement in stationary objects. Kuzminski's "Fish Teapot" is shaped like a fish. Its surface is covered with colorful images of cats and fish.

The whimsical award should go to Pendell's "Mountain Teapot" while Buxton's should be given an elegance award for her coffee and tea service.

To celebrate this exhibit, Randy Burks will perform the Japanese tea ceremony at noon on Wednesday, June 27. Burks, a university student studying Asian art history and culture, has performed tea ceremonies for private occasions for two years.

"Spouting Off - Teapots" continues in the Upstairs Gallery of the Salt Lake Art Center through July 22. The center is located at 20 S. West Temple between Symphony Hall and the Salt Palace. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday.

- A new exhibit at the Museum of Church History and Art takes a reverential look at the courage and commitment of early LDS Church leaders and pioneers. This permanent exhibit, "A Covenant Restored: The Foundations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." opened about about a month ago. Although it still hasn't been completely installed, it's well worth a visit.

Included in the exhibit are art works by C.C.A. Christensen, William Major and Gary Smith, Avard Fairbanks and others. Their art is not the focal point, but rather helps tell the story of the restoration of the gospel, the exodus westward, emigration from foreign countries to the Salt Lake Valley, early church economics and the purposes for temple building.

Some of the highlights in the exhibit include a manuscript page from the original translation of the Book of Mormon, the death masks of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, John Taylor's watch that saved his life in a mob attack at Carthage Jail, and a display of arts and crafts in which church members from around the world capture gospel principles and church history in native mediums and innovative styles.

Also attracting interest is a 15-minute slide presentation "Passage to Zion." The story is taken from the diary of convert Jean Rio Baker, who, with her seven children, traveled in an early LDS emigrant company. They left London, England, in January 1851 and finally arrived in Salt Lake Valley in October.

Special art exhibits that continue at the museum are "Reflections on the Kingdom: Images of Latter-day Saint History and Belief," "C.C.A. Christensen's Mormon Panorama" and "Relief Society Molas."

Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and some holidays. For more information, call 240-3310.

- Any artist who has tried to master watercolor develops a deep respect for those artists who can lasso and tame this unpredictable medium. At the Tivoli Gallery, the spotlight rests on 83 Utah watercolorists who have successfully done it.

Their paintings are part of the Utah Watercolor Society's 16th Annual Open Show. This year's juror was Michigan watercolorist Nita Engle. While in Utah, she was also invited to conduct a watercolor workshop for UWS members.

Engle took her jurying seriously and spent an extra day carefully reviewing the entries beforeselecting the ones for the show. She also chose award-winning works.

Joan Distin White captured the best-of-show award ($500) for her painting "Trio."

Awards of excellence ($250 each) went to Tom Leek and Dottie Miles, while awards of merit ($100 each) were presented to Osral Allred, Jeffery Johnson, Shirley McKay and Jossy Lownes. Judy Taylor won the judge's transparent watercolor award ($100 frame certificate).

Six painters received honorable mention: Don Athay, Julie Buhler, Nancy Crookston, Norma Forsberg, Eddy Malloy and Beverly Mastrim.

From the looks of the show, Engle apparently was attracted to entries filled with bright colors, wet-in-wet techniques, vignettes and texture exploration. Flowers and fish were popular subject matter.

Watercolorists that didn't make it into the winners' circle but made a hit with me were Peggy Anderson, Linda Kohler Barnes, Mel Hase, Val Moffit and Betty Rowland.

This annual open watercolor show will continue to hang on the south wall of Tivoli Gallery through Aug. 15. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. For details, call 521-6288.